Green buildings are more energy efficient and provide greater value then traditional homes. The appeal of sustainable housing was highlighted in the 2009 McGraw Hill Construction report on the Green Home Consumer, which shows that green homes are generally secure from price erosion. Although 2009 was a slow year, green building bucked the trend by posting substantial growth.
At the beginning of the year, the Earth Advantage Institute, a leading nonprofit green building resource that has certified more than 11,000 sustainable homes, published its top ten green building trends in 2010.
1. Custom and web-based display panels that show real-time home energy use, and even real-time energy use by individual appliances.
2. More accurate energy rating systems for homes and office spaces has caught the attention of energy agencies and legislators around the country.
3. Building information modeling (BIM) software, (the continued evolution of CAD software for building design) has produced new add-on tools with increasingly accurate algorithms for energy modeling as well as embedded energy properties for many materials and features. This will prove instrumental in predicting building performance. BIM developers will soon be offering more affordable packages aimed at smaller firms and individual builders.
4. Lenders and insurers have come to see green homes and buildings as better for their bottom line and are working to get new reduced-rate loan products, insurance packages, and metrics into place. Lenders and insurers are realizing green home and building owners are more responsible, place higher value on maintenance and lower operating costs, and are less likely to default.
5. "Rightsizing" of homes due to the understanding that a larger home no longer translates into greater equity. Energy prices are expected to rise over time and this makes smaller more energy efficient homes a better value.
6. Eco-districts that encourage the creation of low-impact communities where residents have access to most services and supplies within walking or biking distance.
7. Water conservation to reduce residential water use which accounts for more than half of the publicly supplied water in the US. The EPA's voluntary WaterSense specification for new homes reduces water use by about 20 percent compared to a conventional new home. Water is an essential resource and water scarcity is a growing problem.
8. Documenting, measuring, and reducing greenhouse gas creation in building materials and processes. Carbon Calculation for buildings that can help homeowners reduce their carbon emissions (homes account for approximately half of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere).
9. Net zero buildings generate more energy than it uses over the course of a year, as a result of relatively small size, extreme efficiencies and onsite renewable energy sources.
10. Sustainable building education will supply new learning opportunities, not just for designers and builders, but for the entire chain of professionals involved in the building industry, from real estate to finance, and insurance.
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Green School Buildings Health and Performance Benefits Part 2
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