Everyone loves to drop buzz words and claim affiliation to leading edge concepts.
“Green construction” is a concept as much as an actual building technique. As an example, for over 20 years the White Oak craftsmen have been calking top and bottom plates and foaming all holes during the framing process to lesson air leaks in a home. We now learn we are “Green”!
Green is important. Understanding the entire green paradigm and how to apply this concept to a set of house plans is very critical to saving energy and building a quality home.
By going onto the other links on our web site, you can see White Oak is considered a world leader in defining green construction (see Huaibei eco-city link).
Below is a re-print of part of an article published by “Qualified Remodeler” and authored by John D. Wagner. Incidentally, this is a great magazine to subscribe to in the event you have an up and coming project.
John’s article gives a nice view of the “Green Movement”. It reads as follows:
IT’S PRODUCTS. IT’S PRACTICES.
"As I have pointed out in an earlier Qualified Remodeler column, the greatest impact you can make when going green is to button up the thermal envelope; put an air-exchange strategy in place to control mold and moisture; and buy products certified by reputable third parties, which is especially important if you have not yet developed the critical judgment to determine if a product without a label is green. That said, I know that boning upon green is a tall task. Standards are proliferating, and building codes at all levels are requiring green practices and performance. With so much to read and digest, I did some advance work for you. I looked at the leading green building standards and determined five consensus green principles. I then looked at what products could help you comply with these standards. By familiarizing yourself with these consensus green principles, you can develop the confidence and critical judgment to sell green products, with or without green labels.
GREEN PRINCIPLE NO. 1
A product is green if it improves the indoor air quality or reduces chemical exposure within a home, thereby improving the health of the people who live in it or work on it. (This would include all products that reduce mold because mold can dramatically compromise indoor air quality.)
Products to help you comply:
• Duct seam sealants
• Green-certified carpet
• High-efficiency HVAC air filters
• Isocyanate-free, formaldehyde-free spray foams
• Low-or no-VOC adhesives, caulks, floor finishes an paints
• Low-emitting or formaldehyde-free batt insulatio
• Low-emitting or formaldehyde-free lumber (or at least phenolic resin formaldehyde glue, instead of urea formaldehyde)
It also includes products that control moisture, air infiltration and mold:
• Paper-free drywall
• Drainable house wraps
• Balanced HVAC systems
• Window flashing kits
Other products that protect a person’s safety:
• Carbon-canister masks
• Green cleaning products
• Lead test kits
• N95 dust masks
GREEN PRINCIPLE NO. 2
A product is green if it lowers pressure on the environment through the use of materials that are renewable or “sustainably harvested.” That is, harvested in a way that doesn’t permanently deplete the source of the material.
Products to help comply include any building products with high recycled (or recyclable) content:
• Insulation made from recycled products
• Recycled paint
• Recycled carpet or carpet made from recycled materials
• Wood flooring
• Certified lumber
• Decking (PVC, composite, wood)
• Metal roofing
• Roof shingles
GREEN PRINCIPLE NO. 3
A product is green if it reduces the use of water throughout a home, thereby lowering demands of freshwater sources and the energy-intensive infrastructure required to pipe, store and purify it.
Products to help comply:
• EPS’s WaterSense-rated products.
• Low-flow faucets
• Low-flow shower heads
• Low-flow sink components such as aerators
• Low-flow toilets
• Permeable pavers
• Rain water harvest
• Water filtration systems (point of use or whole-house)
GREEN PRINCIPLE NO. 4
A product is green if it reduces pressure on the waste stream by being made from recycled or recyclable materials. Under this principle look for high-recycled-content ratings, either in label statements or statements like “made from recovered and recycled material.” This will likely include engineered lumber, wood flooring and some decking.
Take a role in recycling products or pointing out the recyclability of products such as:
• Metal of all kinds
• Whole-house recycling
Other products that help comply:
• Mercury-free thermometers and controllers
• Proper recycling of batteries
GREEN PRINCIPLE NO. 5
A product is green if it reduces the “carbon footprint” of a home. The carbon footprint is CO2 emitted by the energy burned to heat and cool a structure over its lifetime, the CO2 emitted by energy burned to generate power for the home and the CO2 emitted by energy used to manufacture the building components.
Products that help comply:
• Insulation (batt, blown, board)
• Cementitious siding with fly-ash additives
• CFL lighting
• Energy Star rated appliances and lighting
• Energy Star rated three-tab or metal roofing
• Energy Star rated windows
• High-efficiency HVAC systems
• LED lighting