Happy Autumn, everyone (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is)! I hope you are finding some time to get out and enjoy the changing leaves.Today, we have a guest post on sustainable construction by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is your next construction design going for LEED certification? Even if you don’t aspire to have your project be LEED certified, the methods of developing a sustainable home can help everyone. Sustainable construction is the future in many areas of the United States and developing a home or office building that can contribute to this way of thinking could be one of your most crowning achievements. It doesn’t take much effort to develop a project that can benefit from the technologies that are available. Although the costs may increase, the value to the customer could offset those amounts.
1. Solar Arrays - On average, adding a solar array to the roof of any project could increase the value of the land by approximately $30,000. If you are building a residence for a full-sized family, it could cost you nearly $15,000 in materials to make the home 100-percent energy sustainable. This could mean that your investment of building the locale could potentially double from the installation of a solar array. Of course, these amounts are based on a global average and may increase or decrease given the area you are constructing. However, the benefits are high when building a self-sufficient system of maintaining power.
2. Tankless Water Heaters – Tankless water heaters are a superb way to reduce energy costs. As opposed to traditional water heaters, they don’t consume power or gas in order to keep the temperature of the water a specific degree. Water is heated when it is used. This greatly reduces the energy costs of a location when compared to annual costs of operating a traditional method.
3. Thermal-barrier Paint Additives – When painting the walls of your project, why not mix in additives such as Insuladd. These additives have been tested to provide an added layer of insulation to the room making heating and cooling more efficient within. The more efficient any particular area is for handling the ambient room temperature, the less energy there is used for making the area bearable by human standards. Essentially, you’ll use the air conditioner less in the summer and the heater less during the winter. Other items such as organic insulation as cotton, and perhaps hemp in the future, can make a home more efficient and sustainable as well.
4. Geothermal Heat – Some projects can be created where you can implement geothermal heat exchangers. Geothermal solutions can be implemented for a wide variety of conditions for home and office. They can be used for floor heating, ice melting, heating spas and pools and much more. Of course, installing geothermal capabilities requires prime condition of the land your project is sitting on. It may not be practical or advisable to install such a system in certain conditions such as a high water table.
There are many ways you can develop a building in order to be sustainable. In today’s market, looking at LEED requirements as a base for construction can make the project worth the investment. Many clients would be happy to pay extra if the perks of a sustainable system are great enough. Not paying the electric company a single dime could be worth an extra $30,000 to the property’s asking price to a great deal of residential and professional buyers. The next time you are planning a construction project, why not look at how you can make the development more sustainable? Even the smallest additions could peak interest in discerning or environmentally-conscious clients.
Thanks, Liz, for your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? Is the typical homeowner ready to plunk down an additional $30 grand to avoid ongoing energy costs? Share your thoughts below.
Photo (c) The Gold Guys.
Today’s guest post is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com. Read on to find out how those scraps and remainders could, in a pinch, turn into some cold hard cash.
During the construction project, there are a variety of materials that are simply tossed in the dumpster that can be re-purposed for other uses or used to enhance a last minute idea. As you perform construction observation, take note: there could be tons of this material that can be used to save a great deal of money, if you know what you’re looking at. What recyclable materials are available on a construction site that can be reused later?
1. Wood - A lot of scrap wood is discarded during any given construction. While some of these pieces can be simply too small or odd-shaped to be of any real use, other pieces might be a perfect shape for other smaller projects. Frames, odd angle cuts, small pet doors, stairs, and a variety of other wooden uses can be created with this material that you may find yourself tossing in the dumpster. In any event, you could simply sell it by the pound to those who wish to burn or otherwise use the material which could recuperate some of the expenses of building the structure.
2. Drywall - Given the nature of renovations or new constructs, it is quite common place to have sections of drywall that are too small for a complete wall, but they could be used to patch holes or fit into smaller areas in other locations. As long as you can keep the drywall from experiencing moisture, it can be held for quite a long time before it is reused elsewhere.
3. Glass - If you’re planning a renovation project, keep in mind that securing the old windows can help you down the road in future projects. As long as the glass is intact, it can be cut down to fit a variety of other situations which could help save you a great deal of money on your next project. Although storing these pieces of glass may be a sensitive ordeal, the benefits could outweigh the risk as some plates of glass could be as much as $100 and up for each piece.
4. Concrete - Whether you are laying a new foundation or renovating a location, you could accumulate a great deal of wasted concrete. Although recycling concrete can help reduce the amount of waste in landfills, you can use pieces of this material to assist in other applications. Bits of concrete can be used to add stability to pipes and conduits that run underground, for example.
