For those of us who are lucky enough to live in Highlands or Cashiers, protecting the natural beauty of the area is high on our priority list.
“Green building” is the latest media buzz about the construction industry. News spots or magazine articles usually focus on insulated windows, high-efficiency furnaces, roof-mounted solar panels, or recycled-content flooring, however building “green” is a far more complex issue than that portrayed in the media.
Certainly, those products provide measurable benefits in terms of energy savings and improved use of natural resources, but genuine green building is much more complex. A green builder uses a systematic approach to design, construction, and on-going operational durability in which the sum of the benefits are far greater than the individual components. A green builder also knows how to personalize the green building approach to each homebuyer’s needs and budget, carefully balancing the value that the client places on the benefits of green building as opposed to other choices available for new home construction.
It is true that all homes (and all buildings) leave an environmental “footprint.” The materials builders use in new construction use natural resources, such as trees and metal ores, even oil. The important goals of green building are to reduce the amount of natural resources required to build a house, and then to lessen the amount of energy used by the house. Energy efficiency over the life of the house further reduces the natural resources needed to produce electricity and natural gas.
To achieve those goals, look for building materials, products, and systems that make the most or best use of every resource harvested while also performing better than traditional products. For example, an engineered beam uses smaller, fast-growing trees. Twice as much of each log can be used to make an engineered beam as compared with a comparably sized “glue-lam” beam created in a saw mill. An engineered beam can also span longer, open spaces and resist warp better. A house that is free of even the smallest gaps (often caused by warping) does not waste energy.
Various green building certification programs are now available to help builders create more sustainable and resource-efficient homes. With a systematic approach to green or sustainable building, a new home can be built that not only leaves as small an environmental footprint as possible, but also delivers convenience, comfort, safety, and a high level of value.
This article was contributed to the Meadows Mountain Realty Blog by Zac Koenig of Koenig Homebuilders in Highlands, North Carolina. If you want to see the beauty of a Koenig home, check out this listing at 90 Creekwood Court in Highlands Cove. If you are looking for the perfect spot to build your “green” new home, contact the Meadows Mountain Realty Team at 828-526-1717 or by email at [email protected].