It’s a lot easier being green these days, home builders agree, as environment-friendly materials become widely available and homeowners want to do their part to help Mother Nature. Some local experts discuss innovations on the local building scene.
• Many municipalities are requiring natural sources of water retention, like planning rain gardens. These provide a natural way to utilize storm water and slow down the velocity of its run-off, preventing it from causing erosion and flooding.
• Consider replacing windows and doors—those have a greater effect on energy efficiency than almost anything else.
• See if there are opportunities to increase the insulation factor in locations like the attic.
• Convert from incandescent bulbs to the new neon lights that are becoming more and more popular.
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• Use top-of-the-line windows and add more insulation to exterior walls. In windows, look for a good energy rating; Jeld-Wen is one good brand.
• High-efficiency heating and cooling equipment is key—look for a high energy rating, which is going to make the equipment more efficient and, in the long run, cost less money.
• Bamboo floors are a good example of environment-friendly flooring. Bamboo matures in the forest every five or 10 years, making it an easily sustainable crop, whereas oak products take a minimum of 50 years to mature.
• With many green products, the customer has to be willing to pay a little more, so he should plan on staying in the home long enough to reap the benefits.