Is Your Next Project Going to Be LEED Certified? (guest post)

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: [email protected].

recycling globeIs 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.


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