Green Home Building - GrassRoots Builders
Green Home Building is the way to go?
In the United States, buildings
39 percent of total energy use
12 percent of the total water consumption
68 percent of total electricity consumption
38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions
The built environment has a vast
impact on the natural environment, human health, and the
economy. By adopting green building strategies, we can
maximize both economic and environmental performance.
plans and solutions for companies on how to sustainably
conduct their business. Environmental, Social and
are the focuses for the development of sustainability
plans. With the
onset of climate change and diminishing resources, having
a plan on how your business will proceed forward with a
minimal environmental footprint while benefiting the community
will be what separates the companies that remain
The reason for building greener homes is
really quite important. We need to live more lightly on
the earth, because the degradation of our environment is
compromising not only our survival, but the survival of
most other living beings on the planet. We can no longer
ignore the impact we have on the earth's ecosystems. The
way we live, the choices we make in providing for our
needs, will have an enormous influence on the quality of
life of those who will follow us. Now is the time to take
responsibility for the consequences of our life styles! -
Green construction methods can be
integrated into buildings at any stage, from design and
construction, to renovation and deconstruction. However,
the most significant benefits can be obtained if the
design and construction team takes an integrated approach
from the earliest stages of a building project.
Index Of Green Terms
Plants that reliably grow well in a given habitat with
minimal attention from humans in the form of winter
protection, pest protection, water irrigation, or
fertilization once root systems are established in the
soil. Adapted plants are considered to be low maintenance
but not invasive. See also, native plants, invasive
A device installed on sink faucets to reduce their water
use and the energy needed to heat water. Faucet aerators,
coupled with low-flow shower heads, can reduce your home's
water use by 50%. If an aerator is already installed on
your faucet, it will have its rated flow imprinted on the
side. This should read 2.75 gpm (gallons per minute) or
Plant material such as trees, grasses and crops that can
be converted to heat energy to produce electricity.
Wastewater generated from toilets and kitchen sinks that
contains high levels of bacterial pollutant. See also,
Borate is used as a wood preservative that is non-toxic
to humans but highly toxic for wood-boring insects like
The man-made creation of or alterations to a specific
area, including its natural resources. On a home site,
this includes everything that has been disturbed during
The portion of the site where construction can occur.
When used in density calculations, the calculation for
buildable land excludes public streets and other public
rights of way, land occupied by non-residential
structures, public parks, and land excluded from
residential development by law.
A measure of an individual's, family's, community's,
company's, industry's, product's or service's overall
contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
into the atmosphere. It takes into account energy use,
transportation methods and other means of emitting carbon.
A number of carbon calculators have been created to
estimate carbon footprints, including one from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
Achieving an overall neutral (zero) total carbon release,
brought about by balancing the amount of carbon released
with the amount sequestered. It is typically achieved by
reducing energy use and obtaining energy from renewable
sources combined with offsetting remaining emissions
through such means as carbon offsets.
The act of mitigating one's carbon emissions, often
purchased through a carbon offset provider that uses the
money for carbon-sequestering activities including tree
planting, renewable energy, energy conservation and
The surface area on a roof that captures rainwater for
direction into a rainwater harvesting system.
Hydrocarbons that deplete the stratospheric ozone layer.
The variation of the average temperatures, rainfall and
other measures of global or regional climate over time,
whether caused by natural processes, humanity's influence
or a combination of both.
A product consisting of wood or plant particles or fibers
bonded together by a synthetic resin or binder. Examples
include plywood, particle-board, OSB, MDF, composite door
Materials and construction methods used in roads,
driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and other hard
surfaces, which perform to reduce the absorption,
retention and emittance of solar heat, thus minimizing
urban heat island effect. Techniques to achieve cool
pavements include the use of coloration, materials,
porosity and other processes that promote solar
reflectivity and cooling through augmented air filtration
The controlled admission of natural light into a space
through glazing with the intent of reducing or
eliminating electric lighting. By utilizing solar light,
daylighting creates a stimulating and productive
environment for building occupants.
Drip irrigation system
An irrigation system that slowly applies water to the
root system of plants to maximize transpiration while
minimizing wasted water and topsoil runoff. Drip
irrigation usually involves a network of pipes and valves
that rest on the soil or underground at the root zone.
A toilet with two flush volumes. The normal flush rate is
designed for solid waste, and the reduced flush rate is
for liquid waste. Well-designed dual-flush toilets meet
the requirements of ASME A112.19.14, and must be labeled
as such in the product literature (e.g. user manual).
The amount of energy required to manufacture and
transport a product, material or service. For example,
culinary water's embodied energy includes the energy
required for pumping and transporting the water from its
source, the treatment process, and delivery to homes and
The output of greenhouse gases and other pollutants from
mechanical, industrial, transportation or other processes.
Maximizing, or at least increasing, the ratio between
productive output and energy use.
"Geothermal" literally means "earth heat."
