The Crystal in London. The building with the on-site sewage recycling run on electricity generated by solar panels, lit by LED and fluorescent lights, switched on and off depending on the amount of daylight and the roof collecting water. One Bryant Park in New York City. The Bank of America Tower has CO2 monitors, waterless urinals and LED lighting as well as its own generation plant producing sustainable energy.
These are the examples of the most sustainable buildings in the world. According to the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard Certification, an energy-efficient home should have high performance in the following areas: site design, building operation and maintenance resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality.
- Site design
The first principle in sustainable site design is renovating and reusing existing vacant buildings and redevelopment of brownfield sites. In a recent conversation with highly-rated demolition contractors, I found out that choosing a site where a house was built with water, phone and sewer lines in place can significantly minimize the amount of excavation needed. In addition, consider a location where you can optimize the use of sustainable energy, including passive solar energy, natural daylight and natural ventilation. Finally, make sure you can provide natural shading of the building on the site.
- Building materials
Contact your local county solid waste department to find the information on recyclers of construction and demotion materials. C&D materials contain debris left after the construction, renovation, or demolition of buildings, roads and bridges. Avoid the materials that pollute, or are toxic during its manufacture. Ask your builder how you can maximize the recycling of the new materials used during the construction and demolition process. Prefer locally produced materials. Consider using less building materials by optimizing the size and design of the building.
- Energy efficiency
- First of all, you can prefer ENERGY STAR products for indoors.
- Secondly, you can consider installing photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, for example. Grid-connected small wind energy systems can reduce the consumption of electricity for lighting, appliances and electric heat.
- Next, biomass can be used to produce electricity and heating, including space heating, air conditioning and water heating.
- Another way to conserve energy is to install cool roofs, which reflect sunlight and emit heat more efficiently than traditional roofs. On the other hand, there is also a so-called green roof, which is partially or completely covered in vegetation.
- Water efficiency
Water Sense is an EPA partnership program, which can help you conserve your water recourses.
When it comes to saving water indoors, you can opt for water-efficient products including:
- Clothes washer and a hot water delivery system storing no more than .5 gallons of water.
- Other recommended specifications are a maximum service pressure of 60 psi and no leaks. Water Sense created the Water Budget Tool, which calculates the landscape water allowance and the landscape water requirement.
- Indoor air quality
Source control is the most effective way of improving indoor air quality and it includes having low emitting products, such as:
- Building materials and household products.
- Energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators pre-cool and dehumidify during summer and humidify and pre-heat in the winter.
- Air cleaners are also the option.
- Radan is a radioactive gas coming from the soil and entering a building through the foundation. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Talk to your builder about implementing radan-resistant construction techniques.
The information here is only an overview of a vast number of methods used in building green. Contact a professional builder who can give you more detailed guidelines for implementing green techniques on your building.