December 06, 2007 by Steven Castle
The U.S. Green Building Council recently introduced its Green Home Guide web site for homeowners, homebuyers, renters, and others looking for information on green building or green home remodeling.
The site is a good resource on green living, with some basic tips for homeowners and information on the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings for homes. LEED for homes certification is based on the efficient use of energy and water, efficient building materials and construction practices, land use, and indoor air quality.
In other words, a green home isn’t just about energy efficiency. It’s about saving water, using sustainable materials, recycling construction materials, and using products that don’t vent volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory ailments.
According to the USGBC, green homes use 40 percent less energy than comparable standard homes. And construction of a green home generates 50 percent to 90 percent less waste. Green homes are expected to make up 10 percent of new home construction by 2010, up from 2 percent in 2005, according to the 2006 McGraw-Hill Construction Residential Green Building SmartMarket Report. There are currently 350 LEED-certified homes in the United States and more than 10,000 in the LEED certification process, says the USGBC.
LEED Home certification is just for new homes, but the USGBC and the American Society of Interior Designers’ Foundation have partnered on the development of Regreen renovation guidelines to be made available in March 2008. Public comment is open via the website until Dec. 10. There are 70 other regional green home programs in the United States.
The Green Home Guide web site also contains information on federal and regional state tax breaks and rebates for home energy efficiency and green investments, as well as green home profiles. Don’t forget to check out the site’s link to the EPA Carbon Calculator to figure your home’s carbon footprint. (Dig out your electric and fuel bills first.) I am proud to say my own house of four generates slightly less carbon than a typical house of two people—and my family still has work to do to save energy and be greener!
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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