Going Green: The Green Building

Building A Green Home

 

Environmentalism is no longer a fringe element. So many people are concerned with the global crisis that ‘Going Green’ at home is a common answer to the question “How can I help?”

One industry in which green products have become widely available is in the building industry, and the home does start with the building! With buildings accounting for 40% of worldwide energy flow and material use, how they are constructed, remodeled and repaired has far reaching consequences.  For example, despite the fact that half the Earth’s forests have been lost to logging, people continue to use wood logged from shrinking forests to build houses, add-on and decks. Building with wood from depleted forests, chemical- laden finishing products and design elements that ignore energy efficiency, as often done, depletes our natural resourses, releases toxins into the environment, and contributes to global warming.

Green Building, on the other hand, is characterized by non-toxic materials, a low environmental impact and energy efficiency. Green building acknowledges that our resourses are finite and knows we must create sustainable building practices. Green building recognizes that it is healthier for a buildings occupants and the environment to avoid toxic materials. As it operates on the “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse” concept, green building is cost effective.

In addition to the destruction of our forests and other natural resourses to meet the demand of non-green buildings, other major impact  to people and the planet come from manufacturing toxic chemical sealants, glues, adhesives and vinyl’s. The factories manufacturing these products are not only negatively effecting the health of their workers but the health of those around the manufacture site and continuing to those living with the materials in their homes on a daily basis. The effects are not limited to those in contact with the materials either. Toxins have been shown to move around the globe through air and water. Thus these factories add to the toxic load of all of us. In addition, vinyl and other materials continue to off-gas (release chemicals known as VOC’s-Volatile organic compounds) long after the have been installed, so whoever lives or works in the non-green building is effected.

So why should Americans go green at home?

PEOPLE: Protect your Health

  • Indoor VOC’S (Volatile organic compounds) cause an estimated 3,000 cases of cancer a year in the U.S.
  • 30% of new and renovated buildings have unhealthy indoor air.
  • Indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 enviromental risks in the U.S., according to the EPA.

PLANET: It’s only fair

  • When we use products that pollute we not only dirty our own nest, but we also add to the toxic load of the rest of the world and it’s inhabitants.
  • We are only 4.5% of the world population but are responsible for 15% of the worlds wood consumption.
  • We are only 4.5 % of the world population but are responsible for 25% of the worlds greenhouse gas emissions, mostly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and for transportation.

PROFIT: It pay’s to Go Green

  • Green building materials often cost less than non-green materials because they are manufactured from renewable sources rather than nonrenewable sources such as forest wood, or obtained by recycling or reusing existing materials.
  • A green home costs less to run becuase it is energy efficient.
  • The savings for medical costs for those living in a green home are incalculable but likely significant.
  • Your health is priceless.
  • The health of the planet is priceless.
  • A sustainable future is priceless.

Simply put what is bad for you can’t be good for the planet, and what is bad for the planet can’t be good for you to have in your home!