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Green Building Guide Benefit Summary
Strategy Benefits
A. Community Planning and Design
1 Orient Homes on E/W Axis for Solar Access Reduces the need for energy and lowers utility bills.
2 Orient Living Rooms and Porches to Streets and Public Spaces Fosters community living.
3 Build Mixed Use, Residential/Commercial Creates walkable communities, reduces smog and automobile use.
4 Design for Diverse Family Types Opens housing market to wider range of buyers.
5 Provide Mother-in-Law Home Above Garages Creates more affordable housing.
6 Build within 1 Mile of Public Transit Hub Reduces dependence on automobiles and reduces smog.
7 Minimize Street Widths Slows traffic.
8 Locate Buildings to Preserve Open Space and Wildlife Habitat Preserves habitats, wetlands.
B. Building Site Design
1 Recycle Job Site Construction and Demolition Waste Reduces pressure on landfills, saves money by reducing landfill fees,and provides raw materials for future building products.
2 Donate Unused Materials Reduces landfill deposits, helps local charitable organizations. Donations may be tax deductible.
3 Protect Native Soil Reduces storm runoff, fertilizer and pesticide requirements, improves water quality and conserves irrigation water.
4 Minimize Disruption of Existing Plants and Trees Helps prevent soil erosion, maintains existing sources of natural cooling, diverts waste from landfills, and adds a unique character to the community.
5 Implement Construction Site Storm water Practices Minimizes erosion, water pollution, and protects the waterways.
6 Protect Water Quality with Landscape Design Features Reduces the volume of polluted water flowing into rivers or the ocean.
7 Design Resource-Efficient Landscapes and Gardens Helps conserve water, reduces use of chemicals, creates healthier soil and plants.
Reuse Materials or Use Recycled Content Materials for Landscape Areas Conserves natural resources and strengthens markets for recycled materials.
9 Install High Efficiency Drip Irrigation Systems Reduces landscape water use and lowers water costs.
10 Provide for On-Site Water Catchment/Retention Reduces the need to use treated, potable water for lawns and gardens.
C. Foundation
1 Incorporate Aerated Concrete The closed cellular structure reduces the amount of concrete needed and contributes to a higher insulating value.
2 Use Clay Bricks Sustainable material that is low maintenance, has a long life cycle and its thermal mass helps reduce energy costs.
3 Build To a Low Energy Building Standards Zero-energy building standards reduces the need for heating and cooling.
4 Reuse Form Boards Saves money and conserves resources as solid sawn lumber is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce.
5 Use Recycled Content Aggregate Saves money, natural resources and energy.
6 Insulate Foundation/Slab Before Backfill Reduces energy loss and utility bills by minimizing heat loss.
7 Use Aluminum Forms Reduces wood use, and despite higher initial cost, will pay for themselves quickly.
8 Install Rigid Foam, Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) ICFs are not subject to rot and results in a better insulated foundation.
D. Plumbing
1 Insulate Hot and Cold Water Pipes Saves energy, water, and reduces water heating costs.
2 Install Flow Reducers in Faucets and Showerheads Saves water and is a low cost option.
3 Install Ultra-Low-Flush Toilets Saves water.
4 Install Chlorine Filter on Showerhead Reduces chlorine absorbed by skin.
5 Install Tankless Water Heater or Under Sink Instant Hot Water System Saves energy, is often quicker and more reliable.
6 Pre-Plumb for Graywater Conversion Cuts down on the use of potable water for outside irrigation and lawn watering.
7 Install Water Filtration Units at Building Point of Entry (POE) and at Faucets (POU) Reduces contaminants in water.
8 Install On-Demand Hot Water Circulation Pump Deliver hot water quicker to fixture, saving water and energy.
9 Install Rain Barrels or Water Cistern System Rain-catching systems saves resources and reduces pollution from storm water runoff.
E. Insulation
1 Upgrade Wall and Ceiling Insulation to Exceed Title 24 Requirements Lowers utility bills, improves comfort, decreases heating and cooling needs and makes home quieter.
2 Install Recycled Content, Formaldehyde-Free Fiberglass Insulation Reduces indoor air quality problems due to formaldehyde binders, and can contain up to 30% recycled glass.
3 Use Advanced Infiltration Reduction Practices Reduces drafts, and makes home more energy-efficient.
4 Use Cellulose Insulation Increases energy-efficiency, uses recycled materials and contains no formaldehyde.
5 Use Natural Insulation Such as Cork. Excellent Insulating Properties, Recyclable, Rapidly Renewable and Environmentally Preferred Product.
