Green Building and Green Homes Explained
For Homeowners in Western Connecticut and Westchester New York
BPC’s Green Homes are Simply Better Homes
Green Building is a broad name for a wide range of green building approaches and Green Building Industry Standards. These approaches provide a surprisingly large number of benefits to homeowners and are good for the environment. Green Building is a subset of the field of Building Science.
Green Homes are homes built to one or more Green Building Industry standards that range from the EPA’s Energy Star program at the low end up to and including DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home standards at the high end of energy efficiency and LEED for Homes standards which focus more broadly on all environmental issues and not just energy.
The objective of using “Green Building” for home building and home renovation is to create better homes that provide benefits that conventional homes don’t and can’t.
Are environmentally friendly and responsible
Provide homeowners a wide range of other economic benefits
There are Many Shades of Green Building
Green building can be beneficial to the environment and to homeowners in a number of different ways ranging from a little to a great deal. Some people use the term “deep green” for a home being built that utilizes many green methods and technologies, to a greater extent than most.
Based on YOUR own personal priorities and objectives for building green, you can select the shade of green best for you by determining in what ways and to what extent your new or renovated home will be green. BPC can help you match what you want to achieve with the right green building strategies. Established green building standards already exist to fit most people’s goals and priorities.
Benefits and Objectives of Building and Owning a Green Home
Green homes can be designed to achieve one or all of these types of major goals and can be designed and built to achieve them to differing levels. Here just some:
Environmental Benefits and Goals:
- Slowing the rate and impact of climate change
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Increasing the use of clean and renewable energy
- Reducing air and water pollution
- Using sustainable and local building materials
- Assuring there is clean water for everyone in every area
- Reducing toxic waste
- Reducing or eliminating environmental damage from fossil fuel extraction
- Stopping deforestation and environmental/habitat damage
- Helping maintain biodiversity and prevent ecosystem from harm and collapse
- Using water more wisely and recycling or treating waste water
- Preserving world supplies of fossil fuels and other materials for use where, currently, they are our only options such as for tires, plastics, trucks, planes, etc.
- Increasing demand for green technologies and products so the scale of production will help further lower costs
Homeowner Benefits and Goals:
- Reducing or eliminating the energy cost for heating, cooling and other uses
- Getting out from under fluctuating and increasing energy costs and shortages
- Reducing the cost of home ownership in ways other than energy
- Generating surplus clean energy to generate income from selling it to the power company
- Reducing our country’s need for or dependency on foreign fuel
- Improved home resale appeal in future
- Doing the right thing; being part of the solution, not problem
- Protecting and preserving the environment, ecosystem, clean air, clean water, and maintaining biodiversity for you, your kids and grandkids
BPC’s Green Homes deliver benefits not always included in the definition of a green home:
- BPC green homes are healthier to live in
- BPC green homes are more comfortable to live in
Industry Established Green Building Standards
A number of Green Building organizations and the federal government and have established standards for green building. Some focus on energy efficiency and savings; other standards go beyond energy-related to help homeowners achieve a broader set of green goals and benefits.
BPC Homes Meet or Exceed These Green Standards and Objectives
ALL BPC homes are built to meet or exceed one or more of the following Green Building Standards. This means your home will deliver the many benefits these standards are set up to assure. BPC homes are Great Homes that are Green. More detailed information about the standards is available here.
- EPA ENERGY STAR for Homes®
- DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes
- Passive House Institute US (PHIUS)
- LEED for Homes
- Health House
- Net Zero Energy Home*
- Sustainability Building Principles**
*No formal standards exist for a “Net Zero Energy Home” but by definition, this means a home that has no net energy costs. BPC can build homes that meet this definition.
**No formal standards exist for Sustainable Building but the principles of Sustainability include using renewable building products, using renewable and non-polluting building materials, using clean, renewable power, etc.
BPC Green Homes are also “High Performance” Homes
A “high performance home” is one built to perform better in many ways than a conventionally built home. All BPC green homes and renovations are high performance homes. Depending on the standards they were built to meet or exceed, they represent different levels of performance.
As Energy Star becomes more and more popular with conventional home builders, in the future it may become the new baseline, unless the standard is adjusted upward. Homes that meet DOE Zero Energy Ready, Passive House, Net Zero and LEED for Homes standards are and will likely remain high performance.
Are All Homes Sold as Being a “Green” Really Green?
Unfortunately they are not. Builders know that people are looking for energy efficiency and green homes more and more. So some builders, either as window dressing or because they don’t have proper training, add a few “green features” and call their home green. But if they don’t add them properly and the house is not green otherwise, then the home is not really green.
- Just using some ENERGY STAR rated systems in a home doesn’t mean it is really green.
- Using spray foam insulation can help to make a building more air-tight and increase the overall insulation value. However, unless a continuous layer of insulation – not interrupted by the framing – is added, a home will still leak heat through the framing itself, which often makes up 25% of the exterior wall area.
- Adding photovoltaic panels to a conventionally built home does not mean it is really green.
- The best Energy Efficient windows, if not properly installed and sealed, will not be of much help overall if air is flowing around them or through walls.
When “green” is used strictly as a marketing tool it is called “green washing.” This is no different than when food companies started proclaiming their foods were “Fat Free” but loaded them up with sugar or other chemicals which many believe was even less healthy.