Tips For Building GREEN

Wouldn't it be great to own a home that was healthier than the average residence? What if it was also extremely energy efficient, reduced pollution, and conserved natural resources? Then you would have what Sage Homebuilders calls a "High Performance Home." This St. Louis-based company is dedicated to building custom, Green-certified homes. "The green revolution is a very important one; it is creating environmental awareness and encouraging social responsibility," says Seth Teel, Development Analyst for Sage Homebuilders. By conserving energy and reducing production of materials, green homes help conserve the Earth's natural resources. And with superior insulation and air purification systems, these homes are healthier for the residents. In addition, they save homeowners an abundance of money in utilities and are a more solid investment. Because the green movement has grown so much, it has become hard to decipher what products are truly green. Sage Homebuilders has made building green a simpler task by calling out the Top 10 elements to incorporate into all new home construction.


Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing is used to run hot and cold plumbing lines. It is a viable alternative to PVC or copper materials and aids in the Green movement in a number of ways. First, PEX's flexible nature virtually eliminates the need for elbow joints, drastically reducing piping cost and material use. Also, because of the way PEX is created, it works extremely well under both hot and cold temperatures, resisting chemical attack and creep deformation. Because of this factor, PEX has a lifeline of anywhere from 50 to 200 years.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that encourages the responsible management of forests. It uses a third-party certification program to ensure that building materials and paper products come from "well-managed forests in an . reducing air filtration in and out. This will drastically cut your energy usage. 3) FSC CERTIFIED WOOD & BAMBOO: Bamboo flooring provides an exceptional alternative to traditional hardwood and is used in Green-certified homes such as this one created by Sage Homebuilders. Also. Utilizing used resources reduces the economic impact of creating insulation. blown-in insulation ensures every cavity will be completely sealed. insects and mold. Cellulose insulation is comprised of 80% recycled newsprint and other waste paper products such as cardboard. and uses low-toxicity chemical additives to resist fire. as well as reducing sound transmission.2) BLOWN-IN CELLULOSE INSULATION: Cellulose insulation provides a significant advantage over traditional fiberglass insulation panels for a number of reasons. Another benefit to cellulose insulation is that it does not contain formaldehyde-based binders found in fiberglass.

It also requires minimal fertilization and pesticides and is extremely hard and durable. 4) LOW / NO VOC PAINTS & WATER-BASED STAINS: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the solvents in paint and stains that evaporate readily at room temperature and give off the smell generally associated with paint products – which is bad for people and the environment. can be used in place of hardwood for flooring. . go on with ease. For more information.or zero-VOC paints. and provide a natural finish. extremely toxic. Many paint companies on the market today are recognizing their social responsibility and creating low. and economically viable way. wall coverings. stains." FSC products carry a certification label and can be found at national retailers such as Lowe's. In addition. They contain low or zero VOCs. it is a rapidly renewable material. bamboo. VOCs will continue to release etc. Because bamboo matures fast and regenerates without replanting. socially countertops. visit fsc.environmentally responsible. including Sherwin-Williams and YOLO Colorhouse (www.yolocolorhouse. leading to poor indoor air quality. Even after the paint has dried and the smell has faded. which is technically not a wood but a grass. Water-based stains are also available and are a great alternative to the traditional.

require little maintenance and have a longer lifespan than conventional methods. They drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 6) GEOTHERMAL HEATING: A geothermal heating system uses Earth's ability to store heat in the ground. cooling and water delivery.S. ENERGY STAR® is a program through the U. Department of Energy that helps identify and promote energy-efficient products and practices. .5) ENERGY STAR RATED APPLIANCES: Photo above courtesy of Bosch: All Bosch washers. reducing the average yearly utility bill by as much as 30%. Although these systems do cost 2-3 times more than conventional systems. including major appliances. protecting the environment. and therefore create less air pollution. for more information. these systems are more durable. This method differs from a conventional furnace by transferring heat rather than producing heat. Just a few feet below the surface. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. These products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines and use substantially less energy for heating. Visit energystar. home electronics and lighting. Geothermal systems are extremely environmentally friendly because they create little to no air pollution and are a renewable energy source. homeowners will save money in the long run. The signifying blue Energy Star label covers more than 50 product categories. They also save consumers an abundance of money by operating more efficiently. Using a heat pump. seeing anywhere from 30-70% annual utility savings. the ground will stay an annual average temperature of 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the local climate. refrigerators and dishwashers are Energy Star certified. heat is moved from the ground to the house in the winter and then removed from the house and put back into the ground in the summer.

