PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology
What is Green Building?
One might argue that "green building" is coming into its glory days in American homebuilding. But in a market as competitive as housing, popular trends can be quickly appropriated--and redefined--to serve all sorts of private interests.
In the absence of a national consensus on what "green" really means, we offer these definitions.
What exactly is a "green building product?"
We're so glad you asked.
A green building product is:
A green building product must meet at least one of the above criteria and be neutral in the other categories.
But using green building products in a home does not necessarily make the building green. No one should consider a poorly insulated house with solar panels, for example, to be a green building.
So what makes a building green?
* A building must meet all of these requirements to be considered green.
But to what degree must a home meet these requirements?
Therein lies the heart of the debate about green building. The short answer: it should meet the requirements of a major green building program.
The greenest of green?
Don't build. Remodel an existing home.
A few words about affordable green construction:
Don't get us started on the problem of McMansions with "sustainable" bamboo flooring. We blanch. (You wouldn't like us when we blanch.)
Green building doesn't have to cost more. Smart green building choices can pay off immediately from substantially reduced utility bills. For example, a $5,800 investment in improving the energy-efficiency of a new home in Orlando, Florida will cost an additional $36 in mortgage costs, but yield $50 a month in energy savings.
Many other green building practices, such as material-saving techniques and design choices, actually reduce the initial price tag. Financial incentives like federal tax credits can help make green even more affordable.
In the long run, building un sustainably is going to cost us much more in energy, healthcare, environmental degradation and even national security.
So if someone tells you that green can't be affordable, don't buy it.
Content updated on 2/27/2008
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Affordable Housing Providers