Home Green Building Guide
Going green is good for
all involved and easier than ever to do.
Original Home would like to encourage you
to “go green” on your upcoming
project. Below is some information to help
take your first steps.
Need for Green
The big picture green is good
for the environment, good for business.
You've heard the buzzwords: green, sustainable, high performance, environmentally-friendly,
eco-conscious. When it comes to home building or renovation, all these words
describe the same thing: making well informed decisions.
By making smarter choices about how you build and the products you recommend
and use, you can significantly contribute to the health, wealth and well-being
of yourself, the families for whom you build, your community, and the world.
Home Green Initiative
Original home plans are great starting points as they are practically sized
and easy to apply green building practices to. Remember any shade of green
is a start, so start where you are and do what your budget and conscience will
Original Home strongly recommends finding a local green builder to help you
achieve you green goals and share the process with early on. These building
professionals will have a wealth of experience, information and contacts that
are invaluable if you are an “eco-newbie”. Here are some links
to help you track down a builder and other green professionals.
US Green Building
Environmental Protection Agency
Knowledge will help you take ownership of the choices and commitments you make
along the way. Here are three broad concepts to guide you in the building process.
Enjoy and good luck!
1. Pay Attention to
Look at the material's life cycle: pay attention to how materials are made,
how materials get to your site, how they will leave your job and what happens
to them after the lifecycle of your building.
Look for Material Opportunities: All things come from the earth (the cradle)
and if they go back to the earth responsibly, that’s a good thing (Cradle
Choose finishes and construction materials wisely: Look for healthy finishes
and materials that will benefit your indoor air quality of your home. Toxic
air quality is a big problem with traditional construction.
2. Pay Attention Green
Sustainable framing:. Sustainable harvested woods or ecologically engineered
framing materials are a step in the right direction.
Use natural building methods: Mother Nature knows best, so use natural methods
Manufactured Building Methods can be greene: Many building methods are more
efficiently managed off site.
3. Pay Attention Green
Building Systems and Site Planning.
Energy systems:. Many alternative and high efficiency choices exist on the
market today. Good choices here have long term benefits to you pocket book
and the environment.
Heating and Cooling Systems:. Energy efficiency and a low carbon footprint
can be biggest impact in going green.
Water and Waste Systems:. Smart water usage will lighten your projects environmental
Landscaping and Site Planning: Many green opportunities in the site development
stage of your project.
Original Home wants to encourage you go deeper in your knowledge of Green so
below are great links and resources to help you navigate through it all.
Green building 101
Green building from Wikipedia:
What is Green Building?
What Makes a Product Green?
Does it cost more? Because
this approach requires more time be spent
up front for design people often assume that
it costs more. In fact, some architecture
and engineering firms have found that sustainable
design projects were, between 15-25% more
profitable than conventional project.
Some Green products (
See below for more)
Get Green services
Green Lifestyle links
It’s time to do your homework. We recommend the Green Building for Dummies
book if you want to get serious about learning the fundamentals of going green <www.dummies.com>.
Otherwise below is a comprehensive list to study green building in depth. Good
Fact: We spend an average of 90%
of our time in buildings-and the air quality
inside is two to five times worse than outside
Fact: Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of our total energy
consumption - 60% of our electricity alone. As a point of reference, transportation
- including cars, buses, trains, etc. - comprise only 27%.
Fact: Worldwide, buildings consume nearly 40% of the world's energy, 25% of
its wood, and 15% of its water.
Source: Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance
Making an impact -
it's a group effort
According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America Program, an integrated,
systems-engineering approach can reduce as much as 50% of the energy consumption
of a new home - with little or no impact on the cost of construction.
Most professionals who engage in a whole systems or integrated approach to
design and building agree that the transition takes a bit of extra time in
the beginning; after all, it's a new way of working and thinking. In an integrated
process the team works as a collective to understand and develop all aspects
of the design, which can them emerge organically, with the full benefit of
each expert's input. Together the group creates a solution that no individual
could develop alone.
Green building unites disciplines that have traditionally worked independently
from one another, such as architects, engineers, builders, material suppliers,
community planners, mortgage lenders and contractor trades.
Benefits for builders
1. Reduced callbacks and warranty claims
2. Lower material and labor costs during construction
3. Reduced purchase cost of mechanical equipment
4. Less construction waste
5. Higher quality homes = competitive advantage
Benefits for homeowners
1. Lower utility bills
2. Greater comfort
3. Better indoor air quality
4. Energy-efficient mortgages
5. Higher resale prices
Benefits for the nation
1. Less reliance on fossil fuels
2. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
3. More affordable homes for first-time homebuyers
Links by Topic
Alternative energy news and information resources about renewable energy technologies.
Alternative energy is energy derived from sources that do not harm the environment
or deplete the Earth's natural resources.
