Building a new home is an exciting prospect. It allows you to design your abode the way you want, choose the materials, and satisfy your wish list. If part of your dream happens to be about having an ecologically-friendly, energy-efficient building, you’ll be happy to know that a lot of green building products and processes are now more accessible than ever.
Though it might seem like a “new” concept, Foley’s standard building practices have always leveraged the latest approaches in eco-friendly green construction. In fact, many of the homes we built, even decades ago, would easily qualify as green buildings even by today’s standards.
What is Eco-Friendly Home Building All About?
Building a green home is a many-layered approach. Some homeowners go all-in, while others will choose the methods and materials that make the most sense to them, within their budget.
There are aspects of the home’s design and layout to consider. Materials, windows, appliances, and HVAC all contribute to the efficiency of the result.
Loosely defined, green construction is about using construction materials and methods that are respectful of the environment. The philosophy extends to every aspect of planning and building, maximizing efficiency, and minimizing waste. It often starts before we even break ground on the property.
For example, we might choose to design the home to spare older trees or natural landscape features. During demolition and construction, we always attempt to recycle debris so we can keep as much as possible out of the landfill.
We recycle building materials through local non-profits who might resell some products to fund their programs or make the items available to lower-income homeowners either free or at low cost. Occasionally, recycling and reusing materials or appliances bring a tax advantage or rebate, which we then pass along to our customers.
Eco-Friendly, Green Building Materials and Design
We generally define green building materials as quality materials that have excellent longevity, are ethically manufactured, and energy-efficient. Choosing these types of materials ensures that your home construction has integrity and is going to last a long time.
When combined with green design, eco-friendly materials can help you save money on energy bills and home maintenance as well. Design is a critical aspect; however, as it can make all the difference in how efficiently your home retains and distributes heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
For example, by building a home with a southern aspect, we take advantage of the sunshine, both for natural light (less need to turn on lights) and for evenly distributed home comfort. Combined with energy-rated windows, doors, and building materials, your home will hold its temperature more evenly, so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work so hard. The result is lower energy costs, superior home comfort, and less demand on your systems.
Proper insulation is also a vital aspect of green building. The less energy that can escape from the home, the greener it will be. By some estimates, installing new insulation can reduce the energy load as much as 15 to 20 percent.
Attics, especially, are a great place to start. High-efficiency windows and doors, and house wraps are also excellent ideas.
What’s a House Wrap?
House wraps (also known as WRB) are an excellent way to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Generally, it is a material (paper, board, or fabric) that covers the sheathing of the house. Depending on the siding you choose, there are several grades to consider.
Top-rated WRB products provide both a moisture and air barrier, but the ideal wrap depends on what type of siding we are installing. Our team has been using WRB for decades and can advise you of the best possible options for your needs.
Tax Advantages and Credits
The State of Virginia offers full or partial property tax exemptions for green residential buildings. Depending on your situation and the area you live in, you may also be eligible for weatherization assistance, a programmable thermostat rebate, or rebates on appliances, windows, doors, and other items.
The Federal government issues tax credits on green home improvements. These include high-efficiency windows, insulation, water heaters, and HVAC equipment. Solar panels, geothermal, and small wind systems are also subject to a tax rebate of up to ten percent of the total cost.
Going Green with Foley
If you are getting ready for a remodel, renovation, or thinking about a new custom home, it’s well worth it to go green all the way. In addition to the cost savings, you will enjoy superior home comfort and the peace of mind that you’ll get knowing you’re in tune with the planet.
Reach out today, and let’s talk about what you have in mind.