F. Renewable Energy and Roofing
1 Pre-Plumb for Solar Water Heating Saves money should a solar system be installed in the future.
2 Install Solar Water System Reduces the use of gas or electricity and pay back in as little as seven years.
3 Pre-Wire for Future Photovoltaic Installation Allows installation of PV system in the future.
4 Install Photovoltaic (PV) Panels Decreases reliance on conventional power plants.
5 Install Solar (PV) Walkway Lights Reduces the need for grid-provided electricity.
6 Select Safe and Durable Roofing Tiles Such as Clay, Concrete or Slate Reduces landfill deposits, saves money on replacement costs and saves non renewable resources such as oil.
7 Install Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing Keeps the whole home cooler by reducing heat build-up in attic spaces.
G. Flooring
1 Select FSC or SFI Certified Wood Flooring Assures the long-term availability of woods while protecting ancient, old-growth forests.
2 Use Rapidly Renewable Flooring Materials Reduces demand for old-growth hardwood.
3 Use Recycled Content Ceramic Tiles Uses recycled content materials and is easy to maintain.
4 Install Natural Linoleum in Place of Vinyl Flooring Reduces exposure to toxins, is more durable and also healthier for occupants and installers.
5 Use Exposed Concrete as Finished Floor Eliminates the need for additional flooring materials, is easy to maintain and very durable.
6 Install Recycled Fiber Content Carpet That Does Not Contain Adhesives or Flyash. Saves on non-renewable resources such as oil, better indoor air quality and diverts waste from landfills.
7 Install Natural Fiber Carpet Such as Wool Insulates room, it regulates humidity, it is recyclable, also rapidly renewable and an environmentally preferable product.
8 Use Recycled or Reclaimed Wood Materials Saves old growth forests and diverts wood from landfills.
H. Indoor Air Quality and Finishes
1 Install Whole House Vacuum System Expels dust outside the house, improving indoor air quality.
2 Use Low/No-VOC and Formaldehyde-Free Paint Improves indoor air quality, reduces smog, and is healthier for installers and occupants.
3 Use Low VOC, Water-Based Wood Finishes Reduces smog and is healthier for installers and occupants.
4 Use Solvent-Free Adhesives Improves indoor air quality, and are healthier for occupants and installers.
5 Substitute Particleboard with Formaldehyde-Free Materials Reduces formaldehyde and chemical exposure to occupants.
6 Use Exterior Grade Plywood for Interior Uses Reduces formaldehyde exposure to occupants.
7 Use Formaldehyde-Free MDF/HDF and Materials Improves indoor air quality
8 Seal all Exposed Particleboard or MDF Reduces exposure of harmful emissions to occupants.
9 Use Third Party Certified Solid Wood Products Such as FSC, SFI and PEFC Reduces Exposure to Chemicals, Assures the long-term availability of precious woods and protects ancient old-growth forests.
10 Use Finger-Jointed Wood or Recycled Formaldehyde-Free Content Trim Uses material more effectively, saves money and resources, and is straighter and more stable than conventional clear wood.
I. Structural Frame
1 Substitute Solid Sawn Lumber with Engineered Lumber Reduces demand for virgin lumber, is stronger, straighter, and more durable.
2 Use FSC Certified Wood for Framing Guarantees long-term availability of precious woods.
3 Use Wood I-Joists for Floors and Ceilings Uses 50% less wood fiber, will not twist, warp or split, stronger and lighter than 2x10s or 2x12s and can span greater distances.
4 Use Steel Interior Web Trusses Eliminate waste. Reduce the pressure on old growth forests.
5 Design Energy Heels on Trusses 6" or More Allows for full insulation around the house, saving energy and money.
6 Use Formaldehyde Free Plywood or Strawboard for Subfloor and Sheathing Reduces the need for large diameter old-growth trees.
7 Use Finger-Jointed Studs Uses recycled content materials, is straighter and stronger than solid sawn studs, and eliminates crooked walls, thereby reducing material waste.
8 Use Engineered Studs for Vertical Application Engineered studs are straighter, and will not deform, twist, split or warp. They save wood by using small laminated pieces.
9 Use Either Aluminum or Steel for Joists and I- Beams Abundant materials that are often from recycled sources, saves forests from being clear cutting and which reduces land erosion.
10 Use Recycled-Content Steel Studs for Interior Framing Steel reduces the need for wood and provides strong interior walls which gives us long term availability of precious woods while protecting ancient, old-growth forests.
11 Use Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for Walls/Roof Reduces infiltration relative to frame construction, is energy-efficient, provides excellent soundproofing, is erected quickly and saves wood by eliminating much of the conventional framing lumber.
12 Apply Advanced Framing Techniques Makes the home more energy efficient, saves wood and construction costs. It also allows for a higher percentage of the wall to be insulated reducing frame conduction heat loss.
13 Use Reclaimed Lumber Reduces resource consumption and landfill deposits, and is often of higher quality than new lumber.
J. Exterior Finish
1 Use Sustainable Decking Materials Contains recycled content materials, is more durable and reduces demand for old-growth timbers.
2 Use Treated Wood that Does Not Contain Chromium or Arsenic Reduces exposure to chromium and arsenic, which are harmful, particularly to children who play on structures built with treated wood.
3 Install House Wrap under Siding Diverts water away from openings and protects the home from mold.
4 Use Alternative Siding Materials Such as Stone, Clay, Brick Last longer, is fire-resistant, and reduces maintenance costs.
K. Electrical
1 Install Mercury Free Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes Bulbs (LEDs) Lowers energy bills and reduces need for energy production.
2 Install Insulation-Compatible Recessed Lighting Fixtures for CFLs or LEDs Reduces the amount of heat loss/gain.
3 Install Automated Lighting Controls Reduces need for energy and lowers energy bills.
4 Install High-Efficiency Ceiling Fans with LEDs Reduces the need for air conditioning.
L. Appliances
1 Use ENERGY STAR® Dishwasher and Appliances Reduces water and energy use, and lowers utility bills.
2 Use Horizontal Axis Washing Machine Uses less water and energy than conventional top loading washers.
3 Use Energy-Efficient Refrigerator Reduces energy and can save over 10% on utility bill.
4 Install Built-In Recycling Center Makes it easy and convenient to recycle.
M. Windows and Doors
1 Install Energy Star Qualified Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors Increases energy-efficiency, and provides greater comfort.
2 Use Windows and Doors with Low-E Glass Reflects infrared light and ultra violet light, keeps light rays from entering the building damaging and fading interior elements.
3 Use Windows and Doors with Double or Triple Pane Glass Gives better insulation, impact resistance and reduces energy usage.
4 Install Doors That Are Well Insulated and Reduce Leakage. Use less energy and reduce costs.
N. Natural Heating and Cooling
1 Incorporate Passive Solar Heating Reduces heating requirements by 30-50%, saves energy and money.
2 Use Lighter Colored Reflective Roofing Reduces heat island effect by reflecting heat which keeps the building cooler and reduces energy usage.
3 Plant Deciduous Shade Trees on the West and South Sides of the Home Reduce summer air-conditioning costs while providing numerous benefits to the environment.
4 Install Overhangs or Awnings Over South Facing Windows Increases shading and reduces heat entering the building.
O. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
1 Use Duct Mastic on all Duct Joints Improves indoor air quality, and keeps the homes more comfortable.
2 Install Ductwork within Conditioned Space Reduces energy loss and improves occupant comfort.
3 Vent Range Hood to the Outside Improves indoor air quality.
4 Clean all Ducts Before Occupancy Reduces dust around the house after occupancy.
5 Install ERV or HRV Attic Ventilation Systems Increases comfort and reduces air conditioning use.
6 Install Solar Powered Whole House Fan Reduces electricity usage, and moves large volumes of air to achieve comfort at higher temperatures without air conditioning.
7 Install Sealed Combustion Furnaces and Hot Water Heaters Improves indoor air quality, reduces the danger of carbon monoxide contamination.
8 Install Geothermal Heat Pump Saves money and energy, and reduces peak load problems.
9 Install Split Air Conditioning System with NON-HCFC Refrigerants Reduces costs by having a ductless system and eliminates depletion of the ozone layer.
10 Install 90% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or Greater Furnace Reduces air emissions, costs less to operate, and saves natural resources.
11 Install Ducts That are Insulated With Formaldehyde-Free Insulation Reduces energy costs and Improves efficiency.
12 Install HEPA Filters with UV Bulbs Filtration System Improves air quality and reduces mold and other pollutants in the building.

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