With concerns about global warming and other environmental threats at an all-time high, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to make their construction projects eco-friendly. Luckily, whether you’re adding a low-cost addition onto an existing structure or creating an entirely new edifice, there are doable steps you can take to make your project “green.”
Tim Ellis, of T.W. Ellis, LLC, a construction company in Bel Air that builds, inspects, and certifies green buildings, offers these tips for making sure your next remodel/redesign project is as sustainable and cost-effective as possible:
• Build to a recognized standard. “We use the NAHB National Green Building Standard,” says Ellis. “It is a list of building practices that allows you to certify new construction, as well as remodeling projects. You can go to www.nahbgreen.org to find out more about the green standard. The site even offers a ‘scoring tool,’ which you can use to gauge the energy efficiency and eco-friendly status of your project as you progress through building.”
• Focus on improving energy and water efficiency, as well as indoor-air quality. These steps could include such provisions as purchasing a certified energy-efficient water heater, refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher; installing a heat pump on the furnace and even on fireplaces; or adding an additional heating source, like a pellet stove that burns recycled fuel. Whatever you do, be careful to insulate your construction thoroughly and consider adding a filtration system in both water and air conductors.
• Take advantage of incentives. If you wish to move even farther into fuel efficiency, check out the availability of grants from the Environmental Protection Agency and other government departments for the purchase of things like solar panels.
• Rethink the notion that green equals expensive. “By implementing green practices, projects can actually be built less expensively than with traditional building methods,” says Ellis. Construction and supply companies are increasingly aware of the public's desire to build green and are cooperating with one another to make doing so more affordable.
Contact T.W. Ellis at www.twellis.com for more information on cost-effective and eco-friendly construction.