What Makes a Building Green?
A green building, also known as a sustainable building, is a structure that is designed, built, renovated, operated, or reused in an ecological and resource-efficient manner. Green buildings are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health, using energy, water, and other resources more efficiently and/or reducing the overall impact to the environment. At Pecoy Homes, whether it is new construction, a renovation or a complete deconstruction, we are green certified, we have a Certified HERS Rater in-house, we have the experience and we are well equipped to make a building as Green as you'd like it.
What are the Basics of a Green Build?
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) considers the following elements as part of their Green Building Standard:
- Lot Design, Preparation and Development
- Resource Efficiency
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Operation, Maintenance and Building Owner Education
The method of rating how green a build is, is generally determined by The Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The HERS standards are developed and maintained by RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network), a not-for-profit association of rating providers, state and national government agencies, academics, research institutes, energy companies, manufacturers and others. HERS ratings are determined by qualified raters who are working under the supervision of RESNET-accredited HERS Providers.
A HERS rating is an index number that expresses the energy efficiency of a home. It is determined by dividing the projected energy consumption of the home by the projected energy consumption of a reference home and multiplying by 100. The reference home is a home of the same dimensions in the same climate zone that is built according to the standards of the model energy code and has a HERS index of 100. A home with a HERS index of 0 is called a Zero Energy Home and to achieve this performance, a home must be equipped with sufficient renewable power generation sources (e.g. wind, solar water heating) to equal the home's energy usage for heating, cooling, hot water, lights and appliances. Because it is an objective, standardized measure, the HERS index of a home is used in determining eligibility for many program certifications such as ENERGY STAR.
What are the Benefits to a Green Build or Remodel?
Green builds are environmentally responsible, but our job is to help you determine what aspects of green building may be right for you. Initially, a green build may be more costly up front, but in many cases will actualize cost savings through lower operating costs over the life of the building. Other benefits like increased comfort, productivity and reducing pollution are harder to quantify, but are still elements to consider in a green build or remodel. When deciding whether certain aspects of green building are beneficial or right for you, it is our job to educate you on products and processes and to provide you with a cost analysis explaining the benefits and the overall time and rate of return.
What are some of the ways that Pecoy Homes applies Green Building Practices?
One of the best ways to build green is to stay local. By using local wood and recycled products not only do we cut down on the amount of fossil fuels and pollutants in the air, we also help the local economy. We use products that are sustainable or made of recycled materials. Vinyl siding, PVC and floor joists made with recycled wood are just some of the examples. You can frame a house using techniques that utilize less wood without compromising the structural integrity of the building. A smart, well thought-out and thorough design is the best way to start green. You know the exact amount and type of materials you need. When you approach a build with that level of design, you create much less waste during the construction phase. We have built homes with something as advanced as a geothermal heating system and as simple as meeting the ENERGY STAR rating. We are a Certified Green Builder and have in-house capabilities to perform HERS ratings. We can build or remodel a home to any level of "greenness" based on our client's wishes.
Where can I find Green Pecoy Homes?
Pecoy Homes are located throughout Western Massachusetts and Northern and Central Connecticut. Because the construction of our standard build is so sound, a newly constructed Pecoy Home will generally be greener than most existing homes on the market. The level of "green" customization you personally choose will largely depend on your desired lifestyle, taste and budget.
We offer aspects of green building or remodeling at any location. Currently, one of our featured green building locations is Village Hill in Northampton, MA. The homes at Village Hill are designed with compact and efficient floor plans to minimize your carbon footprint and we are proud to say that we are being extra responsible by ensuring that the HERS rating on each of our homes at Village Hill will exceed the Town's stretch code. Additionally, Village Hill is situated within walking distance to downtown Northampton so all of your needs can be met without operating a vehicle.