Treading Lightly Toward Sustainability
A green home is a healthier, longer-lasting building that is energy-efficient and conserves natural resources. By choosing less-toxic, sustainably-harvested materials and energy-saving approaches, your home can be a healthier place that costs less to operate and contributes toward overall sustainability. This has been defined as “providing for the needs of the present without detracting from the ability to fulfill the needs of the future.”
The principles that guide Green Building include improving: energy efficiency and conservation, indoor environmental quality, resource and material efficiency, occupancy health and productivity, and environmental quality including air, water, land, limited resources and ecosystems.
My involvement in this movement began more than 15 years ago, when I built the first of several homes integrating these principles. From site development that had a minimal impact on the natural terrain while taking into account passive solar heating/shading, to the careful use of precious natural resources and alternative materials and methods, I have been committed to Green Building since before the term became popular. I am now a Certified Green Building Professional.
Buildings are the largest source of CO2 emissions, far surpassing transportation and industry. 70% of the homes in California were built before 1978, when the need for energy conservation became so apparent that the Energy Code was adopted. The majority built since then are not energy-efficient by today’ standards. The quality of indoor air, where we spend most of our time, is 2-4 times worse than outdoors.
These facts lead to the compelling need to take action to make our existing—as well as new—buildings cost less to operate and be healthier places in which to spend time. Green building is not just about solar power and alternative methods, it is also about saving money and improving overall health. There are a wide variety of steps, in either new construction or remodeling, that I can suggest for your specific situation to improve your quality of life and protect the environment.
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