What Is Green Building?

Posted on: June 1, 2023

Green building is a construction approach that is constantly mindful of the project’s environmental impact. Every green building project aims to have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Green building projects often have features designed to optimize resources such as water and electricity to minimize their environmental impact. Many of these projects even rely on solar energy as an alternative power source.

Aside from optimizing resource usage, green building projects also curb pollution and waste production. Therefore, green building projects often include features designed to help homeowners better manage their waste.

Although not often spotlighted, green building also emphasizes the comfort of inhabitants. Establishments engineered through green building principles will have features that greatly enhance indoor living environments. Families can enjoy healthy living spaces courtesy of green building projects.

It is also worth noting that green building accounts for every step of the construction process. Green builders are already following the fundamentals of this approach from the planning phase. They will continue to follow those principles even while designing the new building or demolishing existing structures.

The builders will adopt the process from day one, and its principles will guide the project to completion. The process can be for new construction and remodeling projects.

As you can see, green building is a defined approach to construction. It is not something inexperienced builders can implement on the fly. To use this approach in your next construction project, you must look for builders who understand it well.

The Benefits of Green Building

Now that we know more about the fundamentals of green building, let’s discuss its benefits. Why is the green building approach worth adopting? The benefits detailed below should answer that question.

Green Building Preserves the Environment

For many property owners, the main appeal of green building is its minimal impact on the environment. They do not want their new home to harm the environment, so they want to build it responsibly.

Every little bit helps when it comes to preserving the environment. Being more mindful of how you build will positively contribute to that effort.

Green Building Conserves Valuable Resources

Households routinely waste valuable resources such as water and fossil fuels via electricity usage. It happens constantly, and most of us are unaware we are doing it. In areas like San Diego, where water is an especially important resource, wasting it is inexcusable.

Features included in green building projects prevent the waste of those essential resources. In addition, green building makes it easier for homeowners to be more responsible consumers.

Green Building Saves You Money

What happens when your household uses resources like water and electricity more efficiently? Well, you will probably have more money left over after each billing cycle.

Those savings can pile up quickly too. You can save all the extra money and put it toward other improvement projects.

Green Building Creates More Comfortable Homes

The fact that green building creates comfortable homes is another one of its selling points. In addition, green building often introduces gentler lighting and efficient insulation. It also minimizes our exposure to harmful chemicals used in certain building materials.

Those are only some of the comfort-focused features in green building projects. You can also ask for more features to maximize your family’s comfort. 

How Does the LEED Green Building Rating System Work?

How can you tell if your new home meets the standards for green building projects? The best way to find out involves leaning on the LEED rating system.

For those who may be unaware, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is a creation of the U.S. Green Building Council. The rating system evaluates different aspects of a property and assigns points based on how well it meets established criteria.

The LEED rating system specifically focuses on how well a property manages carbon, energy, waste, and water. It also accounts for the materials used in the project and the kind of living environment it creates for occupants. LEED also evaluates all the transportation involved in completing a building project.

Projects are evaluated by Green Business Certification Inc. Reviews will be conducted at different points of the project’s timeline. Green Business Certification Inc. will conduct precertification, construction, and post-construction reviews to check if the project consistently adheres to established standards.

LEED Certification Levels

A building project can receive four different types of certification courtesy of LEED.

The lowest level is LEED Certified. This certification indicates that a project received 40 to 49 points from its evaluation.

The next level is Silver Certification. Projects that receive 50 to 59 during evaluation fall into this group. After that is the Gold Certification level; that level is for projects earning 60 to 79 points.

Finally, you have the Platinum Certification reserved only for projects awarded 80 or more points.

You should be aiming for that Platinum Certification with your building project. To reach that level, you should look for experienced custom home builders in your area. Tell them about your green building goals and construct a property you can truly be proud of.

What Are Green Building Materials?

Green building projects do not utilize any type of material. Instead, they use sustainable or green building materials. Sustainable building materials help you accomplish the goals of green building more easily.

How can you tell if a building material is considered sustainable? You can evaluate them based on how they are sourced, how efficient they are, their environmental impact, and their durability.

