Mother Earth Living

9 Lessons from a Green Builder

Check out these 9 things you want to know before building a green home.
By Beth Ritchie
September/October 2007
Add to My MSN


Content Tools

Related Content

Win a Solar-Powered Water Heater for Your Home

Enter the Go Solar Giveaway Sweepstakes for a chance to win a solar powered hot water system valued ...

Cash for Caulkers Part 2: Home Star Rebates for Water Heaters, Heating and Cooling Systems

When the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 passes (as expected) this summer, be prepared by lear...

Win a Solar Hot Water System!

Enter Natural Home’s Go Solar Giveaway to win a solar hot water heating system from Sunward.

False Green Claims On the Rise, Study Finds

TerraChoice’s annual Sins of Greenwashing study finds that 95 percent of the products claiming to be...

1. Make design changes while they’re on computer and paper rather than in the field—it’s a lot cheaper. Take advantage of the drafting software program AutoCAD, which makes viewing interiors easier. Many architects include this service at no additional charge.

2. Clear communication is critical. When possible, deal directly with those who perform a service or make a product. Properly recording decisions can save money and time.

3. Provide ample opportunity to store the sun’s heat. Houses designed to maximize solar gain need concrete and extensive stone surfaces to capture and radiate heat back into the house after the sun goes down.

4. Beware of greenwashing. Hire good advisors. Ask questions, and if you don’t get satisfactory answers on a product’s materials and sourcing, choose another product.

5. What’s good for the Earth is often good for you. New cabinets, furniture and carpet can outgas toxic chemicals for years, contributing to indoor air pollution and possibly asthma. Avoid medium-density fiberboard (MDF), pressboard and particleboard interiors, which contain formaldehyde.

6. Avoid “boutique” appliances. Choose appliances based on energy efficiency first, brand reliability second, and aesthetic and other features third. Refrigerators with freezers on the bottom are best, because they take advantage of the natural properties of air movement: Heat rises, cold falls.

7. Choose green floors. Ask for carpet with the highest amount of post-consumer (best) or post-industrial recycled face fiber. Also look for carpet made with nontoxic adhesives. Select cork or certified-sustainable hardwood.

8. Quality details count. Don’t skimp on good design and finish materials, which reduce waste by lasting longer. Remember, however, that less is more. Do you really need molding and wainscoting?

9. Use low-VOC paint. Avoid the darkest colors, which fade in sunlight and contain the most toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.