Making Renewable Do-able -- The Alternative Energy Store is the premiere retailer
of renewable energy goods.
Once all energy-efficient design strategies have been exhausted, consider what
technologies may be used with your home that would help reduces its need for
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association promotes renewable energy, energy
efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.
A trusted source for Renewable Energy News and Information on the Internet.
Wind from American Wind Energy Association
Wind-powered electric systems sized for homes, farms, and small businesses.
Communities & Blogs
News, views and strong opinions on alternative energy resources including wind
power, solar energy, wave energy, geothermal & other alternate energy sources.
Andrew & Stacy
--The Green Team
Andrew and Stacy Hunt work as consultants and writers in the residential green
building industry, and are based in Pittsburgh.
Providing homeowners with a glimpse of just how easy, cost-effective and healthy
it is to go green, while dispelling the myth that an environmentally conscious
lifestyle means doing without.
We are a collective of professionals dedicated to exploring green building
and the technologies, practices, materials and designs that are at the forefront
of this movement.
to Cradle Community
William McDonough is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of
three U.S. presidential awards for sustainable design.
Finding equity in green real estate.
Technology for a greener future.
Green Home Building and
Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website www.greenhomebuilding.com, posts
text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.
Built, in-progress, and unbuilt green buildings in Chicago.
The best of green social media.
GreenHomeGuide helps close the gap between intentions and practical realities.
We?re a trusted, community-based resource whose combination of tips, case studies,
expert Q&A articles and regional directories of products and services helps
millions of homeowners create homes that make them feel good.
Inhabitat.com is a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations
in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home
design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
Alter Lloyd Alter has been an architect,
developer, inventor, and is currently developing,
promoting and building modernist prefab homes
in the Toronto area.
Modern Green Prefab in Canada
Ramsey House Project
Follow and learn from a Canadian family building a home in the City of Calgary.
Media & Publications
Building from HGTVpro
Get going with green building -- from using renewable resources in construction
to energy efficiency in the finished home.
Daily News and Resources on Green Business, Sustainable Practices, Environmental
Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or not, off-grid or on-grid, Home Power is
here to help you make informed decisions about your energy use. We provide
extensive product information, homeowner testimonials, buyer advice, and "how-to" instructions
Solar Energy Society
ASES is leading the renewable energy revolution.
We?re the nonprofit organization dedicated
to increasing the use of solar energy, energy
efficiency, and other sustainable technologies
in the U.S.
Design is the first strategy that should be
used to reduce the need for fossil-fuel energy.
Within this category there are a number of
design techniques that are no-cost or low-cost.
These strategies can dramatically reduce your
home?s need for fossil-fuel energy.
Build It Green is a professional non-profit
membership organization whose mission is to
promote healthy, energy and resource-efficient
buildings in California.
Star >> U.S. EPA / DOE
Protect our environment for future generations.
Flex Your Power's website is your resource
for energy efficiency and conservation information.
Find incentives/rebates, technical assistance,
retailers, product guides, case studies and
Fostering a global value shift toward a sustainable
and secure future.
The mission of the Green Building Initiative
is to accelerate the adoption of building
practices that result in energy-efficient,
healthier and environmentally sustainable
buildings by promoting credible and practical
green building approaches for residential
and commercial construction.
The latest news on environmental technology
and green innovations.
For a Healthier Home - The Resource for a
Better, Safer Indoor Environment.
Promoting Sustainable Living through Inspirational
Building Industry Council
Advancing a 'whole building' approach to design.
Green Home GuideFrom Seattle to Des Moines
to New York City, anyone can have a green
home. Rented or owned, affordable or market-rate,
single-family or multi-unit, urban, suburban
or rural: If it?s housing, it can be green.
U .S. Green
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is
a non-profit organization committed to expanding
sustainable building practices.
Green Wednesday is a weekly email newsletter from Architecture Week focusing
on green and sustainable design and building.
Cutting edge environmental commentary, timely green building news, new green
building product information and much more.
The latest content, including gorgeous natural homes, beautiful organic gardens
and products and methods for building and decorating your natural home.
Subscribe to our Newsletters. We Cover All Renewable Energy Technologies Solar
Energy - Wind Power - Geothermal - Hydropower - Hydrogen - Biomass - Ocean
Energy - Green Power - and other emerging renewable energy technologies.
Architecture, Building and Culture
Get our newsletter - it's FREE! Eco & green building, healthy homes, home
remediation, maintenance and design, household tips and web site reviews.
Products & Suppliers
Search the Directory to locate suppliers and service providers of green building
products within the 9-County San Francisco Bay Area and Anaheim.
Environmentally Friendly Modern Fireplaces Ecosmart Fire, designers of open
environmentally friendly open fireplaces fueled by green energy.
STAR Qualified Products
Products in more than 50 categories are eligible for the ENERGY STAR. They
use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment.
