What is green building?

Also known as green construction, ecofriendly, or sustainable building. Green buildings are designed, constructed, operated and maintained with an environmental climate friendly distinction. Green construction captures value and cost savings while positively impacting resources and climate change.

Using resource efficiently throughout the entire buildings life cycle. Preserving natural resources, improving quality of life, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Green buildings are constructed by knowledgeable, certified green contractors. Greencontractors.com are the critical link, utilizing established, and constantly evolving new green building techniques, that can be used to construct new buildings, or renovate existing convention brown buildings, into energy/water efficient buildings. Green buildings are constructed/renovated to an established certified green building certification. Current green certifications are: Leed, Energy Star, Earth craft, Breeam, Green Globes, Green building standard, Net Zero, and many international green certifications.

What are the components of green building?

Starting with sustainable concept design, selection of green building materials, selected green certification, position and siting of the new building on the individual unique lot. The sustainable architect designs the energy/water efficiency concepts, primary blueprints for the certified green contactor to begin construction of the certified green building. Each project is custom designed, using a multitude of selected components, green building materials, and energy efficient designs. Critical decisions may include: installing geothermal, maximum solar panel exposure, greywater recycling, and cost efficient green building materials.

Energy / water efficiency

The number one consumer buying concern, the monthly cost of ownership, is effected by utility and water consumption. For residential homes usually 2k annually. Green building using design cost efficiency, reduces energy/water consumption by a MININUM OF 30% for the life cycle of the building! This is accomplished by green contractors  installing extra/high performance insulation in the attic and exterior walls. Thereby creating an enhanced thermal barrier reducing heating/air conditioning load. Reducing the need for fossil fuels. Installing high performance heating, air conditioning and hot water heater. Sealing all  HVAC ducts throughout the building. Dual or triple pane exterior windows. Adding geothermal, solar, or wind power with local/national tax incentives/rebates  to lower the instillation cost.

Installing water efficient shower heads, faucets, and low flow toilets. On site greywater recycling systems to reuse water for outside irrigation lawns/gardens.

Green building materials

Lumber from certified forests, bamboo, recycled building materials. recycled stone and metal. High performance concrete, Recycling all construction site debris. Permeable driveways/concrete to allow rainwater absorption to the local aquafer. Green contractors use carefully  selected green building materials, with lower embodied ecological and environmental burdens.

Indoor air quality

With occupants spending 90% of their time indoors, Indoor air quality is now the second most important green building attribute. With the onslaught of Covid 19, respiratory asthma afflictions, individual’s working from home are now adversely effected by indoor productivity and volatile organic compounds(VOC). Indoor pollutants include: Asbestos, formaldehydes, carbon monoxide, radon, moisture and nitrogen dioxide. Green contractors use low VOC emitting paints, and varnishes. Install high grade indoor air filters, utilizing high performance HVAC indoor air recycling ventilation . Install non toxic zero VOC  carpets. Water intrusion leads to Indoor moisture producing mold and unwanted bacteria growth. Green contractors incorporate: a water vapor barrier to form a tightly sealed building envelope. This reduces/eliminate interior water moisture, combined with high performance HVAC ventilation. Improves indoor air quality(IAQ) which is now scientifically linked to dramatically improved employee productivity. Increasing indoor quality of life.

Operation and life cycle assessment

A building can last more than 100 years. Therefore the life cycle of the building monthly costs can dramatically vary over the decades. Depending on the buildings designated climate zone, Greencontractors.com minimizes these operating costs fluctuations through smart green building construction and ongoing maintenance. Using and documenting selected green building solutions incorporating a life cost analysis of the individual green building.

Monthly maintenance can include: On site greywater recycling, indoor air quality maintenance and on going building smart sensor monitoring, which may include peak energy demand energy storage and monitoring.

What are the benefits of green building?

With the complete failure from national home builders, national media, NAHB, NAR and many other organizations for the last 20 years, to articulate the enhanced value proposition of green building vs old conventional brown building. The additional cost of Green Building is minimal compared to conventional brown building. The additional cost is usually less than 10%. Therefore on a 300k home the additional cost is 3k dollars which will be paid back in less than 3 years. For the entire lifetime of the green home monthly energy/water savings can be 2k annually over the course of a 30 year mortgage which is 60k dollars. On a 300k FHA mortgage the down payment is 3% aka $9,000 dollars. Therefore the financial green premium is returned to the home owner in reduced monthly operating costs. Once the green building is constructed and benchmarked by the knowledgeable green appraiser this additional 10% cost is documented and added to the green addendum, documenting the reduced monthly energy/water maintenance costs on the green appraisal. This increases the documented appraised value of the green home, compared to conventional “brown” construction, which consumes more energy, water and emits more greenhouse gases. Additional benefits are: Indoor homeowner comfort, and improved quality of life from improved indoor air quality(IAQ). Once the green appraisal has been properly assembled, the green certified building is now prepared for a lower interest rate financing using the green mortgage to offset the 10% increase in green building costs.

