Tag Archive | "green building"

Hire a LEED Certified Contractor

Why You Should Hire a LEED Certified Contractor

This guest post is by Lindsay Mineo of Palatin Remodeling, Inc.

What LEED is and what it means for you

Green is everywhere in home improvement and remodeling and without a regulatory system to define and regulate “green” promises a homeowner can find themselves the victim of misleading advertising. LEED is an acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and it is an internationally recognized standard developed by the US Green Building Council in 2000 (and will update its standards in2012). LEED certification is designed to be the body that dictates who can provide legitimately green home improvement and construction to homeowners and businesses, separating the pros from the general contracting pool and providing a way for consumers to avoid the practice of “greenwashing” with some contractors.

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Why choose LEED?

The goal of a LEED certified project is to create a difference in energy and green materials that is measurable in dollars and figures, providing consumers with actual environmental and living solutions. A LEED certified building is independently certified by a third party to be environmentally sustainable, including water wise and energy efficient. A LEED project isn’t just green for the planet, it’s designed to be sustainable for the occupants who will save significantly in utility bills and experience all the conveniences of a high performance green building. Plus, LEED certified buildings have far better indoor air quality than other buildings, making living in and using the buildings safer for the occupants.

What makes a contractor LEED certified?

Hiring a LEED certified contractor means you’re getting an individual or company that has been independently certified in environmentally sustainable building practices by a third party. LEED certified contractors have passed a test created and designed by USGBC and several LEED committees that prepares them for the challenges associated with green building. They’ve studied the different factors of green building and green remodeling, reviewed case studies, and prepared themselves for designing cost effective and successful plans. Courses can be taken online, with print materials and study guides, or even in a classroom.

LEED certified contractors are not only encouraged to take continuing education courses after receiving certification, they’re required to submit educational activities to the US Green Building Institute in order to maintain their credential. This requirement helps LEED certified contractors to stay on top of the changing standards and to always have the latest case studies and techniques available to draw on so their clients will have a top notch contractor regardless of when he or she was certified.

Benefits of hiring a LEED certified contractor

Depending on the scope of the project and the end use of the building, a LEED certified building can end up costing less money than a traditionally built structure. Operationally, a LEED certified building, especially one at the Gold or Platinum levels, will cost far less to run than any other building, and the cost of building a LEED certified home can be comparable to regular construction.

Even if you’re planning a renovation to an existing home, which will most likely not be eligible for LEED certification, working with a LEED certified contractor can be the best resource for green renovation at the lowest cost. While all contractors should be trying to design the most cost effective plan, a LEED certified contractor will have a unique understanding of the benefits of many green products, materials and designs and can help create your vision at a great up front and overall cost.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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How Your Company Can Go Green

How Your Company Can Go Green Right Now

This guest post is by Lindsay Mineo of Palatin Remodeling, Inc.

Making environmentally friendly choices in your office today

Going green can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different companies, but at the basic core is the desire to do business in a way that is more sustainable and returns resources back to the planet. For a long time the notion of assisting the environment and making a profit have been mutually exclusive ideas, but now that the concept has been shattered more companies are wondering how to take the first steps. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways your company can “go green” and be more sustainable right now. Yes, even as you’re sitting there reading this, you can make a change in your company. After all, one sustainable change begets another and before you know it you’re making waves.

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Reducing office resources

Most offices go through a lot of resources without even realizing it. Even though much of our work is done online or at least at a computer (and many companies communicate with other offices entirely electronically), we can still expend a large amount of paper products and other resources without even realizing it. Whether you go through a lot of Post-It notes to give yourself or your coworkers little reminders, accidentally print the whole document when all you needed was the first page, or regularly print outlines for office meetings when everyone brings their laptops anyway, reducing or eliminating your paper and tangible resources can be done today. Rather than just tossing those accidentally printed papers in the trash (or recycling bin, if your company uses one), turn them over and utilize the back side for your scrap paper. This can give paper another chance before being trashed, and will cut down on your use of Post-Its, saving the company a little money, too.

