Things to Consider While Hiring a Green Builder

As an environmentally conscious person are you passionate about implementing green building design for your next project? Then you need to look for a reputed and experienced green builder who’s equally passionate and motivated in coming up with energy efficiency designs. Consider the following points while hiring one:

1. Whether it’s a commercial or residential project, you can hire a well committed architect who relies on the latest technology and is capable of coming up with customized solutions for any project category.

2. The green architect you choose to work with should be able to come up with practical net zero design for your project. He/she must be able to communicate every aspect of construction with clarity and care. You need to hire an individual who can reason well and think independently to give you the desired end result.

3. It’s better to talk with the references they provide to really understand and see for yourself how well the builder executes green building solutions on large or small scale projects.

4. More importantly, the builder must be capable in carefully monitoring the budget and communicate at regular intervals about the project status.

5. It’s good to choose an architect who’s certified by LEED program as their designs and practices are well approved and recognized by the Green Building Council.

A green building approach can turn out to be not just Eco-friendly, but also helps in conserving and producing energy while saving you considerable money on your monthly power bills. On the other hand, a green building will decrease waste production and cut down on pollution. In short, the design will be environmentally efficient and responsible all through the building’s life-cycle. So the right green architect should be able to help you right from siting the right place to designing and construction or renovation of the project. You can choose a company that specializes in offering green building design that smartly addresses any energy consumption issues. A well experienced firm will provide you with a wide range of options to help you in assessing all the available possibilities and choose the best for energy conservation for your industrial or residential projects. They will help you with designing a building that makes effective use of water, energy and various other important resources, while protecting the health of people who live within its premises. The sustainable building design principles can be effectively applied for new construction projects as well as renovation work, so its time you considered it by choosing the right people.

How To Get Your Solar Energy Tax Credit

There are a lot of good reasons to go solar for your home or business. Many Bay Area homeowners have a solar system installed to protect themselves and their families against rising energy rates. While it is difficult to forecast exactly how much electricity costs will rise, or how quickly, one thing is certain – they will continue to go up. Conversely, an investment in solar for your home or business not only decreases or even entirely eliminate monthly electricity costs, it can also increase the property value of a home and lower the operating costs of a business. A third and very important financial incentive is the federal government’s generous solar energy tax credit.

The solar energy tax credit allows a homeowner to reduce the amount of income tax that they would otherwise have to pay the federal government. This credit is good for 30 percent of homeowner’s investment in their solar system, including solar panels, a charge converter, battery, and inverter, but only for the next three years. The credit will drop to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021. After 2021, the solar energy tax credit for residential customers will be eliminated entirely. While there is a chance the credit could be extended, many homeowners considering solar are planning to install their systems within the next few years to take advantage of the credit.

For commercial businesses looking to go more green, they can qualify for up to 70% off with solar tax incentives. Not only will you qualify for a 30% Federal Tax Credit but you can accelerate the depreciation of your solar system over 5 short years. These tax incentives are equivalent to 60%-70% of the system cost, leaving you needing only 3-4 years of energy savings to recover your entire investment.

In addition to the financial benefits of the solar energy tax credit, many people choose to go solar because they feel solar energy is a more environmentally responsible solution. Solar energy is both sustainable and renewable. Solar energy provides a zero-emission way to power buildings, and appliances, heat water, and refuel electric vehicles. The more popular and widespread that rooftop or carport solar panels become, the more they reduce the load on coal-burning power plants.

With buildings accounting for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., going solar can significantly decrease our carbon footprint. A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year-the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually. Going solar is not only a great way to go green, but taking advantage of the solar energy tax credit – before it expires – is a great way to save some green.

3 Reasons to Invest in Eco Friendly Properties

Rewarding yourself with a new house? Why not go green and eco-friendly? It has plenty of benefits, 3 of which are discussed below.

Eco-friendly homes use natural materials during construction

There are many choices of eco-friendly construction materials. They range from recycled wood, half-raw and half-recycled, and those made from dirt, straw, and clay. According to experts, materials of these made contribute less to the greenhouse effect. They trap less of harmful gases while allowing for a freer entry of natural light and air in and out of the house.

Overall, environment-friendly homes are known to exhibit better indoor environment quality. Improved lighting conditions, better air quality, and natural thermal conditions are some of the natural benefits one can get when buying eco-homes.

Eco-friendly homes are also health-friendly

The natural materials used in eco-homes are also health-friendly. This is very beneficial to individuals with health conditions like asthma and other respiratory problems. There have been several studies linking the use of eco-friendly materials in home construction. Significant changes on health conditions were exhibited by individuals who are known asthma patients.

Further studies revealed that the more natural materials used in them help facilitate the flow of cleaner air inside homes. They are also less likely to contain plastic by-products which release toxic substances. These substances are generally linked to carcinogens or substances that contribute to the development of cancer cells.

These days, developers are more aware of the health consequences of the materials they are using when constructing properties. Home buyers just need the proper information to educate or at least warn them that eco-friendly homes are by far among the best choices when health conditions are considered.