In terms of sourcing, green building materials usually come from natural, renewable, recycled, or plentiful resources. The exact origin of the materials matters as well. They must be from local vendors, or they may not be sustainable anymore. 

Efficiency accounts for how well the materials utilize resources. These materials are supposed to help your home use resources such as water and electricity more efficiently.

When it comes to environmental impact, you must take a broad view of what a particular material does. You need to consider if the material harms the environment surrounding your property. At the same time, you must see if it can also cause health issues within your household.

Durability is also an important consideration when evaluating sustainable materials. It is hard to say that a material is sustainable when you cannot count on it to last for a long time. Materials that degrade quickly do not belong in green building projects.

Examples of Green Building Materials

Are you worried that using only sustainable building materials will limit your project? We understand why you might harbor that concern, but your project will not be limited even if you stick to using sustainable materials.

Now that green building is more common, you can find suppliers of sustainable materials anywhere. Working with reputable builders can make searching for the best sustainable materials even easier.

Sustainable building materials can also be quite diverse. Common examples of them include bamboo, precast concrete, and recycled plastic. You can already come up with exciting creations using those materials. There are numerous other options you can consider for your building project.

The Four Elements of Green Building

Green building specifically for homes has four fundamental elements. These elements include sustainable building materials, energy-efficient upgrades, water conservation-focused additions, and features that improve air quality.

Let’s discuss those four elements in greater detail below.

Sustainable Building Materials

You should already know what to look for in sustainable building materials. They must be sustainable, eco-friendly, and durable.

Some sustainable building materials, such as bricks, precast concrete, and recycled goods, are easy to find. There should be multiple vendors offering those sustainable materials in your area. If you are looking for less common sustainable materials, you can ask your builders about the vendors they know. They can point you in the direction of reputable material vendors.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Energy-efficient upgrades can come in different forms. These upgrades can come in the form of new light fixtures. LED lights are highly efficient fixtures and will work well in almost every room.

Leaning on natural light is also a good idea if you have a home in San Diego. Build new features that take advantage of the abundant San Diego sunlight and reduce your reliance on light fixtures.

You can also make your home more efficient by installing new insulation. Ask your builders about the best types of insulation to use inside your home so you can significantly improve its rate of heat transfer.

Consider investing in solar panels to maximize your home’s efficiency. Once your solar panels are up and running, your household may sustain itself without the power supplied by the electric company. That is the efficiency you want to shoot for with your building project.

Water Conservation-Focused Additions

If you are looking for improvements that will allow your household to conserve more water, you should focus on your plumbing first. Take this opportunity to patch up any leaks in your plumbing. You can also upgrade to low-flow toilets and fixtures if you wish to minimize your household’s water waste.

Changing your water heater is also a good idea. Replace your old appliance with a tankless water heater that conserves water and electricity.

Features That Improve Air Quality

Purchasing new appliances can help improve the air quality in your household. More specifically, you want to get easy-to-clean air conditioners so you can maintain them regularly.

Your choice of paint will also affect air quality. Avoid using paints with high amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) because they can harm the body.

Do not forget about your ventilation system. Ask a professional to check if your vents are still working as intended. Schedule a cleaning session if you last maintained your vents a while ago. 

What Are Some Examples of Green and Sustainable Architecture?

Green building has come a long way. You can see that in the quality of green buildings that are found all over the world.  

The United States is also home to some remarkable examples of green architecture.

The Bullitt Center in Seattle is perhaps the most famous green building in the United States. Occupants of the Bullitt Center fully rely on solar energy to do their work, and the building also has a self-sustaining sewage system.

The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park is another shining example of green architecture in the country. This New York City high-rise boats LEED Platinum certification. On-site, you’ll find a 5.0MW cogeneration plant, a thermal ice storage system, and round-the-clock air quality monitoring.

A floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall also blankets The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. That glass curtain wall significantly reduces solar heat gain while allowing easy passage for natural light.

Your new San Diego home can also be a testament to the brilliance of green building if you work with the right people.

Contact Eco Minded Solutions Today

Are you interested in exploring green or sustainable building options? Contact us today to learn more about ECO Minded Solutions and the home renovation services we offer.

Ready to Learn More? Book a FREE Consultation Now

Schedule a Consultation