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Green Building Design – Cost vs. The Greater Good

Published: Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

The biggest issue in Green Design is always going to be cost.  Therefore, for Green Building to work, cost-efficiency, productivity and environmental concerns need to be addressed simultaneously.

As a builder, developer, architect or contractor it isn’t hard to be in full support of building homes that are as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.  That is until you enter in external variables, most importantly, money.  The question is how to build both a “green home” and save money.

Home builders have to be economically incented to construct buildings designed to be healthy and efficient.   For a builder or developer the three P’s will always be in this order: Profit, People and then Planet.   The benefits of Green Building are starting to become well known, but  the

costs associated are always going to be a problem until we as an industry can devise a way to make Green Building more economical for the average builder.   This is our greatest challenge as an industry

Home builders and developers who have embraced the concepts of eco-friendly building, say that there are four attributes of green building design that have been significantly correlated with increased productivity.  They are increased ventilation control, enhanced temperature control, enhanced lighting control, and increased day lighting.

It should surprise no one that, indoor air quality also has been linked to potential productivity and health gains in workplaces and educational facilities.

Elements such as energy-efficient doors and windows, water-efficient toilets and fixtures, open spaces, modest ceiling heights and extra thick exterior wall framing are also crucial from both a comfort, environmental and economical view point.

Strides are being made every day in improving everything from insulation to appliances to roofing.

The problem is that they aren’t coming fast enough.  Our environment is being hurt and it is our children and our children’s children who are going to suffer.When I was a kid, I blamed my parents generation for pollution, Viet Nam, civil unrest and everything else that I saw that was wrong with the world.  Now my kids can blame my generation for the same kinds of problems.  Our abuse of the planet has  gotten worse and instead of  Viet Nam, we have Iraq, Iran and several more.

None of us has all the answers, but we have to keep trying.  If each one of us can contribute a little bit to the greater good even if it means make a little less margin or profit, it will all add up.



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