Sustainable Building is a great way to save money and make less of an impact on the environment. Using energy-efficient products in our homes seems to be the smartest bet for healthy living and a sustainable economy, right? All of these new green building initiatives leave us with new questions, though. Is green building really effective? Here are 6 of the most popular green building myths, squashed.
1: Green homes cost more.
Not really. Sustainable building supplies sometimes do cost more than conventional building products, but as technology moves forward, we’re seeing the cost of eco-friendly products become much more affordable. And on top of that, green building always saves money in the long term. Sustainable materials are more efficient, and thus don’t have to be replaced as often. So while initial costs may seem like a lot, green building offers better values when you consider the long term savings.
2: Green homes look weird.
Green homes can look like your home! It’s true; some of the early green buildings didn’t have a focus on design or architecture. The builders’ focus on features for self-sufficiency and lower costs took away from the overall aesthetic of homes. But if you’ve watched 5 seconds of HGTV, you know that now there are tons of options for sustainable building companies and green architectural designs. These days, green homes don’t have to look strange unless you want them to. And let’s be honest, some of the weirdest designs are pretty cool.
3: You can’t make an existing home green.
Wrong! Any home can have sustainable features. Incorporating energy efficient products and making upgrades on insulation, lighting, and solar panels, can make a huge difference without changing the appearance of a home. Upgrading windows, switching to HVAC equipment, sealing air leaks, and installing energy-recovery ventilation equipment are all examples of upgrades that will make a house more energy efficient.
4: Green homes can be too insulated or too tight.
Your breathing ability and air quality depends mostly on mechanical ventilation. Some traditionalists argue that houses need to breathe, and they caution against “too much insulation” and “building too tight.” However, uncontrolled air movement wastes energy, and doesn’t filter air efficiently. Minimizing air leaks and adding insulation helps control air movement to maximize benefits for home owners. To offset any “tightness”, a mechanical ventilation system not only circulates air flow, but also ensures that the air is fresh and filtered.
5: Low-flow toilets don’t work well.
Today’s low-flow toilets work great! At first, when the federal government limited toilets to 1.6 gallons of water per flush, early models of the low-flow toilet didn’t work very well. But neither did the first version of the iPhone, and how many more improved, awesome generations have come out since then? Times have changed, and homeowners now have more options. Today’s low-flow toilets, high-efficiency toilets, and waterless urinals work as well or better than older water-guzzling models. And they save you money every month on your water bill.
6: “Green” is just a passing fad.
Sustainability lasts. Eco-friendly, green, eco-safe- all of these terms are current buzzwords in our society. From kitchen cabinets to skylights to siding, consumers are looking for eco-friendly features for their homes, perhaps in part for the attractiveness of the green trend. However, there is no denying that sustainable houses last longer, have fewer problems, are cheaper to live in and keep people healthier and happier. High energy costs, limited natural resources, awareness of global climate change, better understanding of building science and growing health concerns are all contributing to a lasting sustainable economy. Green is a shortened term for a sustainable movement that will benefit our health, economy, and environment. Who doesn’t want that to last?