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Green Building & Maintenance PDF Print E-mail
Green building is the practice of designing a structure using energy, water and materials in an efficient way while reducing the overall impact we have on the environment and human health. Green building is economically efficient, producing less waste and pollution - a benefit to both nature and your health.
This type of energy-efficient building also takes advantage of renewable resources, such as using sunlight through passive and active solar units, using geothermal heating systems or harnessing hydropower.
On the aesthetic side of green architecture is the concept of designing a structure that is in harmony with nature and the earth's resources.
Harvard Business Review, 2006, even pointed out that within the last six years hundreds of studies have proven the financial advantages of green buildings, both residential and commercial. Reduced construction costs and lower operating costs were cited among the benefits. Other studies showed that employers with green buildings benefit more in the workplace. Employees interacted better and stayed at the company longer. The benefits also include increased employee productivity and fewer absences.
COMMON MYTHS ON GREEN BUILDING
  • It's too expensive: False. There are plenty of strategies that can be incorporated into your design for a fair price that will increase your productivity and savings in the long run.
  • Green products are hard to find: False. The number of green products available in the United States has grown tremendously over the years as more companies and homebuyers have realized the benefits of going green.
  • Green homes are weird or ugly: False. The truth is that many of today's green buildings are indistinguishable from "traditional" structures. There are plenty of ways to incorporate elegant design with environmentally safe techniques.
Here are just some of the small ways we incorporate energy efficient method into our elegant designs:
  • Creating a well-insulated building shell
  • Using lighter roofing colors and light wall finish materials
  • We consider the use of minimal glass on eastern and western exposures
  • Allowing for natural light to enter the building
  • Installing high efficient lighting systems with advanced lighting controls including motion sensors and dimmable lighting
  • Incorporating Feng Shui designs to promote harmony and balance with you and nature.
Solar Panels & Solar Trackers
Solar energy is a great way to reduce your electric bill while taking advantage of the sun's free energy. Regardless of your building's layout - perhaps it's in a shady area or less spacious environment - we can still accommodate you. Solar panels can be mounted on the ground if necessary.
Solar trackers, which operate in a similar way to solar panels, are initially more expensive; however, they are capable of harnessing even more solar power in one day. Trackers literally track the sun's path throughout the day from sunrise to sunset, rotating as the sun moves from the east to the west.
Overall, solar power is the most popular alternative energy option. Passive design strategies like these can dramatically affect building energy performance.
Geothermal Heating & Cooling
The application of geothermal heating and cooling has been called "the most energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive of all space conditioning systems," by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This heating and cooling system takes advantage of the earth's consistent 55 degree temperature to heat and cool a building. A geothermal heat pump can save building owners 40 to 70 percent in heating costs and 30 to 50 percent in cooling costs compared to conventional systems. That's a yearly savings of $1,500 or more. The system can essentially pay for itself within three to five years, depending on construction costs.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems are more than three times as efficient as the most efficient fossil fuel furnace available. In addition, as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, HVACR, there are even tax incentives for building owners who utilize this system.
Micro-Hydropower
Micro-hydropower is an excellent method of harnessing renewable energy through small streams of water. It is an efficient, reliable and cost-effective form of energy.
It takes as little as two gallons of water per minute to generate electricity with micro hydro. The electricity being generated can come from a mile away to the location where it is being used.
This energy efficient system creates a continuous supply of electrical energy in comparison to other small-scale renewable technologies. In addition, the water system operates with little impact on the surrounding ecology.
Design Build is committed to the success of sustainable construction practices. As part of this effort, we offer the benefits of green building practices. We believe it is an immediate benefit and long-lasting investment for our clients as well as the environment.
There are many green products available in the construction industry today. Our use of these products contributes to a healthier life for all of us.