Considering building an addition onto your existing home? You might want to consider “going green” for this project. Building green is designed to reduce the overall impact of the “built” environment on the “natural” environment, while improving human health and environmental benefits. Deciding to build green home additions could put some “green” into your wallet.
A Guide to Build Green Home Additions And For Green Home Renovations
Kermit the Frog said, “It isn’t easy being green.” But that’s not true when it comes to green building. There are many shades to green and just how eco-friendly you want to go is up to you. This guide to building a green home addition, created in collaboration with Family Focus Blog and The Home Depot, is designed to help you weigh the benefits and costs of building with the environment in mind, whether that’s upgrading to energy efficient windows, replacing kitchen fixtures, or installing new tile or hardwood floors.
Use this guide to build green home additions like a handbook to navigate through the tax benefits and the process of green certification, and also as your guide to the various product options from flooring to plumbing.
To find out more on some of the green products mentioned in this guide, click on the links below:
Energy efficient Windows: http://thd.co/1avJRWd
Kitchen Fixtures: http://thd.co/1eGZht6
Flooring options: http://thd.co/1dBXclG
Hardwood Floors: http://thd.co/1eQsFNA
WHY GO GREEN? THE BENEFITS OF A SUSTAINABLE HOME ADDITION
Choosing to be environmentally-friendly in the design and construction of your home addition is a smart move. Not only does it make a statement that you care about the future and the health of your family as well as the planet, but there are also more benefits than ever for making this decision. So deciding to build green home additions could actually save you some real green down the road.
Money Saving Benefits
The most important aspect of deciding to build green home additions is being energy efficient. Energy Efficiency (EE) not only adds value throughout the life of your home but it ensures responsible use of natural resources. It also will bring a smile to your face every month when you receive your power bill.
Sure, some “green” products cost more at the outset, but in the long run you will recoup those costs (and then some). http://www.moneycrashers.com/green-energy-technologies-solutions-home-improvement/
Doing an energy audit on your existing home is a good way to find where your problem areas lie and where you can improve on these energy-bleeding problems when you build green home additions or green home renovations. http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/do-it-yourself-home-energy-audits
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHOOSING TO BUILD GREEN HOME ADDITIONS
Beyond contributing to the health of the environment, building green also contributes to the health of your family. Since more than 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are derived from the burning of fossil fuel, the greener you are, the healthier you are.
Headaches, fatigue, asthma, respiratory diseases, and even more serious issues can be related to indoor air pollution. It is one of the top five environmental risks to public health, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Improving your indoor air quality can help reduce the risk of these health issues for you and your family.
Green building projects utilize non-toxic materials during construction, so less toxins are released into the air. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/building-materials-asthma_n_4427243.html
ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY OF A GREEN HOME ADDITION
It is important for us to realize that our “built” environment has a lasting impact on our “natural” environment. But by using green building techniques, we lessen that impact vastly.
Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
An oft-quoted Native American proverb says: “We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children.” When we change the landscape of the planet, even in the slightest way (like adding on to your home) we should keep in the mind the impact it has on the earth and future generations. http://www2.buildinggreen.com/blogs/green-building-priority-7-protect-and-restore-site
Improve air and water quality around your home
Of course you want and will take every step to make the air and water inside your home safe for you and your loved ones, but building green also means taking extra precautions to make sure your construction doesn’t negatively impact the air quality and the water table surrounding the outside of your home.
Conserve our natural resources
Buildings and development can have significant environmental impacts on natural resources. Making the decision to implement environmentally friendly techniques when adding on to your home can reduce this impact.
FINANCIAL INCENTIVES OF DECIDING TO BUILD GREEN HOME ADDITIONS
Beyond the savings that occur on your power bill each month, green structures generate an increase in a building’s value and an improvement in return on investment, while decreasing operating costs.
There are also tax benefits to going green and there may be government and private grants and loans available for your green project.
Department of Energy – The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works to increase the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. You may qualify for a loan through EERE for your green addition. http://energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy
Better Insurance Risk
Green buildings suffer fewer losses and are safer to insure because of the commissioning process required to become LEED certified.
How To Build A Green Home Addition Guide:
TAKING THE FIRST STEP
Green construction techniques can be implemented at any stage of the building process — from design and construction to demolition and renovation. However, the most significant benefits can be obtained if the design and construction team takes an integrated approach from the earliest stages of a building project.
Aspects of green building can include:
- Certification: How Green Do You Want To Be?There are varying shades of green and how far you want to go on that spectrum is entirely up to you. A good measuring stick is looking at the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Homes program. While the green addition onto your home doesn’t have to be LEED certified, the LEED for Homes webpage still is a fantastic resource.
There are four different levels of commitment for LEED for homes.
- Finding the right “eco-friendly” professionalYou’ve taken the first step in deciding you want to be more sustainable in putting an addition onto your home. Luckily, there are more and more builders and contractors out there who specialize in this sort of thing and can help you through the process.
