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The Benefits of Building Green

Caroline Kelm

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There are many benefits to building green and it seems the real estate industry is catching on. Not only does building green provide a healthy place to live along with protecting the planet, but it also saves you money.

One program that offers green building certification is the LEED for Homes rating system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a certification that you can receive when building a green home. The LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System is a measurable tool that is evaluated by a third party in regards to sustainability and performance. The four different levels of green that you can achieve include: certified, gold, silver, and platinum levels.

One of the benefits of building green is that it reduces the building's environmental footprint on the planet. U. S. homes account for 21% of carbon dioxide emissions, 22% of energy use and 74% of potable water consumption and therefore are a huge contributor of emissions that damage the earth. Building green can help reduce the causes of climate change by reducing our emissions, energy use and water use. In the LEED program some of the criteria include building with solar orientation in mind to capture as much sunlight as possible in addition to using durable products to reduce the need for replacement. The program also awards points for placing a home near community transit as well as using landscaping that lessens irrigation demand.

There are many health benefits to building green. The LEED program gives points for building with non-toxic materials such as zero or low VOC paint and soy-based insulations. By building with these materials, the owners reduce the chance of having health issues as a result of living among toxic building materials. The LEED program awards points for other measures to avoid health problems such as flushing the property prior to occupancy, prohibiting exhaust fans in the garage so to not vent harmful fumes into the house and building with radon-resistant construction.

Another benefit to building green is that it can save you money. Compared to traditionally built homes, green homes use an average of: 40% less energy and 50% less water. They are also built with non-toxic building materials that lower exposure to mold and mildew which could lower health care costs. Another monetary factor to consider is your homes re-sale value. If a buyer can save money on water, energy and health bills by buying a green home versus a standard home, the buyer may be willing to pay more to purchase the green home.

The list could go on in regards to the many reasons to build green, but what seems to be clear is that the green train is coming and the real estate industry appears to be on board.


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