What is the Green Designation and why have one?

Posted Sunday, March 6th, 2011 at 8:08am.

One of the “Hottest” trends in Florida is going “Green”. Builders, architects, businesses, homeowners, towns and cities are all looking to help preserve our environment. There is a growing consumer awareness of the benefits of energy efficient homes, buildings and landscaping.

I decided to extend my education in Real Estate to include the Green Designation because of my interest in the environment. This designation has given me the skills to identify the features of a green-built home and will allow me to help both Buyers and Seller who care about energy efficiency.

This and the fact that I have a native plant nursery just seemed like a great fit!

Native plants and proper placement and design of the landscaping add many benefits and saves resources. Natives are tough, low maintenance, resistant to drought, disease, pets and Florida’s changeable weather. Many are beautiful and attract birds and butterflies.

Going Green suggest that we reduce the size of our lawns because lawns provide little value to wildlife, it limits rainwater absorption, the fertilizers and pesticides runoff into our streams and waterways and don’t forget about that once a week mowing!

Reasons to GO GREEN?

  • Green homes can save you money and protect the eco-systems
  • Energy efficiency save resources
  • Water efficiency saves resources
  • Proper material selection provides for durability and protects resources
  • Indoor environmental quality is healthier

Al Medina, Director of NAR’s Green Designation, said “Living green is about making healthy choices that are also easy on your wallet.”

If you are looking to build your home and “GO GREEN”, be sure to select a builder that is recognized as a EERE; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy or at a minimum uses “Energy Star” appliances. A helpful website to start the search is www.gbci.org/

The GREEN builder will be able to help you with decisions on Site Selection and Site Development to achieve the maximum energy efficiency as possible. Which way the home faces makes a great difference in energy efficiency. Even the selections of deciduous trees and their placement can save you on the air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.

If you are looking to Retrofit, Remodel or Renovate your existing home, you must go to the professionals that are trained and experienced in energy efficiency. The design team has to work with the existing site and structure and have to have the vision that will work for your home.

The challenges of an existing home are:

  • The building envelope- hard to change and costly
  • Orientation of the home
  • Client preference
  • Inner air quality issues
  • Budget
  • Zoning laws and HOA may have limitations

If you are not in the market for a new home or you are not ready for remodeling there are a few things that you can do now to help save on energy.

  • Use CFC light bulbs
  • Weather-strip and caulk doors and windows
  • Buy Energy Star Appliances
  • Install a tankless water heater system
  • Turn water off when brushing teeth
  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucets
  • Attach barrels to gutters for ran water capture
  • Use low-VOC products to reduce air pollution
  • Create a backyard compost to enrich the soil naturally
  • Buy native plants to reduce water needed
  • Use permeable pavers instead of cement walkways
  • Incorporate storm water runoff into landscape design
  • Recycle and reuse

Why GO GREEN? Because by working together to conserve and save, we will all be doing our part to ensure that our natural resources can be enjoyed today and by our future generations.

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