Green homes are often visually indistinguishable from conventional homes. The difference is
in the details. Designed and constructed to provide a variety of health and ecological
benefits, green homes offer:
Types of Green Building
- Healthier indoor air quality
- by using low toxic building materials and finishes, supplying good air flow,
limiting potential for mold growth and maximizing use of hard surfaces
- Energy and water efficiency - by optimizing home and
garden design and utilizing appliances that conserve energy and water
- A cleaner environment - by reducing waste, pollution and emission of greenhouse gases
- A smaller ecological footprint - by using sustainably harvested and
recycled resources, as well as minimizing environmental impact from site development
- Reduced maintenance costs - through lowered utility bills and use of the highest quality durable materials
- Reduced construction impact - minimizes environmental impact from site development
In order to recognize and distinguish newly constructed green homes on
the market, King Countys Master Builder Association has
developed a rating system to certify Built Green® residential
construction based on national standards. Scores can range from 1-5
stars depending on the number of points obtained in six critical
sections: regulation and code, site and water, energy efficiency,
health and indoor air quality, materials efficiency and the promotion of
environmentally friendly homeowner operations and maintenance. For a copy
of the Built Green® homebuilder self-certification checklist
please click here.
Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes®
ENERGY STAR® homes are better built, more comfortable homes that
save you money on your utility bills every month. Every Northwest
ENERGY STAR certified home has been built to meet energy efficient
guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. From energy
efficient windows to advanced heating and cooling systems, ENERGY STAR
homes guarantee greater savings, comfort and peace-of-mind. Simply stated,
ENERGY STAR homes are built better for you and the environment.
LEED for Homes
LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction
of high-performance green homes. A green home uses less energy, water and
natural resources; creates less waste; and is healthier and more comfortable
for the occupants. Benefits of a LEED home include lower energy and water
bills; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and less exposure to mold, mildew
and other indoor toxins. The net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable
to that of owning a conventional home.
Straw Bale -- Earth-friendly and economical straw bale homes are constructed using straw bales as thick, wall bricks. These homes reduce the amount of timber required for building, as well as offer energy efficiency through excellent insulation. To learn more visit www.strawbale.com or check out Athena Swentzell Steen's book, The Straw Bale House.
Cob -- Cob is made from clay, sand and straw that creates a mixture that is flexible and sculptural. Cob homes are energy efficient and cost effective. They can be
beautiful and highly livable, but can present challenges with permits and financing. For more information, visit http://www.daycreek.com/dc/HTML/DC_cob.htm or check out The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley
Rammed Earth -- Rammed earth is made from soil that is mostly clay and sand. The earth is highly compressed to create the structural forms. Like other natural building techniques, it creates a beautiful, sculpted quality. To learn more visit http://www.rammedearthworks.com or check out The Rammed Earth House (Real Goods Independent Living Book) by David Easton.
In commercial building, the green building industry is setting new standards for construction and design across the board, leading to the creation of new technologies, jobs and regulatory code. In the 1990s the U.S. Green Building Council was formed as the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. To learn more about the rating system for green building in the commercial sector visit the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).