Thursday, October 2, 2008

Greening Your Home Has Benefits

I recently completed training to become a Certified Green Building Professional. This was through a program of Build It Green, California's foremost organization in the field. Their website is One of the trainers has been active in the green building movement since its inception 15 years ago.

Buildings are the largest source of CO2 emissions, far surpassing tranportation and industry. 70% of the homes in California were built before 1978, when the need for energy conservation became so apparent that the Energy Code was adopted (Title 24). And the majority built since then are not energy-efficient by today's standards. The quality of indoor air, where we spend most of our time, is 2-4 times worse than outdoors.

These facts lead to the compelling need to take action to make our existing--as well as new-- buildings cost less to operate and be healthier places in which to spend time. Green building is not just about solar and alternative energy, it is also about saving money and improving overall health. There are a wide variety of steps--from small to medium to large--that I can suggest for your specific situation to improve your quality of life and protect our environment. Here are but a few examples:

95% of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs generates heat, not light. Compact fluorescent bulbs now come in warmer color shades and save money every month.

Weatherstripping and sealing to prevent heat loss through uncontrolled air infiltration is another low-cost way to reduce energy costs.

When replacing carpet or other flooring, shop for products that contain less harmful components than the old standard ones. Offgassing from underlayment and floor coverings is a major source of bad indoor air quality, and it continues for years. There are viable alternatives out there.

When replacing your water heater, appliances, or HVAC system, get advice on how to improve the energy efficiency and performance of these big ticket items. The labels can be confusing and/or deceiving.

If you decide to add to or remodel your home, I can work with you to improve your building's energy performance as well as your family's health by implementing some Green Building approaches. The benefits you will experience will continue long after the project is complete.

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