Nancy Roberts Realty LLC

Green New Construction: What to Look For

by Nancy Roberts Realty LLC 10/10/2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There are multiple trends in green home building these days, so much so that it can create confusion as to what a green home actually is. People might claim that their home is sustainable without actually qualifying how. We'll look at the parameters and how to identify an environmentally-friendly home that works for you.

What Is Green New Construction?

A green home is one that was built to be sustainable. This doesn't necessarily mean zero-waste, in that the building is reusing every possible resource. Green homes use responsibly sourced materials that are environmentally friendly or recycled.

Admittedly, this definition is still fairly vague. There are no set standards as to what a green home is, but all green construction follows the same basic goals of conserving energy and water while promoting better air quality.

Today, homeowners might be eligible for local, state, or federal tax breaks for incorporating green technology into their homes. If you were thinking of building a green home, this could be a significant help in affording the cost of construction.

What Are Some Examples of Green New Construction?

New construction is often the only option for people when it comes to sustainable homes. While retrofits are popular in many areas of the country, remodeling is sometimes impossible based on when the home was built, its configurations or the materials used. For instance, a home laden with asbestos is unlikely to be eligible for a green retrofit.;

Instead, buyers look to new homes that make the most of available technology.

  • Heating/Cooling
    This might mean the home is built with a solar-panel roof or uses a geothermal HVAC system. Both of these sustainable solutions make use of our natural environment (e.g., the sun, the Earth's core), thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and electricity.
  • Recycled Materials
    Glass bottles can be turned into bricks, old jeans can make for great insulation and shed bark can be made into siding. These are just a few examples of recycled materials being used in green homebuilding. So while you might not spot someone shredding denim on a construction site, you may notice that the new materials look different from their traditional counterparts.
  • Glass
    Inventions like smart glass and low-e glass were designed to absorb heat in the winter and reflect it in the summer. While smart glass is still primarily in development, the idea is that it can use Wi-Fi to monitor the body heat within the room. It can then distribute heat without a homeowner having to adjust the thermostat.
  • Roof
    If you notice that the roofing materials of a home look a little different, it might be because it's a cool roof. These use a type of reflective paint that can lower the temperature absorption of a roof by 50 degrees. Considering your roof can reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the right conditions, a cool roof can lower not just the temperature in your home, but the temperature of an entire urban area. Because cities are often plagued by smog, all the absorbed heat from roofs can become trapped under the carbon layer. By reducing the saturation of the roof, green home technology helps to stop the problem in its tracks.
  • Going Local
    Sometimes green homes are just those that use local materials. Some popular eco-friendly materials such as bamboo still require a large energy expenditure for transport around the world. To that end, more producers are thinking of how to adapt these materials in local markets in order to increase sustainability.

How to Spot a Green New Construction Build

Spotting a green new home isn't always easy. You might just think that the cool roof is a new design or that the low-e glass is regular glass. Other things, like solar panels, are easier to identify. Most builders/developers advertise use of green materials and methodologies, so you may be able to glean this information from signage or other marketing. When in doubt, you can always inquire with the company itself to learn more about their practices.