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It isn’t surprising that there is much confusion today on the terms “sustainable” and “green” due to common misuse and the multitude of applications they are applied. To put it in simple terms, a “green” home serves to reduce harmful impacts to the health, environment, and life-cycle costs of its inhabitants.
The four main ways these are achieved are by:
- Providing adequate ventilation and making material choices that minimize volatile organic compound (VOC’s) outgassing and prevent mold build-up within the home creating a healthy indoor air environment and longer structural integrity.
- Using building materials and resources that are sustainable, have low embodied energy, and produce a minimal amount of upstream environmental impact.
- Designing for energy efficiency using appropriate site specific design as well as the use of renewal energy sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar considering life-cyle cost over initial short term costs.
- Incorporating water-efficient design techniques such as xeroscaping, recycling grey water, and capturing rain water for landscaping and other non-potable uses, as well as using more efficient appliances, faucets, and hot water heating systems.
Although there is still debate going on to the validity of sustainable and green practices in the political world, one can still be proactive in making the most appropriate choices when it comes to their home and the health and well-being of their family.