STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

When Buying a Home or Remodeling, Consider Green Architecture

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
It has been said that the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Perhaps the biggest opportunity to save energy at home takes place before you even move in: the design and construction of your home. Green architecture refers to a methodology of design that incorporates energy-efficiency, water savings, and renewable resources into the building plan. Tools of the trade include window orientation for solar heating, certified sustainable lumber, and insulation, among many others. Go green, and make your building work for you.

Tips & Tricks
Take an active role in the design of your house. If an architect is designing your home, do some research and go to the architect with ideas in hand. The more you know and can participate in the process, the better the result with be.

Do as much as you can. Typically, you will have a long list of features that you would like to include in your new home. Cost constraints and other factors often limit the possibilities. If you can’t do it all, choose the features that will make the biggest impact and go for those. Work with the architect to minimize costs in other areas and find win-win propositions that save energy and water without costing more.

Go for passive solar design. With passive solar design, simply by orienting your house properly, you can dramatically reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your home. Using traditional principles, this technique takes advantages of the suns patterns as they change with time of day and season. Go passive!

Web & Print Resources
General green building information:
www.epa.gov

U.S. Green Building Council and LEED certification:
www.usgbc.org

Find a LEED accredited professional:
www.usgbc.org

Additional green building resources:
www.builditgreen.org
www.coolroofs.org
www.energystar.gov

Fun Facts

In the U.S., buildings account for 39% of total energy use, 12% of the total water consumption, 68% of total electricity consumption, and 38% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Source

Building occupants use 12.2% of the total water consumed in the U.S. per day. Source

On average, Americans spend about 90% or more of their time indoors. Building-related construction and demolition debris totals approximately 136 million tons per year, accounting for nearly 60% of total non-industrial waste generation in the U.S. Source