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Why Go Green?

There is no doubt we live in a world with an ever-increasing need to live more environmentally friendly lifestyles. We are constantly reminded to “save the planet” and “reduce, reuse, recycle” whenever possible. If you don’t think this applies to you, read on. If you know it applies to you, read on as well. There are countless ways we can do our part to save the environment and protect our precious resources. And as we make the effort, we will be saving money and energy too. So, as you build your new home, do your part to “go green”.

According to the Built Environment Team, the average American household spends about $1900 per year on energy and generates over 26,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in the same amount of time contributing to global warming. Read the following statistics. They will certainly get your attention and leave you asking, “What else can I do to make my home more environmentally friendly?”

  • Conservation agencies recommend planting a tree in your new yard (the bigger the better) or keep as many trees as possible on your building site. Trees suck up and use carbon dioxide making clean air (oxygen) for us to breathe. One big tree cleans up 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. 
  • As suggested by Energy Efficient Home Building, use compact fluorescent light bulbs whenever possible. One of these light bulbs saves 160 carbon dioxide emissions per year. · The Rocky Mountain Institute urges households to turn off unneeded lights saving approximately 376 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. That equates to a savings of about $21.00 per year, per household on the electric bill.
  • Estimates from the International Dark-Sky Association suggest the U.S. wastes 110 billion kilowatt hours or $10.4 billion on inefficient or ineffective lighting every year giving off green house gases that contribute to global warming. The association recommends selecting efficient task lighting and overhead lighting for all the rooms in your new home. Light only what you need and ask yourself if light fixtures are mounted and installed in places where they will be efficient.
  • The U.S. uses 5.8 billion gallons of water for flushing wastes each day reports the Energy Resources Team. Most older toilets use 3.5-5 gallons of water per flush. In your new home, you can greatly reduce water waste by choosing a low-flow toilet (1.6 gallons per flush) or a dual flush toilet (0.8 gallons per flush for liquid waste and 1.6 gallons per flush for solid waste.)
  • The Energy Resources Team recommends using an energy efficient dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand. A fully loaded dishwater requires only 1/6 of the water used during a hand-washing and will save you approximately 230 hours of your time each year.
  • Lowering your water heater temperature to 120 degrees saves 214 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year resulting in a utility savings of $12.12 estimates the Rocky Mountain Institute. Also, they suggest air drying clothing in the summer saving 779 pounds of carbon dioxide and $43.60 annually.

If these surprising facts and figures haven’t convinced you to do your part for the environment while building your new home, maybe you should consider this:

Building a home may be one of the most costly things you do in your lifetime, and it is necessary that you do not cut corners where energy efficiency is concerned. There is financial relief for those who choose to build green.

First, consider an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM). EEMs allow new homeowners to qualify for a larger mortgage with a lower income based upon the expected energy savings for a home built to high energy standards. These standards include:

  • Sealing against air leaks (floors, windows, fireplaces, duct systems, holes for wiring and plumbing, etc.)
  • Installing a properly sized heating and cooling system for the size of your home
  • Installing energy efficient lighting (use compact fluorescent bulbs, timers and motion sensors)
  • Choosing a high-efficiency water heater (select the right size for the number of people in your home, set the temperature to 120 degrees or lower, check energy labels)
  • Installing energy efficient windows (double or triple pane, those filled with argon gas, and those with wood or vinyl frames)
  • Using energy efficient insulation
  • Incorporating energy efficient landscaping (use evergreens for a wind block, plant deciduous trees on the east and west sides of the home)

U.S. residents have another big advantage when building a green home. New homeowners can reduce taxes by making their home as energy efficient as possible. Homeowners are eligible for tax credits when installing geothermal heat pumps, central air conditioning, and heating systems, advanced main circulating fans, hot water boilers, energy efficient windows and more. In 2007 homeowners were eligible for a tax credit up to 10% of the purchase price for qualified energy efficient units. Energy efficient tax credits are designed to give relief to homeowners against rising energy costs. Granting these tax credits is somewhat like giving cash back to responsible customers who purchase energy-saving products. The most generous tax credits are available to those who purchase systems for solar heat, water, and power. Be sure to keep any receipts or bills of sale for the energy efficient purchases you make during construction. If you have any concerns or questions about energy efficient tax credits, consult with your financial advisor.

When you make the decision to build green, you will not only save on utility and energy bills but also you can take advantage of financial incentives like the EEM and energy efficient tax credits. But perhaps the best thing about choosing green home building and energy efficient construction is knowing you have done the right thing for the environment resulting in a comfortable and healthy home your family will enjoy for many years to come.

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

For additional information, please read What is Building Green?

This article brought to you by The HousePlanShop, LLC, the home of the best selling house plans from the best designers!

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