9 Lessons from a Green Builder

Check out these 9 things you want to know before building a green home.

| September/October 2007

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.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and 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 $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter