building design

Green building design is the way of the future. Any builder who is not developing green is likely to be left in the dust. Sustainable home designs are healthier for home owners, as well as being money-saving, energy-saving and environment-saving. There are many national organizations working toward the goal of reducing our dependence on energy and reducing our carbon footprint, most notably the US Green Building Council. While it may cost a little more to outfit your home in sustainable materials, experts say you will save in energy expenses, making this a good investment in the long run.

Green interior design lighting is important because light sucks up electricity, generates heat and costs us money. A green lighting designer would tell you that compact fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps, using 80% less energy. “CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescents and normally pay for themselves,” explains David Lee, a 23-year lighting designer with The Lighting Source. Each bulb replaced with a CFL could save you $30 on utility costs, experts say. Of course, since these bulbs contain mercury, disposing of them is just as critical when it comes to green building design. Home Depot stores have orange bins to collect and recycle these bulbs. For those who wish for sunnier lighting color, halogen lights still offer 30-40% energy savings, compared to incandescents, although they are not as good as CFLs.

Many eco-friendly consumers are also looking for green interior design furniture and furnishings too. As you may know, indoor air quality can be affected by mold, moisture, organic compound emissions from paints, and formaldehyde emissions from cabinets and ventilation systems. Some building design materials collect contaminants and dirt as well. When shopping, you will want to avoid phenolic resin derived plastic laminate found on inexpensive furniture. Make sure your wood products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the harvesters followed sustainable building practices. Wool that has not been treated with moth-proofing chemicals is preferable to polyester. Beware of polyurethane foam padding that contains polybrominated diphenol ethers, which are flame retardants.

According to Tucson-based green building consultant Jerry Yudelson, green building design will grow more than 60% in 2009. “We’ve seen cumulative growth in new LEED projects over 60 per cent per year since 2006 — in fact, 80 per cent in 2008 — and there’s no sign that the green wave has crested,” he says. With Barack Obama’s presidency, he anticipates more environment-friendly building practices and home designs.

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