Your body has its own filtration device. This. and the payoff for a cleaner indoor air quality. For more information. especially for allergy and asthma of airborne particles from your home. In steps your home's filtration device.7) AIR FILTRATION DEVICES: The EPA estimates that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. . they also reduce environmental waste because the filters do not need to be discarded and replaced like standard filters do. including allergens. Because of this. but many particles in the air. are so small they are able to get into your lungs and cause illnesses. please visit toolbase. And not only do these filters offer a healthier home. the air filtration device used in your home is central to you and your family's health. Many filters for HVAC units on the market today are created to clean these smaller particles from the air. trapping even the tiniest allergens with greater efficiency than the standard 1" thick filters. offsets the minimal amount of ozone these filters release into the environment. One such unit is the TRANE CleanEffects™ system that claims to remove and trane. and that families spend the majority of their time indoors.

Tankless water heaters provide a much more efficient option by heating water only as it is needed. For more information on the energy savings and usage guidelines. whether you're needing hot water or not. and the heater shuts off automatically when the supply is closed. depending on the size of your home and family. Photo courtesy of Sage Homebuilders. or you can install two or more separate units to handle different appliances if . "Whole House" types are available. This is an abundant waste of energy and money. visit tanklesswaterheaterguide. The water is heated quickly and delivered at a steady rate for as long as it is needed. It is essential to find one that will be able to withstand your home's demands.8) TANKLESS WATER HEATERS: In addition to conserving energy and money. Traditional tank water heaters continuously heat the water they hold. 24 hours every day. as they can be wallmounted whereas tanks can require up to 16 square feet of floor space. tankless water heaters save up to 90% space versus traditional tank heaters. Several types and sizes of tankless water heaters are available on the market today. Tankless water heaters are also extremely compact when compared to tank heaters.

It seems not much thought is given to leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or taking an hour-long shower. liquids (#1) need less water to flush than solids (#2). American homes are notorious for wasting water. . These designs look and act like standard toilets but are able to reduce water consumption by providing the right amount of water for the specific task. Therefore. dual flush toilets can reduce a family's annual water consumption as much as 60%. Since the majority of bathroom visits are for #1.9 gallons of water. our wastefulness is becoming more apparent.6 gallons of water. and one button for a #2 flush that uses the standard 1. these toilets incorporate one button for a #1 flush that uses approximately 0.9) DUAL-FLUSH TOILETS: The Aquia™ Dual Flush Toilet from Toto®will significantly reduce the amount of water your home uses. However. Clearly. One product set to combat this is the dual-flush toilet. with the eco-friendly trends of today.

durable and environmentally friendly. Beautiful. fireplace surrounds. vanities. Also. tiling. and Vetrazzo®. highly heat resilient and does not need to be resealed. bottles. they generally contain no VOCs. countertops. it doesn't get much better than incorporating a once wasted consumer product and putting it to a brilliant use again. functional pieces that can be used as flooring. Photo courtesy of enviroglasproducts.10) RECYCLED GLASS COUNTERTOPS: This countertop is made exclusively from recycled glass from EnviroGLAS® and was designed for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. using recycled glass countertops has a huge advantage over granite and marble because the material does not need to be quarried. including IceStone®. is less porous. . are producing household necessities made completely of recycled glass. What's more to ask for? Several companies committed to a sustainable environment. etc. Discarded glass from windshields. etc. plate windows. are turned into Available in every sparkling color imaginable. EnviroGLAS®. backsplashes. In a green home.