It is often used to describe two different types of
alternative energy source. "True" geothermal
energy is less commonly used. It draws on energy
generated in the earth's core, about 4,000 miles below
the surface, via steam and hot water produced inside the
earth to heat buildings or generate electricity. More
common are geothermal heating and cooling systems that
capitalize on the relatively constant temperature of the
ground to transfer heat. These systems don't actually use
the geothermal energy generated deep within the earth;
instead, they use a heat-transfer liquid to move heat
from a few feet below ground into a house during cold
months, and from the house to the ground during hot
A gas in the atmosphere that traps some of the sun's heat
and preventing it from escaping into space. Greenhouse
gases are vital for making the Earth habitable, but
increasing greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
Greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide,
methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.
Wastewater generated from domestic processes such as
washing dishes, laundry and bathing. Greywater makes up
50-80% of residential wastewater. Greywater can be used
for irrigation, reducing water waste. See also,
Heat island effect
The incidence of higher air and surface temperatures
caused by solar absorption and re-emission from roads,
buildings and other structures. See also, cool pavements.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing)
An extremely effective air filter that removes nearly all
A heating or cooling system that relies on the
circulation of water as the heat-transfer medium. A
typical example is a boiler with hot water circulated
Refrigerants used in building equipment that deplete the
stratospheric ozone layer, but to a lesser extent than
A site that is largely located within an existing
community. For the purposes of LEED for Homes credits, an
infill site is defined as having at least 75% of its
perimeter bordering land that has been previously
Defined by Executive Order 13112 as an alien
species whose introduction does or is likely to cause
economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Not all non-native species are considered invasive.
Invasive species differ by region, and can be identified
through local and state agencies. The U.S. government has
created a list of regional agencies is provided. See also,
adapted plants, native plants.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating
System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for
the design, construction, and operation of high-performance
green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators
the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable
impact on their buildings performance. LEED
promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by
recognizing performance in five key areas of human and
environmental health: sustainable site development, water
savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and
indoor environmental quality.
Irrigation system with small sprinklers and micro-jets or
drippers designed to apply small volumes of water. The
sprinklers and micro-jets are installed within a few
centimeters of the ground, while drippers are laid on or
Plants that have evolved within their own ecological
habitats, and are not invasive within their own native
ranges. Native plants provide food and shelter to
indigenous wildlife, stabilize shorelines and fields, etc.,
growing in balance with surrounding plant and animal
species. See also, adapted plants, invasive species.
A solar power technology that uses solar cells or solar
photovoltaic arrays to convert light from the sun
directly into electricity.
Post-consumer recycled content
Material used and then recycled by consumers. This is
distinguished from by-products of the manufacturing
process that are recycled (pre-consumer recycling).
Water suitable for drinking, generally supplied by the
municipal water systems.
Swales (low tracts of land that water flows to) with
vegetation designed to absorb rain water in ways that
reduce stress on storm drains and replenish ground water.
The collection, reprocessing, marketing and use of
materials that were diverted or recovered from the solid
A measure of thermal resistance (the number of watts that
will be lost per square meter at a given temperature
difference). The inverse of U value (i.e., R=1/U).
A device that collects energy from the sun and converts
it into electricity or heat.
Solar window screens
A mesh screen that is used to block insects as well as
light and heat from the sun.
The practice of managing forest resources to meet the
long-term forest product needs of humans while
maintaining the biodiversity of forested landscapes. The
primary goal is to restore, enhance and sustain a full
range of forest valueseconomic, social and
Tankless water heater
Tankless water heaters heat water as it flows through the
device. They do not retain any water internally except
for what is in the heat exchanger coil. Tankless heaters
are often installed throughout a household at more than
one point-of-use, or larger models may still be used to
provide all the hot water requirements for an entire
house. The chief advantages of tankless water heaters are
a continuous flow of hot water and energy savings (as
compared to a limited flow of continuously heating hot
water from conventional tank water heaters).
The thermal enclosure created by the building exterior
and insulation. Improving the thermal envelope is one of
the most important aspects to creating an energy
U value (U factor)
A measure (often used for windows) of thermal
conductivity that is the inverse of R value. A lower U
value means a more energy efficient window.
A roof partially or fully covered by vegetation. By
creating roofs with a vegetated layer, the roof can
counter-act the heat island effect as well as provide
additional insulation and cooling during the summer.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Carbon compounds that participate in atmospheric
photochemical reactions (excluding carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides and
carbonates, and ammonium carbonate). The compounds
vaporize (become a gas) at normal room temperatures.
Interior mats designed to reduce dust and debris. Walk-off
mats should be placed at the entrances and allow for a
few strides on the mat to be most effective.
Garden Tool Ideas
EPA has finalized a new emission control program to
reduce hydrocarbon emissions from small spark-ignition
engines by about 35 percent. The new exhaust emissions
standards will take effect in 2011 or 2012, depending on
the size of the engine. The final rule also includes new
standards to reduce evaporative emissions from these fuel
systems. These standards will reduce the harmful health
effects of ozone and carbon monoxide from these engines.
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