Green building and climate change

Buildings emit 40% of all green house gases. This is caused by the inefficient burning of fossil fuels.(heating, cooling). Green building which  consumes a minimum of 30% less energy/water than conventional brown buildings, is the easiest and most cost effective path towards aligning with the Paris agreement. Limiting greenhouse gas emissions to under 2 degrees annually. Newly elected Green president Biden’s goal is net zero emissions by 2050...29 years way! Green contractors will have to play a primary role in climate change to meet that goal. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated we can cut 87% of green house gases just by combining energy efficiency with clean electric technology by 2050. Green building is the lowest cost path towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With a buildings life cycle from 40 to 100 years green construction will be a cost effective pillar towards reducing escalating green house gases.

Green contractors are green renovation experts!

With millions of old conventional brown buildings having been constructed over the last 100 years. These existing brown buildings continually emit more greenhouse gases and consume more fossil fuel energy. Nationwide these old brown buildings, are the low hanging fruit and ideal candidates for green contractors to upgrade using sustainable renovation energy/water efficiency techniques. Sustainable  renovation is a key to lower greenhouse gases. As there is no embodied carbon emitted. No new materials to transport from ground up new construction.

The first order of business is to order a HERS score from a certified ecorater This energy audit will help identify all the energy inefficiencies through out the entire building. An ecorater uses specialized diagnostic equipment: Blower door test, infrared camera, smoke test, and HVAC leakage detection. The cost of these energy diagnostic tests are from $300 to $1,000 which can be paid from the proceeds of the green mortgage. The energy rater will then provide the certified green contractor with a list of energy efficiency improvements ranging from the highest return on investment(ROI) to the lowest return on investment. In a typical existing brown building, the items in the most cost efficient order usually are: Seal air leaks around walls, windows, doors, ceilings and floors, with caulk or spray foam. Installing energy efficient CFL or LED lights, installing a programmable smart thermostat, EE hot water heater, upgrading exterior doors to thermal doors, adding attic, crawl space, and exterior wall insulation, changing out shower heads, faucets and  toilets to water efficient fixtures. sealing all HVAC ductwork, installing Energy star appliances, refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. More expensive items include: triple pane windows, solar panels, and geothermal heating. All of these items can be paid for with the lower interest rate green mortgage. Using the green mortgage lower interest rate these EE/water upgrades actually cost the homeowner nothing absolutely zero! Additionally for more savings, you can combine Federal, state and local tax incentives for the more expensive EE/water upgrades. Therefore under this scenario, your old existing  conventional “brown” home turns green. This is the future for existing brown homes, expanding green homes nationwide, and lowering greenhouse gases to achieve net zero by 2050!

As accurately stated above, the National association of Realtors (NAR) lobbies congress to not allow home energy ratings to be included in the MLS listing’s. The NAR falsely states: Adding energy ratings impede the sale of existing brown buildings. Negatively impacting the sale of the building, forcing home sellers/buyers to install costly upgrades. This is why ” The voice of real estate” NAR is promoting false propaganda and all home sellers should be aware of this misguided media. Therefore using a Realtor may not be the the wisest choice for selling your largest asset. Currently 12 cities/states ask for some type of energy information score disclosed during a real estate transaction. In Portland, Oregon disclosing energy scores are mandatory. Potential homebuyers clicked the energy information of the most efficient homes 14% more often. And clicked the least energy efficient homes 23% less often. Critical disclosure of monthly cost of ownership energy/water costs at the time of a real estate transaction is the perfect time to negotiate price and apply for an EEM/green mortgage to offset the EE/water improvements.

What is net zero real estate?

Using the national industry standard HERS scale as a measuring yardstick. The HERS scale  ranges from zero to 150. The lower the Hers score the more energy efficient the home is. The average new home scores a 100 on the HERS scale. In 2019 the average score was 59. A net zero home is at the extreme end of the HERS scale and scores one (1). Zero energy consumption. This means the home produces as much energy on site, as the home consumes. This is the goal of  green building and president elect Biden net zero by 2050. This is accomplished by green contractors installing: high efficiency windows, spray foam insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and home energy storage battery systems. Net zero real estate emits minimal greenhouse gas emissions, which is a key component to carbon neutrality.

