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Although sustainable building techniques may cost more up front, they tend to save money over time, with lower operating costs and numerous benefits to the environment. Biggerstaff can work with clients on Ògreen creativeÓ materials and costs, and can also recommend quality referrals to the best innovative green-building specialists in our area.
Some simple steps can be taken to maximize the natural elements and protect the surrounding landscapes during a building project, including:
- Locating the structure in order to minimize damage and blend into the surrounding landscape
- Locating the structure to let in the proper amount of sunlight, providing natural light and heat
The many other forms of sustainable building practices are generally broken down into these three categories:
Renewable energy sources are becoming more popular in today’s construction, and saving energy can be as simple as using Energy Star rated appliances and lighting systems. Here are some sustainable energy solutions that clients may choose to incorporate into their building projects.
- Use of Energy Star appliances
- Geothermal, solar, and/or wind powered energy sources
- Energy efficient lighting & heating systems with quality controls to manage usage
- Positioning build to incorporate as much natural light as possible
Sustainable building materials can range from recycled products to sustainably harvested materials.
Here are some of the more popular green materials often incorporated into builds:
- Reclaimed lumber
- Sustainably harvested materials, including bamboo, paperstone, glass, and many more
- Reused & recycled content
- Zero or low off-gassing materials
Other considerations include:
- Using locally produced products as much as possible.
- Using materials that are produced and shipped within the U.S. decreases the travel miles and therefore the emissions associated with it.
Today’s innovative and efficient plumbing systems offer ways to reduce the household consumption of water and incorporate natural water sources into your building project.
Here are a few techniques for water efficiency:
- Dual plumbing systems can be designed to use non-potable water for some plumbing purposes, and potable water for others
- Low-flush toilets, conservative showerheads and other water saving devices save huge amounts of water over their lifetime.
- Rainwater recovered with rain barrels can be used for irrigation
- While washing clothes, set washer on cold water use.