5. Copper - Not only does the wiring within a location contain copper, but pipes contain this metal as well. In some areas, recyclers will pay as much as $3 per pound for copper. In renovations or new developments, some of your expenses can be reimbursed by recycling copper. If you projects don’t produce a lot of waste from the metal, there is nothing that says you can’t simply save a collection of it until it becomes worthwhile to take to a recycler.
You don’t have to be a member of Green Peace in order to see the value of re-purposing or recycling materials from a construction site. There is a great deal of usefulness from these bits and pieces that can save you a great deal of money later on. The next time you walk a building site, take a look around prior to clean-up and determine what can help save money later.
Thanks Madoline for your thoughts.
Your turn: ever recoup expenses through recycling or re-purposing construction debris? Share in the comments, below.
As many of you may be aware, the North Carolina legislature was considering a bill that would effectively take away the option of LEED certification for public projects. In a misguided effort to protect the NC timber industry, the original bill would essentially take away the option of using LEED for public projects.
Thanks to the strong potests from many industry groups, and the great coverage of the issue by Bob Kruhm and the folks at his paper NC Construction News, the NC Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 628 on Monday night that retains the option of LEED certifciation for State construction projects. Read the full story here. [For the original bill and other versions, click here].
Last week, I mentioned the renewal of the tax credits for wind energy. Another report which came across my desk recently is one from SustainableBusiness.com, in which it is reported that some (although certainly not all) of New York City’s oldest buildings are out-performing LEED-certified buildings.
The magazine compares the new 7 World Trade Center, a LEED-Gold certified project, to the 1930s-era Chrysler Building, which is more energy efficient. The 7 World Trade Center building has an Energy Star score of 74, while the Chrysler building scores 84 (in part due to extensive efficiency upgrades).
The cited reasons include thicker walls, fewer windows and less ventilation in the older buildings, as well as the fact that LEED-certified buildings look at other environmental features, such as the kinds of materials used and recycled, water systems, and proximity to public transportation.
Does this surprise you? Are you a critic of the LEED process or an advocate? Share your thoughts below.
Photo (c) davidlat.
Today, a guest post by the folks at Vector Foiltec. Vector Foiltec invented the use of Texlon (ETFE), and have developed the use of this innovative technology worldwide in the design and constructive industry. Some of the world’s most impressive offices, stadiums, and transport buildings have been developed by Vector-Foiltec.
Recent years have seen a surge in the number of designs and commissions of green buildings by designers and architects. All around the world, green, eco-buildings are becoming the benchmark of expectation. Not so long ago, a green building would standout because of how different it was. It would be something new, even quirky, and something unfamiliar that not everyone was comfortable with.
Those days have long gone, however, with a realisation that green building is the way forward, with environmental benefits as well as those attached to finances and quality of life improvements.
Eco-friendly buildings aren’t yet at the stage where we can celebrate them as the final frontier of construction, however. Yes, the new designs of buildings and the materials used certainly mean that an office block can be carbon neutral, but are they sustainable in other ways? The evolution of green building, now and in the future, will center firmly around the ability of designers and construction professionals to create buildings that are not only eco-friendly, but sustainable for use in terms of how they deal with extreme weather or other natural events, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, for example.
Meeting the challenge of ensuring that a building can ‘always work’ has been an obstacle for designers. Placement of windows, for example, and the materials used within construction means that issues such as insufficient daylight are no longer an issue.
But what about when there is a power cut, or problems with the water supply?
To reach that searched for ‘final frontier’ that we mentioned earlier, designers need to make a building that can stand independently of central supplies such as electricity and water. This creates new challenges around energy recovery and storage as well as on-site water recycling, but it is possible to achieve results.
When a building is at the level where ‘always working’ has been achieved, a hurricane or other severe weather will then be minimally disruptive to it.
‘Always working’ represents a model for a truly sustainable building.
How It’s Made
The materials used are often the central focus of eco-building and have been responsible for many of the positive results seen in recent years. However, there is still a focus on developing eco-friendly construction materials further, and using them to best effect within a building.
So strong is this focus that there are now homes being constructed from ‘cob,’ and other similar compounds around the world. The great thing about these? They are lightweight, resistant to fire and earthquakes, and also stand up to events such as flooding and powerful winds.
The very meaning and identity of ‘green building’ is changing fast. Architects and designers that combine environmental benefits with true sustainability over the coming years are sure to find themselves in high demand.
Thoughts, comments? Know of a ‘cob’ home that we should get pictures of? Post in the comments section below.
Photo (c) Vector Foiltec