Home building today is vastly different than it was thirty years ago. Better building codes, health standards and materials produce houses with greater energy efficiency and comfort. Many new home builders today concentrate more on green or eco-friendly materials, better building techniques and using recycled and sustainable materials. Re- using building materials saves the energy involved in manufacturing new ones. It also keeps serviceable items out of the landfills. Sometimes an item can be cleaned, refurbished and placed into use such as a stove; other items find new life as something else. A great example of this is using reclaimed flooring, roofing and wall studs to build new furniture.
Materials such as bamboo or cork flooring, stone countertops and carpeting made with natural fibers are leading the way. Wood harvested from certified eco- friendly growing and harvesting methods are chosen over other products. Energy saving appliances help lower bills for the consumer. Energy Star certified appliances are available for nearly every room. Air conditioners, bathroom vents, refrigerators, digital thermostats, washing machines and more carry the certification. Water saving toilets, shower heads, faucets, landscape watering systems and more help to both lower water and energy bills. New construction techniques offer stronger buildings while using less materials overall. For example, using 2-by-6’s for wall framing allows more space for insulation and a stronger wall. Double- wall construction allows even more space for insulation and uses less overall materials. Insulation in energy efficient building has become an exciting field of builder’s specialties. Products with high R-values, made from sustainable materials and affordability allow homeowners to have the most efficient homes ever. Reflective barriers in the attic reflect the UV rays of the sun and keep the attic cooler. Spray foam insulation provides high R-values, has no leaks and will not absorb water, allow mold growth or compress like fiberglass.
HVAC systems today are far more energy efficient than just ten years ago. Units are available with SEER ratings up to 24; far above the current building code requirement of 13. New units are on the market today that hook up to solar panels. This reduces the energy bill by up to 60 percent. Builders who focus on energy efficiency and sustainable products are high in demand. Homeowners wanting to remodel, renovate or build new homes are seeking builders with the skills and techniques to give them an energy efficient home. Many are willing to be placed on waiting lists in order to work with green and eco- friendly builders.