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Published on October 22nd, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


What Makes a Home Green?

Not to be confused with a greenhouse, green homes are becoming more and more popular as society begins to accept sustainable living as a responsibility to preserving our planet for future generations.  So if a green home is not a glass house where plants are grown, what exactly is it?

A green home can be defined as an energy efficient house that uses sustainable resources and avoids toxic materials, thus providing a healthy living environment.  Green homes take advantage of nature’s processes in order to use less energy, consume less water, and produce less waste.  All aspects of the structure are taken into consideration: insulation, window placement for natural lighting, air circulation, and the use of energy efficient appliances and lighting all contribute to a green home.

Not anyone can claim that they live in a green home however.  Builders must adhere to standards whenever they embark on new construction.  There are standards set for safety, severe weather, fire, and a host of other topics.  One standard that is increasingly popular is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System from the U.S. Green Building Council.  Although this standard was originally intended for commercial construction, its popularity has led to the design of a LEED for homes rating system to be put in place as well.

LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that promotes the design and construction of high performance "green" homes.  In order to obtain one of the four levels of LEED Green Building Certification ( Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum), the performance in five key areas of sustainability is taken into consideration: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.  Costs for having a building certified can range from $500 to $3,000.

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