The Benefits of Green Building

Last week we talked about going green and some ways for you to easily do your part. Many homes, and business are working to go green on a daily basis. And with the building industry striving to established competitive difference and long-term benefits, green building is taking hold in many facets. Some projects aim to go green in every detail – from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and clean-up – while others strive to achieve green features on a more economical level – with energy efficient appliance, fixtures and eco-friendly features. To whatever extent, green building practices are becoming more and more prevalent and important.

Some of the major components of green building include: energy efficiency, water efficiency, the use of environmentally preferred materials and specifications, waste reduction, toxic reduction, air quality and sustainable development. The ones that most people are more familiar with (and are generally more easily achievable) are energy efficiency, water efficiency, and waste reduction. But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers valuable tips and support for all aspects of green building.

Here are some interesting facts, the Environmental Protection Agency, on why it is important to to think green for your next building project:

  • Residential buildings accounted for 20.88% of total US energy consumption in 2005, commercial buildings accounted for approximately 18%
  • By 2025 buildings will account for 75% of the total US electricity consumption – 51% of this is residential buildings
  • The average household in the US spends at least $2,000 on energy bills per year – half of which is spent on heating and cooling
  • In 2008, 20.8% of the US’s carbon dioxide emissions came from residential buildings, 18% came from commercial buildings
  • American uses approximately 100 gallons of water each day – that’s enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses
  • A leaky faucet or toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day
  • In the US, approximately 7.8 billion gallons per day, or 30% of total daily water usage, is devoted to outdoor uses. The majority of this is used for landscaping – a typical suburban lawn consumes 10,000 gallons of water above and beyond rainwater each year.
  • In 2007, the average solid water generation per person was 4.62 pounds per day; the average recycling rate was only 1.54 pounds per person per day