Environment-friendly homes are energy-efficient

Today’s thrust in construction of properties gives focus on energy-efficiency. It is a known fact that the earth’s natural resources, from which man depends for water and energy, are becoming fastly depleted. In order to contribute to conservation efforts, eco-friendly houses are designed such that they would not largely depend on non-renewable energy sources.

It is now common to see houses being put on sale that are designed with solar panels. With these, energy consumption is likely reduced to about third as compared to dependency on coal or other non-renewable energy sources for electricity.

Do not just think about yourself, think about Mother Earth too! Living in an environment-friendly house can be one of your unconscious contributions towards nature conservation and protection.

5 Simple Energy Conservation Ideas For Your Home

While most potential home buyers, consider their monthly mortgage payment (including principal, interest, and escrow/ taxes), many, fail to adequately consider other monthly expenses, associated with home ownership. Perhaps the most significant one, is the cost of energy – related activities, including electric, and heart. The purpose of this article is not to examine the many alternative heating alternatives, including solar, geo – thermal, etc, but rather, to review some simple steps, one can somewhat easily take, to make their home more energy – efficient, and friendly. Let’s look at 5 simple, basic, energy conservation ideas/ steps.

1. Windows and doors: What is the Energy Efficiency Ratio of your entry doors? What material are they made of? How are they hung? How much air is seeping out, through the spaces created, because of their alignment? Simply, assuring your door has a bottom sweep, and the spaces around the top, and sides, is reduced/ eliminated, will prevent heat escaping in the winter, and air conditioning, escaping during the summer. What type of blinds, or curtains are you using, and are you using them, to let sun in, when it is cold out, while reducing the entry of the heat of the sun, when it is hot? When was the last time you checked your windows, in terms of air – tightness, energy rating, and tinting (if your local climate indicates doing so)?

2. Insulation: Every form of insulation comes with some R rating. This number indicates the amount of insulation, but are you certain, all exterior walls and ceilings are properly insulated? Doing so, might potentially save a considerable amount of unnecessary energy costs.

3. Energy efficient appliances: Certain home appliances, especially refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, have become far more energy – efficient, in recent years. How old are yours? Look at the rating, and it will indicate how much energy a particular appliance might be using. When I recently replaced my refrigerator, the new one was far more efficient (therefore, cost less to run), than my 15 – year old model. Similarly, today’s oil and gas burners and boilers are far more efficient, than they have ever been!

4. Water and toilet: Are there any dripping faucets or toilets that continue to run – on? Eliminate the drips, change faucet heads (especially in the shower), and check the efficiency of your toilets.

5. Lights/ fixtures: Begin by making the effort to turn lights off, when you leave the room! What type of light bulb are you using? Many bulbs today are four, or more times, more efficient (use less energy/ wattage), than older ones. Do a lights and fixtures – review on a regular basis!

These 5 ideas may seem basic and obvious, but you’d be amazed how few people consider these. Unless you like wasting energy, and spending more than you need to, using these simple, conservation methods, will save money, and reduce energy waste.

Green Homes for Sale

If you were looking at real estate ads and saw one that stated “green homes for sale”, you may at first wonder why anyone would a listing stating the color of their home. This is not what this type of ad means. It is just stating that the homes for sale are earth friendly and energy efficient. Green homes for sale are being built in an effort to less the carbon footprints we leave behind.

When you purchase a green home they will contains all or some of the following features that are earth friendly.

• Fiber cement siding
• Alternative power system like wind and solar
• Recycled building insulation
• No VOC stains and paints, which stands for volatile organic compound. It is any compound that is carbon-based and will vaporize at standard room temperatures. Some of the more prevalent ones are formaldehyde, acetone, and methane.
• Solar powered hot water heating

Even if you do not live in a green home, there are things that you can do to increase your energy conservation. It will even help contribute to saving our environment. Making your home a green home can help to reduce global warning and save the homeowner money. It will significantly better the environment and require little effort for the homeowner.

Making a green home

• Instead of using the standard incandescent light bulbs start to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). When you switch to the CFL’s you can save per year over a hundred dollars. You can find these lights in the same aisle as your regular bulbs but they are little more expensive. In the United States, if every house switches the type of light bulbs they were using to CFL’s there would be a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of one trillion pounds.
• Install a thermostat that is programmable-with this type of thermostat the homeowner can program the thermostat so that the air conditioner or heater is off when homeowners are not at home. The programmable thermostat can be programmed so that it will cool or heat your home shortly before the homeowner arrives home. This change could save the homeowner ten percent or more on cooling and heating costs
• Plug air leaks-this will help the homeowner save money and practice conservation. You can do this by installing weather stripping, keep the temperature in your home from rapidly fluctuating, and caulk windows correctly to stop air drafts.
• Energy Star® rated appliances-these reduce the amount of electricity that is needed to operate them so they have less of an impact on the environment. They will also save on your energy bill.