Rebuilding Green

Florida Designer Homes Magazine Renovating & Building “Green” January 2012, Page 44 – 45 Using “green” benchmarking practices in renovating an existing home, via LEED, EnergyStar, REGREEN, and many other innovative words our updated society has breathed our options on.

Call me a hipster with the smart car and reusable bags from Whole Foods or call me a smart homeowner that is thinking ahead for the future. Depending on the condition of the owner’s home, the ability of withholding long-term benefits in comfort, safety and indoor air quality for the family, canines and felines is crucial.

Retrofitting an existing home using “green” benchmarking practices is actually more cost-effective than building a new home. While a newer “green” home is healthier and more efficient, an existing home can go “green” as well. No carbon footprint is added and tax incentives are more efficient.

Due to comprehensive decisions involving sustainable construction planning, there are many local, state and national organizations and government agencies available in advising homeowners or contractors based on their individual goals. Here are some examples of collaborations using one of the highest benchmarking practices on the market for sustainability.

ENERGY STAR, LEED, REGREEN, USGBC all set examples for homes with long-term environmental and energy saving benefits.

ENERGY STAR is a certification for houses and household products supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Conscious decisions supporting these guidelines would save about a third on energy bills. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced without disrupting major household comfort and space.

LEED for Homes allows a professional LEED AP in implementing the highest green standards. This national benchmark for performance can also have a positive impact in future considerations in selling a home the smart way.

The REGREEN program is a residential green remodeling program with training, certification and self-study guides that collaborate with American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

USGBC, which governs all LEED certifications, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in educating the community on transforming the way buildings are built and how they can improve environmentally for the well-being of our future, our society and our children.

The USGBC of South Florida Chapter encompasses at least 1,000 socially-conscious individuals as volunteers. The Chapter consists of five branches from the southern-most point of the Florida Keys to the northern-most point of the Treasure Coast. This group invites top-notch speakers to their educational programs as well as expanding outreach initiatives throughout the East Coast of South Florida.

The act of sustainability is increasing locally and nationally, day by day, all for the betterment of our homes, our community and our environment. There is always help, whether it is setting an example for homes but also in helping enhance the comfort zone of a family in an older home.

Financially and time-wisely, rehabbing a home can be implemented as a positive asset with an improved return on investment. There are professional consultants, online resources and volunteer programs involved in decision-making strategies.  Hiring a LEED-certified architect or contractor and registering your home with USGBC are other alternatives with  tax incentives and long-term benefits.

Please click on above links to resources that will assist in making environmental and energy-conscious decisions in your next renovation or building project.