LEED General Contractor Articles
What Green Building Means
There's a lot of talk in real estate about green building lately,
but the phrase is still a little vague. Here's a guide to understanding a few
key terms, so you can investigate whether or not a potential home is truly eco-friendly.
Many new buildings are being insulated with recycled materials,
such as old blue jeans or blown-in fiberglass. Proper insulation now goes a long
way toward saving on energy bills later. Walls can be made of steel and concrete,
rather than more expensive and volatile treated wood. Many cities have lumber
yards and "re-stores" where you can buy recycled or left over building materials
that are strong, cheap, and often antique or authentically vintage.
Look for low flow shower heads and low flush or composting toilets. Consider
energy saving washers and dryers, or put a line in your yard to hang wet clothes
on sunny days Make sure your HVAC unit is sealed and clean, and look for gas stoves
and instantaneous, or tankless, water heaters.
than use expensive hardwoods that endanger the land and deplete forests, many
real estate builders have found inexpensive and beautiful alternatives in bamboo
(which is technically not a wood but a grass, and yet one of the hardest and most
easily replenished flooring materials) and cork (also easily replenished). Concrete,
too, can be a sturdy and inexpensive alternative, as can old fashioned linoleum,
which is actually made from linen and other natural fibers.
Many paint manufacturers are looking for green alternatives
to oil and latex; one such option is the use of milk-based paints (which upon
application smell like milk instead of harsh chemicals, and which don't have any
carcinogenic ingredients.) Recycled glass is now being made into kitchen and bath
tiles, and countertops are being made with recycled materials that look even more
beautiful and unique than mined granite.
energy doesn't just mean expensive panels that sit on your roof (though that's
one kind, called active solar energy). Considering a solar home can mean investing
in thick-paned, glazed windows or in more complicated photovoltaic cells. Though
solar tends to be an expensive investment, upfront, the rewards show up every
month in your energy bills.
Look for Xeriscaped
yards and common areas with plants that require little watering. Consider getting
rain barrels (many cities sell them through their water and energy programs) or
converting your outdoor water system to "graywater" (which involves using recycled
water from dishwashers and washing machines to water your lawn or wash your car).
Looks for trees that are native to your area, and plant them so they shield your
windows from too much sun during hotter days.
a lot of green building means being aware of what is going into your home, you
might also want to check out your neighborhood. Are there recycling programs or
community gardens? Public transportation? Bike paths so you can have the option
of avoiding traffic? Are there shops and restaurants close to you, to encourage
walking? While thinking about these things may seem unimportant now, our global
climate and community with thank you later. (Oh, and don't forget the federal
About the Author
This website was created to promote green building and
LEED general contractors, by Bob Moore Construction Company. Bob Moore Construction
is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the first Platinum
Level member of the north Texas chapter of USGBC, and maintains a LEED AP on staff.
A leading general contractor in Texas since 1946, Bob Moore Construction is a
member of Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Tilt-up Concrete Association,
and the OSHA Local Partnership Program. For more information about Bob Moore Construction