Residential Construction: Green DesignPrint Friendly Page
Designing a resource-efficient home is an integrative process. It involves site selection and evaluation, building design, construction, operation, maintenance, and deconstruction. All parties including contractors, architects, landscape designers, owners, engineers, government agencies, suppliers, and utility companies should be involved in planning and design for the most effective integration of components. A green home designs waste and pollution out of the process by combining site characteristics, materials, mechanical systems, and design elements to maximize resources.
Home design should consider:
Reasons to Change:
Green building practices reduce negative environmental impacts, while using the features of the site to enhance human comfort and health. Preserving site resources and conserving energy and materials in construction and building operations are important benefits. Planning can greatly reduce construction, utility, and maintenance costs.
If you have reservations about green building, be sure to check out the Top Five Bogus Reasons Not To Build Green, by Doug Seiter. The narrative provides reasons heard during the four years of the Built Green Colorado Program and why they are bogus. The article not only applies to those in Colorado but to builders throughout the nation.
P2 in Action: Pre-Design
Pre-design is the phase in which a site is analyzed for general sustainable characteristics. Incorporating green building practices at this stage can clearly define a green framework. Green design identifies the ecological characteristics of the site and addresses ways to integrate the building with the site. Pre-design issues include:
P2 in Action: Site Analysis
Research and evaluation of physical and cultural characteristics of the site will influence construction plans, and resource efficient technology, systems, and materials. Relevant site characteristics may include:
P2 in Action: Building Design
The building design phase integrates the site, floorplan, building orientation, landscaping, materials, mechanical systems, architectural characteristics, and construction practice guidelines into the optimal green home.
Building design issues typically include the following considerations:
"One of the best ways to minimize the amount (and cost) of building materials required is to keep the size of the home reasonable. With thoughtful design, a small home can be very comfortable, functional and respectful of privacy." City of Austin's Green Builder Program
More information about these issues is available in related sections of this site.