We’ve all heard the buzz about “going green.” The ubiquitous “green” and its variations like “greening” and “green technology” draw a lot of attention, but what do they really mean? In the realm of green building, there are ways to assess your home and its energy and cost-efficiency and there are multiple benefits in doing so.
What is green building?
“Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle” (www.epa.gov).
What are the benefits of green building?
1. Green building saves money.
- Green buildings typically cost less to operate and maintain.
- There are tax benefits and incentives available for green buildings and green building strategies.
2. Green buildings are healthier and more comfortable.
- A green home has better air quality.
- Green homes limit the use of chemicals that can off-gas from building materials that can affect allergies and respiratory ailments.
3. Building green is beneficial to the environment.
- Every year, green buildings eliminate 4,500 pounds of greenhouse gases that a conventional house contributes to the atmosphere.
- The average daily water use in today’s homes is just over 64 gallons. Implementing water conservation measures can reduce usage to fewer than 45 gallons.
How can I assess my home or build “green”?
One way you can assess your home is by having a professional perform an energy audit, which has five different components: a blower door test, a walk through of your home with an infrared camera, an attic insulation check, an air return system check, and a report of the findings. These tests normally take 3-4 hours depending on the size of your home. The tests and report will cost you around $350.00 and you will receive the report within a week of your audit.
These tests are what will tell you where your home stands in terms of energy efficiency. You'll be able to identify any major areas of leakage and you will be given a list options for repairing and improving your home's efficiency. Not only will this save energy, but it will also make sure that the money you're spending on AC and heating isn't wasted on a system and home that can't deliver it properly. The improvements will help make your home more comfortable and make sure your air systems are working for you instead of against you. For example, a duct test may uncover that your home is losing air while being delivered from the AC unit to the rooms of the house. This indicates that there may be many tiny holes or even a large gap in the duct, which can be repaired to keep your home at the temperature you want it (as well as keeping your cooling costs down).
If you are interested in a home energy audit or new energy efficient construction, please call us at 703-367-8999 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!