Reducing energy in the office

Even small offices use a ton of energy for daily tasks, but many people don’t realize that energy consumption continues after 5 o’clock. Set your office thermostat to have a constant, comfortable temperature during working hours. One problem with offices, especially during the summer, is that they act like freezers, forcing employees to come to work with a coat even though it’s 80 degrees outside. Set the thermostat to a more realistic temperature, like 75 degrees, during the day; this still keeps the office cool and your air conditioner won’t have to work quite so hard and your energy bills won’t be quite so high. Keep the office refrigerator set at a medium level rather than full blast to cut down on energy consumption and keep foods fresher (your salad could wilt from freezing in the back of the fridge!). Remember to turn off your computers and monitors at the end of the day and turn off all lights when the room or office isn’t in use. You could also consider installing a motion detector on your light switches and putting in energy efficient bulbs when the old ones burn out.

Recycle!

If your company isn’t recycling already, get a program in place. Even if you think you’re recycling because you have individual recycling bins for paper, make sure the cleaning crew is actually recycling them and not just lumping all the bins together. You can start by setting up labeled boxes or bins and sending out an email (forget memos!) to everyone that plastic bottles, aluminum cans and paper will now be individually collected. It might take a little while for everyone to catch on and stop instinctively tossing the soda can into the trash, but even a little bit helps. Then, contact the owner of the building and ask about getting a building-wide recycling program started. Chances are the building owner or landlord will be interested in doing so, especially if he or she knows tenants are already interested in participating. If the owner or landlord isn’t interested in recycling (shame on them!), try talking directly with the cleaning crew. They might already be sorting cans and bottles out to recycle on their own to collect extra cash and might be able to help out with paper products.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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Five Green Considerations During Construction

Five Green Considerations During Construction

This is a guest post by Josh of PlumberSurplus.com.

There are so many decisions that should be considered before construction can begin on a new site. Taking into consideration the building’s effects on the surrounding environment, its energy usage and the projected indoor air quality is worth the time and money. By committing to building green from the outset, construction can be less costly and the general maintenance costs are usually lower as well. Most importantly, implementing a few strategies for greener construction can significantly reduce the collective environmental impact of the building and its construction and encourage its sustainability.

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1. Site Development

Not only minimizing the destruction of the natural landscape should be considered in green construction, reducing resource consumption and even augmenting the resource supply can be done throughout the construction phase. Even the placement of the building in relation to true north and south can affect the energy efficiency of the completed building.

2. Construction Materials

Materials used for construction have made great strides in becoming more environmentally friendly. Recycled materials, recovered materials and those made from sustainable resources are the best choices for green construction. Reducing construction waste should also be taken into consideration. Having well-designed plans for construction often eliminates much waste.

3.Energy Efficiency

The quality of building materials used contributes greatly to the efficiency of a structure in regards to energy usage. Using high-efficiency materials are essential in green construction. Renewable energy sources harnessed on site with the addition of a cogeneration system creates a sustainable energy system with little to no negative environmental consequences.

4. Water Efficiency

Many water systems available reuse wastewater in toilets and in other water applications such as irrigation. Including a recycling water system, point-of-use water filtration, and low-flow faucets and toilets all work to reduce water usage.

5. Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality can be set by refraining from building materials known to emit volatile organic compounds. Careful selection of building materials will lower or possibly eliminate the pollution caused by VOCs used during construction. Proper ventilation is also necessary to maintain optimal indoor air quality. Stale air is full of impurities that can be removed will adequate ventilation. Moisture control is also essential for creating a quality indoor environment. Moisture feeds molds and other bacteria that are harmful to the health of the building’s occupants. Wood flooring has been found to be effective as an additional moisture control measure.

None of the considerations mentioned above are unattainable in any construction project. Every aspect of a building should be careful researched and meticulously planned to have the greatest positive effect on the surrounding environment. If you have any other tips make sure to leave them in the comments.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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