Net zero real estate is achievable through continual advancing of green construction techniques by certified green contractors. Net zero homes can be connected to the grid  with an electric meter that spins backwards when the home is producing more energy than it can consume. This excess energy is stored on the electrical grid, and utilized at a later date. Net zero homes can be off grid and utilize on site geothermal heat pumps instead of  fossil fuel furnaces. The building is strategically positioned on the lot for maximum solar panel efficiency. Net zero homes are currently constructed nationwide.

Home values increase $20.00 for every dollar decrease in annual energy bills. Some net zero homes can actually have a negative Hers rating. The home is so efficient producing more energy than the home can consume. The negative Hers rating represents the amount of energy the home is actually putting back through the electrical grid. Each point -1, -2, -15  represents 1% of what a normal home consumes now being returned to the grid. Complete elimination of fossil fuels for net zero homes is now possible. These homes are  called positive energy homes.

What is well building standard?

With individuals spending 90% of their time indoors, The indoor environment now has its own dedicated certification. The Well building standard. Well is a performance based standard for certifying, measuring and monitoring the indoor healthy environment. The well standard is based upon research with the Mayo clinic and the Cleveland clinic. The seven concepts of Well certification are: air, nourishment, mind, comfort. fitness, light, and water. Well certification is available for: multifamily, residential, retail, restaurant, education facilities and commercial kitchens.

There is over 100 different features that can be applied to each Well building certification. Well certifications are based upon achieving performance preconditions, and is administered by a certified well accredited professional (well AP). There is currently 3 levels of well certifications. Silver, gold, and platinum. Each level of certification requires more optimizations, and offers a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Improving productivity, less absenteeism, higher lease rates, and a healthier lifestyle.

Well certification can be combined with Leed certification. Indoor air quality(IAQ) improves productivity over 60% in cognitive tasks vs individuals in conventional “brown buildings”. Cognitive performance improved more than 100%, with 30% fewer headaches and respiratory problems(asthma). Well certified buildings are now over 21 million sq. ft. worldwide, with an aggregate value over 134 billion dollars.

Commercial Green Contractors

With commercial client demand, annual corporate sustainability reports, stakeholders, finance institutions, and sustainable brokers all currently focused on sustainability, ESG scores, Net Zero, Well certification are now seeking to commit to limit carbon emissions. Commercial green contractors are now in high demand to implement these sought after certifications, with 60% of owners now seeking green buildings in 2021. With Energy/water efficiency improvements decreasing monthly expenses by a minimum of 30%, resulting in a higher resale value, faster lease up rates, and improved indoor productivity by more than 100%, green buildings offer marketing advantages, employee recruitment talent acquisition advantages, compared to conventional existing “brown buildings”. Which will come under increased  government regulations  to convert/renovate to a green certification when applying for financing through out their depreciating life cycle.

Existing commercial “brown” buildings can now be retrofitted with a sustainable renovation, achieving a national green certification increasing their appraised value. One sustainable renovation is the Empire state building. Upgraded EE/water features were expected to save 4.4% annually. The actual savings exceeded 5%. EE/water sustainability and selected green certifications are included in tenant green leases. Green leases can reduce energy consumption up to 22%. Green leases are now a recognized financial template to ensure both landlords and tenants both benefit from energy efficient/water, and health cost building reductions. A netzerolease.com can now address individual sub tenant load plugs, HVAC ventilation systems, data system load efficiencies, and building climate emissions. Individual plug load tenant clauses can allocate energy demands to be coordinated and produced on site; Using commercial storage batteries, roof wind turbines, solar systems, and grey water recycling systems. Net zero leases can increase landlords profitability by 17%.

Commercial green property portfolios, green skyscrapers, sophisticated institution property investors, currently use the internet of things(IOT) wireless sensor networks constructed into a buildings: lights, elevators, HVAC systems, across every zone in a building to monitor and optimize systems performance. Analyzing the incoming real time data, the data is collected and monitored to shut down any systems that are not needed, and prioritize all building maintenance tasks. These real time incoming data analytics are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize building management energy consumption, solar indoor transmitted energy, and indoor air level of pollutants. AI management now automatically adjusts the buildings, HVAC and filtering systems. Research indicates spending $40.00 per employee every year on indoor air quality ventilation results in $65oo.00 increase in employee productivity. Sustainable building improvements and real time  analytics increases owners/investors return on investment (ROI) which directly effects the buildings capitalization rate.

Sustainable brokers with their specialized green knowledge, are the perfect intermediary, working with certified green contractors for consultation, advising, and preparation of  all documents of a sustainable green building. Experts in the commercial green appraisal addendum, communicating and documenting all selected upgraded green certifications. Comfortable and able to communicate: the intrinsic  increased value of green certifications, climate change carbon emissions, and available commercial green financing.

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