Your source for green building materials, including low-toxic, low-odor paints,
finishes, sealers, carpets, and cork and linoleum flooring from Nature's, AFM/
Safecoat, BioShield, Forbo and OS.
Forest World LLC is the premier manufacturer of sustainably harvested forest
Using natural, non-industrial materials will improve the energy equation when
Home Building from ToolBase Services
Selected innovative building products, processes, and systems that can produce
safer, more energy efficient homes at a lower cost and higher quality.
Green2Green.org offers free environmental and practical data about any Green-Building
Material or practice.
Products from Building Green
The online GreenSpec? Directory lists product descriptions for over 2,100 environmentally
EcosmartFire ? Furniture ? Spas ? Swim Spas ? Shade Makers ? Planters ? Infrared
Grills ? Marin Images
Green Building Source
Environmentally friendly building materials and products.
Premier Building Systems is North America's largest SIPs manufacturer.
Leopold Legacy Center
The U.S. Green Building Council named the group's new home the greenest building
it has ever rated.
Green -King County, WA
Built Green? homes and communities are unique, with features chosen from hundreds
of items on the Built Green checklists. Every Built Green home also meets strict
state and local codes for water use efficiency, stormwater, energy and ventilation.
Hill House -Seattle, WA
The owners wanted to retain its "modern" look, while turning it from
drab to beautiful. At the same time, they wanted their house project to be
a laboratory for sustainability and "smart house" technology.
Sierra House -Gardnerville, NV
This sustainable demonstration home was carefully designed to take advantage
of the rugged beauty of its site on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains, overlooking the Carson Valley.
10 House -Chicago, IL
Factor 10 House's cutting edge design was one of five affordable case-study
designs chosen for construction and was completed in summer 2003.
House Learning Center
The Florida House Learning Center demonstrates "earth-friendly" conservation
technology and design for living in southwest Florida.
Building -Austin, TX
The Green Building Program develops case studies of new and renovated buildings
in the Austin area to showcase real-world applications of sustainable building
principles and strategies.
House -Hanover, NH
The Hanover House uses active and passive solar systems and high efficiency,
resulting in extremely low energy consumption.
Solar House -Evanston, IL
This single-family residence on Lake Michigan was designed to take advantage
of the dramatic views of Lake Michigan.
Efficient Homes Across America
Homes across America provides a showcase of information on sustainable construction
practices, innovations, and resource efficient features.
Umbrella House -Venice, CA
Inspired by Paul Rudolph's Umbrella House of 1953, the Solar Umbrella House
was designed to establish a precedent for the next generation of California
Creek Road Home -Healdsburg, CA
This modest California retreat evokes the spirit of local vernacular buildings
and was designed to take maximum advantage of the site and climate to make
the house comfortable while minimizing energy use and environmental impacts.
House -Santa Monica, CA
The Z6 House is a single-family residence that was added to a multifamily-zoned
lot with an existing duplex.
Financing & Tax
Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
The IRS has provided the guidance regarding the tax credits for constructing
energy efficient new homes available under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
IRS Releases Guidance on Energy Efficiency Tax Credits for Homebuilders.
Site & Water
Water-Efficient Appliances and Equipment, Land Development, Landscaping, Plumbing
Fixtures, Site Selection, Stormwater, Water Collection and Conservation.
GreenScaping encompasses a set of landscaping practices that can improve the
health and appearance of your lawn and garden while protecting and preserving
Model Green Home Building Guidelines
Even before the foundation is poured, careful planning can reduce the home?s
impact on natural features such as vegetation and soil; and enhance the home's
Planning & Land Development
The Model Green Home Building Guidelines.
Codes, Standards & Rating
STAR Qualified New Homes
An ENERGY STAR qualified new home performs better for the homeowner and the
environment thanks to a variety of energy-efficient features.
Rating System for Homes
LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction
of high-performance green homes.
The NAHB Green Home Building Guidelines, created for mainstream home builders.
Calculator from EcoNuetral
Use the EcoNeutral Carbon Calculator to determine your carbon footprint.
Footprint Calculator from Green Progress
Calculate Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Your Impact.
Footprint Quiz from Earthday
Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires?
Myabodo is an interactive toy that lets you shape a house to fit you.
Your Energy IQ from National Geographic
Is your home a Green House?
Residential Solar Power Systems. Be Energy Independent -- And Save Money.
Designers and Manufacturers of Geo-solar Homes.
HelioPower specializes in helping you manage your energy consumption, as well
as helping you reduce or eliminate your energy bills - whether gas, propane,
Power from DIY's Best Built Home
Imagine using the sun to generate your own electricity.
SunPower residential solutions offer up to 50% more power than conventional
solar systems, and our all-black panels blend in beautifully with your home?s
Call us at 203-389-8999 if
you have further questions. Thank you for