Sustainable Construction

The fundamentals of sustainable building and design are explored.

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Energy

Energy use in our homes is probably the most focused aspect of building green. The main components of the building to consider in terms of energy use are the building envelope (insulation), lighting, heating and cooling systems, and domestic hot water production. When building a green home, we want to reduce energy use and reconsider our energy source. Energy sources can be defined into two categories, renewable and nonrenewable.

Green Material Choices

Material choice is often the first thing people think about when undertaking a green building project. Visions of bamboo flooring and countertops made of recycled material may come to mind. But, to truly build green, consider your design and green goals before going shopping for that green product. The greenest choice is the one that performs best for your design and use. Remember that a material can be green both by its manufacture and by its performance after installation. Many materials may seem like good choices, but should be scrutinized thoroughly.

Lighting

Lighting technology has come a long way since the invention of the incandescent light bulb, 100 years ago. We could write a thesis on lighting values, colors, temperatures, etc., which is why there are designers and engineers who specialize in lighting. The lighting in a building effects humans physiologically and psychologically so there is much to be considered with lighting design and selection to create a comfortable environment. About 30 percent of energy consumed in all buildings is for lighting, with about 12 percent energy use for lighting in residential buildings.

Water Use, Treatment and Conservation Considerations in Construction

Summer is an appropriate time of year to talk about water and water conservation. This is the time of year that we start to experience drought conditions, and our water supplies, during some summers, start to diminish, forcing some communities to regulate water use with the banning of lawn watering and car washing. It is also the time of year when we see some of the most devastating storms and the flooding they cause.

Introduction to Sustainable Construction

Sustainable and ‘Green’ are buzzwords used in the marketing of many products today. Some are legitimate claims of sustainability, while others are propaganda of what has become known as ‘green washing.’

In this series of articles I plan to address what sustainability means in the construction process. Whether you are planning to build a new home on a rural lot or renovate an old building in an urban area, sustainable building practices should be included in your project.

Energy

Energy use in our homes is probably the most focused aspect of building green. The main components of the building to consider in terms of energy use are the building envelope (insulation), lighting, heating and cooling systems, and domestic hot water production. When building a green home, we want to reduce energy use and reconsider our energy source. Energy sources can be defined into two categories, renewable and nonrenewable.

Green Material Choices

Material choice is often the first thing people think about when undertaking a green building project. Visions of bamboo flooring and countertops made of recycled material may come to mind. But, to truly build green, consider your design and green goals before going shopping for that green product. The greenest choice is the one that performs best for your design and use. Remember that a material can be green both by its manufacture and by its performance after installation. Many materials may seem like good choices, but should be scrutinized thoroughly.

Lighting

Lighting technology has come a long way since the invention of the incandescent light bulb, 100 years ago. We could write a thesis on lighting values, colors, temperatures, etc., which is why there are designers and engineers who specialize in lighting. The lighting in a building effects humans physiologically and psychologically so there is much to be considered with lighting design and selection to create a comfortable environment. About 30 percent of energy consumed in all buildings is for lighting, with about 12 percent energy use for lighting in residential buildings.

Water Use, Treatment and Conservation Considerations in Construction

Summer is an appropriate time of year to talk about water and water conservation. This is the time of year that we start to experience drought conditions, and our water supplies, during some summers, start to diminish, forcing some communities to regulate water use with the banning of lawn watering and car washing. It is also the time of year when we see some of the most devastating storms and the flooding they cause.

Introduction to Sustainable Construction

Sustainable and ‘Green’ are buzzwords used in the marketing of many products today. Some are legitimate claims of sustainability, while others are propaganda of what has become known as ‘green washing.’

In this series of articles I plan to address what sustainability means in the construction process. Whether you are planning to build a new home on a rural lot or renovate an old building in an urban area, sustainable building practices should be included in your project.

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