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.