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  - - Featured Articles - - : Building Articles
Work with a Builder Who Offers Smart Choices for Green Homes with Sustainable, Energy-Saving, Cost Effective Features

Incorporate outdoor living spaces to take advantage of summer breezes for comfort and fun.
Work with your builder to use products that are energy efficient - ranging from roofs, walls, floors to appliances - for incorporation into your new, greener home.

See how building green is the way to a sustainable future for our environment and health.
Building green is the way to a sustainable future for our environment and health. Builders are using products that are energy efficient, ranging from roofs, walls, floors to appliances.

Beginning with the structure itself, homes can incorporate fully screened outdoor sleeping quarters for a wonderful night's sleep in the natural cool of the night, making it unnecessary to pay the higher costs of additional air conditioning. Another natural and delightful solution is the addition of a fully functional outdoor to use, and without heating up your house during the hot summer months.

For winter months, passive solar can be designed into the plan, saving thousands of dollars in heating bills over the years with a significant increase in comfort for the lucky homeowners.*

For year round savings and convenience, skylights can be installed to provided natural lighting. Solar Tubes, installed from the roof to the interior ceiling, provide natural lighting all day through a reflective tube. These same features can use energy-efficient lighting to brighten the dark evenings. This approach saves energy and provides a more natural light.

Insulated Concrete Forms, structural building blocks to greener living.
Walls built with insulated concrete forms, forms for poured concrete walls, that stay in place as a permanent part of the wall assembly, create a post-and-beam grid that is extremely energy efficient, durable, and strong.

Using an appropriate spray foam insulation helps to create a healthier, quieter and more energy efficient home for a lifetime of savings, and is also recommended for individuals who are chemically sensitive. It contains no formaldehyde and does not emit any detectable emissions after you move into your new home. Improving indoor air quality is a goal of many new home buyers, especially for those suffering from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems and this method offers the ability to completely seal the building envelope, eliminating random air leakage, and reducing the penetration of dust, allergens and pollutants. A controlled indoor environment also makes it possible to design your heating and cooling equipment to maximize air quality.

Metal roofing classified as "cool color metal roofs" can help reduce energy consumption by lowering cooling loads. The reflective materials used in these roofs can help save up to 40% in heating and cooling energy costs, as reported by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Make sure the roofing meets Energy Star solar reflectivity criteria for steep slope roofs and are 100% recyclable. There is a wide variety of color choices, and you'll be sure to find just the one you want.

Flooring can be selected from sustainable materials like natural cork, and bamboo. The harvesting of natural cork is done without killing the tree and is a 100% renewable resource, naturally hop-allergenic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. It's also a very comfortable surface. Bamboo matures in only five to seven years, and is considered a renewable resource.

Rainwater harvesting is today's smart choice, and is installed by using metal roofing and rainwater collection gutters, fiberglass and polypropylene tanks with UV light sanitation systems for drinkable water. If you have a roof area of 2400 square feet and a yearly rainfall of about 32 inches, you can collect almost 45,000 gallons of rainwater in a typical year according to the Austin Energy Corp. February 2007.

Energy Star rated appliances and gas tankless hot water heaters with on-demand hot water will save lots of money (and energy). Water-conserving toilets are available that perform well and use less water.

Planning a "Green" home is smart, cost-effective, and offers new exciting choices every day. Find a builder who will work with you to incorporate the features that will make your home efficient and environmentally-friendly...which translates to less expense and more comfort for you.

--  Article contributed by Diane Therrien  --

in Central Texas