Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is Green Building? A Whole House Approach is a Key Element

Homeowners who are interested in Greening their existing home should seek some guidance before diving in too deep. A prime example is having a solar electric system installed on a house that has multiple problems of inadequate insulation and air infiltration. Spending thousands of dollars to generate electricity to heat a leaky building is a waste of both financial and natural resources.

A Whole House Approach considers the building as a system with interrelated parts. A first step would be to have a blower door test conducted to determine the locations and extent of air leaks. Heat generated inside will seek the colder space outside any way it can. Money can be better spent on sealing and insulating, upgrading the home's overall performance, before adding a new expensive component like an elaborate photovoltaic system. With this approach, the size and expense of a solar system (if desired) can be moderated to fit the improved building system.

Contact us for assistance in analyzing where to begin Greening your Whole House.

Tom Trent Builders Certified Green Building Professional

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is Green Building? It's About Performance

How Green is my building? It can be looked at as how a home or place of business performs with respect to energy use, indoor air quality, general comfort, and impact on the environment. A drafty house with excessive moisture (promoting mold), that costs a small fortune to heat is pretty hard on both the budget and the state of mind.

Most of the buildings we live and work in could use some help--ranging from a tune-up to an overhaul--to improve their performance. The benefits of a better-performing building include lower heating/cooling costs, higher comfort level, and less negative impact on the environment.

The average useful life of a furnace is about 15 years, with decreasing efficiency over time. As much as 30% of the warm air probably escapes under the house or in the attic before it warms us due to unsealed, leaking ductwork.

Many buildings built before the last decade have what would now be regarded as inadequate insulation to conserve the warm air generated by the inefficient heating system. And there are a myriad of air leaks that could be sealed where plumbing and electrical components penetrate into the living space.

Single pane windows (homes built as recently as 30 years ago have these) and unsealed crawl spaces promote condensation and interior moisture, which can lead to mildew and mold in the home. There are health risks associated with these conditions.

These are but a few of the most obvious places to start the tune-up or overhaul your building needs. Contact us to schedule a complimentary evaluation of your building's performance.