So, you ask, what makes a green home “green“? We’ve been following the construction of Lyndsey Lewis’ home in Little Rock (click here for the full scoop), and she shares a few of the many reasons that it’s certified green. Grab a pen and notepad, and read on!
Pop quiz: Which flooring choice is considered more sustainable for a home in Arkansas, bamboo or hardwood? The answer: hardwood. Did this surprise you as much as it did me?
Green building is all about creating a structure that will stand the test of time while utilizing (and wasting) the least amount of resources possible. Bamboo flooring, if itâs made of the quickly maturing variety of the plant, is soft and not very durable. Also, since bamboo is primarily manufactured outside of the U.S., its transportation to a jobsite in Arkansas utilizes a significant amount of fossil fuel.
âGreenâ as a concept is everywhere. People use it to talk about everything from recycling to car buying. Before undertaking the project of my little house, I really didnât understand what truly makes one thing a better choice, from an environmental perspective, over another thing.
For green certified home builders, a green scoring tool is used to quantify the âgreenâ level achieved for a project per the National Green Building Certification. I was surprised to see where my Whidbey racked up pointsâ¦ for things I wouldâve considered just âgood common sense.â
(Salvaged knobs to be used on my interior doors)
My builder Bret Franks (of Bret Franks Construction) says, âOnce I became familiar with the specifics and intent of the homeowner on this project, working to certify it as an NAHB Green home was a no-brainer. The project epitomizes what residential green building is all about.â
As expected, green building often includes utilizing Energy Star appliances and light fixtures, installing rainwater collection tanks, building minimal square footage, utilizing salvaged materials, and other commonly known practices. But here are some of the less obvious criteria used to qualify a home for green certification:
- Indigenous materials used for major elements of the building
- Access to mass transit and pedestrian activity promoted
- Community resources (6 or more) near home
- Natural water/drainage features are preserved
- Entries at exterior door assemblies are covered to prevent deterioration
- Continuous physical termite barrier installed in areas with termites
- Built-in recycling collection space and pick-up space are implemented
- Dedicated bins for sorting/reuse of scrap building materials provided
- Food waste disposer installed in kitchen sink
- Carport or detached garage utilized
- All penetrations to living area are sealed to prevent contaminants and improve indoor air quality
- Heat/air ductless system, similar to those used in hotels, utilized to greatly improve indoor air quality
- Â Moisture content of lumber, insulation, etc. meets moisture control standards before installation
- A building ownerâs manual is provided and owner is familiarized with green building practices and trained regarding equipment (i.e. air filters, thermostat operation, water heater, etc.)
âAt the completion of this project, there will be a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that the home was built while making the least impact of the environment as possible. And the operation of the home will be very efficient for the homeowner for many years to come.â âBuilder Bret Franks