A good place to start is the USGBC’s Green Home Guide, where there is a section to put in your city, state, and zip code and find green building professionals in your area. http://greenhomeguide.com/findapro/category/36
BUILD GREEN HOME DESIGNS
The actual design of your home addition is just as important as the building techniques and materials used when it comes to being green. Optimizing energy efficiency and durability are important. Building Green provides a checklist that can help in this part of the process. http://www.buildinggreen.com/ebn/checklist.cfm
Bigger Is NOT Better
Optimize the use of interior space with your design so that the overall size of the addition — and resources used in constructing and operating it — are minimized. http://realestate.msn.com/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=28195566
Design with Renewable Energy in Mind
Solar heating, day-lighting, and natural cooling can be incorporated cost-effectively into most constructions. Also consider solar water heating and photovoltaics. http://energy.gov/public-services/homes/home-design-remodeling
Think Durability in Your Design
To provide environmental impacts over as long a period as possible, the building must be durable. http://greensource.construction.com/people/2009/01_Sustainability.asp
GREEN HOME ADDITION MATERIALS
Choosing your materials may be the toughest part when it comes to building a green addition onto your home.
If sustainability is important to you, then constructing a roofing system with an emphasis on using natural resources efficiently and preserving the global environment should be at the “top” of your list. http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/green/10-green-roofing-options.htm
Choosing siding that fits your individual needs and style is important. Making the choice to be sustainable makes this decision a little more challenging. The top three sustainable siding materials are cement fiber, recycled metal, and wood. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/top-3-sustainable-siding-materials#b
Going for a “green” foundation doesn’t have to be more expensive than traditional foundations. In fact, green foundations are generally stronger and better insulated, which can lower energy costs. http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Going-Green-Foundations-Retaining-Walls-and-Waterproofing.16451.html
When it comes to green building, insulation is one of the most important choices you will make. Not only do you want to look at the materials of the actual insulation, but you also want to make sure that it is going to do a good job in helping to keep the temperature inside regulated, which will help with your energy bill as well. https://pro.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Choosing-Green-Insulation.16473.html
Natural ventilation is key when designing a home or addition to a home. Designing a room so that the windows and doors use the wind’s natural path is smart design. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/cooling-your-home-more-efficiently-with-natural-ve.html
Windows and Doors
Besides placing the windows and doors strategically to optimize wind-flow and ventilation, the actual windows and doors themselves should be a big part of your green construction plan.
Choosing a sustainable flooring option minimizes pollution and health problems caused by toxins often found in flooring. There is a growing number of choices for carpets and flooring made from recycled and eco-friendly materials. And you don’t have to sacrifice style. Many of these options are competitive or even less expensive than traditional flooring options. http://www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/flooring.cfm
Few things can reduce your home’s energy costs, improve the health of those residing within the home, and be kinder on the environment than greening your plumbing system. http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Green-Plumbing.16396.html
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is your home’s largest energy hog. Therefore it’s important to find a system that will not only be friendly to your wallet, but one that helps reduce your home’s carbon footprint. https://www.builditgreen.org/
GREEN APPLIANCES & FIXTURES
Remember, the most important aspect of “going green” is being energy efficient. And choosing eco-friendly appliances and fixtures is one of the easiest ways to “go green” in your home. Choosing the right appliances and fixtures can make a big difference when you get that monthly power bill.
Energy Star Appliances
Save energy and fight climate change with Energy Star qualified products. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. Energy Star products are independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.&s=mega
Green Lighting Fixtures
Choosing energy efficient light fixtures can help you use 75% less electricity and last up to ten times longer than traditional light bulbs. Choosing these type fixtures can save money and the environment. http://inhabitat.com/green-building-101-environmentally-friendly-lighting/
Faucets & Showers
Energy efficient plumbing fixtures are an easy way to reduce consumption of water. These fixtures deliver environmentally friendly alternatives while reducing your water costs. http://www.bobvila.com/articles/516-green-homes-water-efficient-plumbing-fixtures/#.Us4P9vRDtup
WASTE DISPOSAL FOR A GREEN ADDITION ONTO YOUR HOME
While choosing new appliances and building materials for your green addition can be the fun part, the dirty part is disposing the demolition materials and waste from your project in an environmentally friendly way.
Demolition & Deconstruction
When deciding to build green home additions, the greenest thing you can do is to recycle the materials and appliances.
1. Don’t Demolish, Recycle
Deconstruction is the practice of carefully disassembling a building so that its materials — everything from siding to floor joists — can be reused in a new building, while everything else is recycled into new material. http://realestate.msn.com/dont-demolish-that-old-house-recycle-it
2. Donate your Appliance
Non-profit organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army will take your used appliance and provide it to a family who needs one. You can also check with local churches and other charitable organizations. http://voices.yahoo.com/8-ways-donate-used-appliances-10966248.html
Reducing and recycling C&D materials conserves landfill space, reduces the environmental impact of producing new materials, creates jobs, and can reduce overall building project expenses through avoided purchase/disposal costs.
Conclusion: Deciding to build green home additions on to your home is exciting. It can also be scary when you start to think about all the different things you have to take into consideration before jumping into the project. Making the decision to do it in a sustainable way shouldn’t make the process more daunting. It shows thoughtfulness on your part and a dedication to your family, your community, and the environment. This mindset will serve as a guide through the process. But just in case you need a little help along the way, there’s no shortage of resources out there to help you make the best decisions for your home and for the planet when building a green addition onto your home.
Share with us your build green home ideas and stories about your Green Home Renovation in the comments or tag us @familyfocusblog