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Green Buildings – Making Your Home Work for You
By []Bill Weber

Fundamentals of a Green Building

The fundamentals of green buildings include managing air flow, best practices in storm water management, rainwater harvesting, using alternative energy such as wind and solar power, using low toxicity sealants, paints and other chemicals, or even having a kitchen recycle center in a home.

Good construction designs, ventilation and insulation systems that allow dynamic ventilation, cooling and heating to optimize energy flow are a must in green buildings. Choosing and using the right construction materials that make for comfortable and clean buildings are at the core of the green concept. The EPA Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings provides a good framework for green buildings.

Benefits of a Green Home

With the rising costs of energy, it makes sense to go for green buildings that look at efficient insulation and energy conservation, resulting in long term savings for both owners and the environment. It is a known fact that green homes can end up being 30-50% more energy efficient than conventionally built homes. Imagine the savings in energy bills alone!

While people building new homes may argue that green homes cost more, on applying the project life cycle for analyzing the cost of a green home you will realize that the overall cost of the project in its entire life cycle actually saves you much more by way of operating costs over the years.

An integrated and comprehensive home design will result in comfort, durability, energy savings, and an overall improvement in the health of the occupants. Green buildings provide their owners benefits such as long term cost savings, peace of mind and better performance over time. They are aesthetically pleasing, durable and easy to maintain. Over a period of time, incorporating green in your homes can reap you health benefits.

Green home plans also reduce waste in land fills, reduce pollution, reduce water wastage, preserve the natural environment and help maintain the ecosystem inside and outside the home and its surroundings. Thus they are smart investments that result in environmental protection too.

Tax Credits

For homes that have seen some sort of improvement by way of an improved heating/cooling system, replacement windows or better insulation, homeowner tax credits are available up to a cap of 0 for the 2-year tax assessment period from January 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2007. Installing a solar heating system using photovoltaic cells will earn you a 30% tax credit for a system purchase up to a cost cap of ,000. Such systems must have been “placed in service” in 2006 or 2007. This is not inclusive of the 0 tax rebate that is in place for home improvements.

Improved Resale Value

A certified green home that has an integrated design of conservation and environmental sustainability will offer improved resale value to the homeowner looking to dispose of it.


What will it take to make the house you own green? Remodeling an existing building to a green one takes time, resources and commitment. The best approach in such a situation is to take it a step at a time – convert one part of the building before going on to the next. Think about choosing materials that can at the very least be partially recycled when the time comes to discard them. This will enable you to conserve natural or virgin raw materials.

Any way you look at it, green homes are catching on real fast as they bring in plenty of benefits that are immediate and long term in nature. So whether you are a buyer of a home or thinking of remodeling, you can rest assured that a green home will “work” for you. In addition, your green home will help you leave a legacy for generations to come – environmentally.

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