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GUIDE TO GREEN BUILDINGS

This guideline contains an overview of what makes a GreenBuilding work with the environment, and in favor of consumer health, comfort andeconomy. This listing is only to be used as a general guide since there arenumerous specific technical considerations, that are used by building industryprofessionals to meet such criteria, that could not be included here forbrevity.

1. Emphasize the four "R's"-- via sound design, construction and building commissioning withoutcompromising structural durability, indoor pollutant levels, ventilation,building code requirements, or marketability, including:

2. Use Energy, Water and Resource Efficient design,specification and construction methods:

  1. Building thermal envelope thermal and air leakage levelsexceed levels cited International Energy Conservation Code 1998 [formerlyCABO-MEC] or ASHRAE Std. 90.2-1993 [consult ASHRAE Std. 100 for energy efficientexisting residential buildings approach]
  2. Mechanical home ventilation is provided, designed to beoccupant controllable
  3. Ducts and pipes are of minimal length, well sealed, andlocated inside the home
  4. High efficiency heating and air-conditioning equipment ("right"sizing, high unit efficiency, effective controls, HVAC system gets commissioned)
  5. Efficient service water heating, includingconsideration of solar water heating
  6. Major appliances selected with DOE "Energy-guide"labeled usage in lower 1/4 of appliance "family" annual comparativeenergy cost
  7. Minimize potable water use of both hot and cold supplies,and outdoor uses for landscaping
  8. Install energy efficient electrical lighting, and designfloorplan to maximize interior daylighting;
  9. Respect site conditions to considers passive solar andnatural cooling
  10. An operating manual is supplied so owner/occupant knows howto maintain good performance

3. Healthy indoor air quality (meets or exceeds US EPAvoluntary criteria)

  1. Radon/soil-gas entry is prevented through good design andconstruction
  2. Low-VOC emitting construction, adhesives, finishes areemployed
  3. Low Formaldehyde emitting manufactured wood products areinstalled
  4. Use carpeting that is tested and labeled for low emissionsis installed along with low emission padding
  5. Steps are taken in design and construction preventingexcess moisture to avoid rot, mold and mildew

4. Building has "Affordable" communitylocation and connectivity:

  1. infrastructure is provided or improved to promote masstransit, bus, light rail;
  2. community infrastructure that reduces private vehicle milestraveled;
  3. good integration of local health and social services;
  4. walk-able options developed for recreation and lightshopping needs;
  5. community has accessible bike paths, etc. for non-motorizedrecreation.

5. Development creates a sense of well being andcommunity in its neighborhood structure.

A socially healthy development will provide home buyers,local business, institutions and local governments with multiple pathways forcommunication, recreation, interaction, transportation, and in so doing helpsbuild true community and permit more effective management of environmental,social and interpersonal issues that may arise within the community. Benefitsinclude lower crime, higher property values, and better levels and utilizationof services provided through a healthy tax-base.

6. The home remains reasonably affordable and costeffective while accomplishing criteria one through five.

  1. Overall added mortgage cost per month is generally offsetby savings on building operating energy, commuting costs, avoided health claimsfrom indoor air pollution, and better mental health due to sense of communityand fewer hours spent commuting); and
  2. During the useful life of the structure (50 year usefullife for life-cycle analysis purposes) the building produces no net economicloss to owner(s) when evaluated against traditional competing free marketinvestments (bonds, stocks, etc.) for the funds employed to upgrade the buildingto meet these criteria.
Written by: Bion Howard

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