Learn How You Can Get Green Building Grants To Build Green

Even though the concept of global warming seems to be controversial for some, most people will agree that the time has come for people everywhere to be more mindful of the ways our lifestyles affect the environment.

As more and more people are embracing the opportunity to live more ecologically conservative lives, the demand for green building construction is growing. The first pioneering trendsetters who built homes and other buildings which used systems and materials that were less harmful to the environment than the typical home or building often did so for philosophical reasons and had to shoulder the expense of construction themselves.

Nowadays, however, the wisdom in environmentally friendly construction practices is widespread and green building grants are becoming more readily available for people who want to live in a home that produces minimal adverse environmental impact and a cleaner, healthier environment for the family. As an added bonus, these homes are usually very energy efficient so the cost of maintaining them is another attraction.

A growing number of communities are now requiring that new construction and renovations on existing homes be done using energy efficient methods. These same communities offer an excellent array of green building grants and other incentives which help offset the expense of these building methods.

When building green is desired in an area not covered by such legislation, green building grants are available from other sources.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers assistance for finding and applying for green building grants funded by a number of sources. Funding is available at various government agencies chartered to protect the environment, reduce the cost of maintaining a home, and regulating the nation’s energy use.

There are a number of nonprofit philanthropically minded organizations that offer green building grants, too. Look for organizations that focus on the environment and energy consumption for avenues for funding a green building project.

Some commercial lenders and financial institutions also offer special financing for green building projects. Check with your local bank or credit union for sources of green building grants.

Even your local utilities suppliers are likely to offer green building grants and incentives so don’t overlook this potential source of funding, either.

As the current green building trend becomes more requirement than choice, other avenues of funding will surely become available. In the meantime, there are still many sources available for finding green building grants and other financial incentives.

Learn How To Find A Green Builder

While the desire to have a building constructed using green builder techniques is a trend gaining in popularity, the challenge in getting a green home built may begin with finding a qualified green builder in your area.

Green building employs the use of a different set of systems, materials, and techniques than those used in standard construction practices. The people qualified to construct a green building must be thoroughly trained in using these systems, materials, and techniques effectively.

In the United States, green builders have developed a highly organized system of regulatory entities that also provide contact information for their members. In order to join these organizations, the green builder must have clearly documented his or her ability, skill, and knowledge of the green building industry.

Local city and state brotherhoods of builders situated throughout the country will gladly supply a list of their members, too. Local chapters of building trades unions are an excellent source of information.

Building contractors are required to register their businesses or obtain licensing from the state in which they operate. A review of the license holders in your area will likely identify those qualified as green builders.

Real estate trade journals and advertisements clearly identify a green builder from the typical builder. Real estate agents and brokers are another good source of information when researching the right green builder for a particular project.

Real estate development projects designed for green construction only is a rapidly growing trend in the real estate market. Any development offering such a lifestyle will have a green builder as part of the development program.

The architects who design green buildings will have a list of favorite green builder associates they can recommend, too.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed the EnergyStar rating program for identifying buildings that are energy efficient. The green builder associated with individual buildings or approved as government-recognized green builders can be obtained from the EPA.

Anyone who has had a building constructed using green building standards and materials will almost always share their experience proudly with anyone who cares to ask. The very best recommendations come from happy customers who are delighted with their new energy-efficient home that is as healthy and comfortable for the people as it is for the environment.

Find Green Contractors To Help Build Your Dream Home

Almost every aspect of construction can be improved to minimize burden on natural resources when green contractors are included as part of the overall construction plan.

Once architects familiar with green building techniques have designed a building, green contractors, specialists in the individual systems that come together to construct the building, perform the actual work of constructing it. Green contractors employ techniques and materials that help sustain the environment in the most beneficial way possible.

Green contractors specializing in plumbing systems are in high demand due to the increasing incidence of drought being experienced across the country. These specialists employ energy-efficient means of heating and transporting water and of making the best use of recycled wastewater. One example of their work is when rainwater collection systems are used for irrigation instead of relying on public water supplies.

Green contractors specializing in woodwork are used throughout the construction process. Framers can use woods that are not chemically treated or that come from trees not endangered. Whenever possible, green contractors are encouraged to use materials gleaned from the construction site, such as the wood from trees felled to clear the land for the construction site itself.

Green contractors use products that are considered rapidly renewable, such as bamboo, straw, and cork. Wood from forests deemed to be sustainably managed is also allowed in green building.

Finish work done by green contractors for carpentry, cabinetry, and trim work must also be from rapidly renewable sources whenever possible.

In order to be classified as green contractors, painters must use only paints that are made from milk or other organic bases. No toxic substances are allowed.

Stonemasons who are considered green contractors will often use stones, rocks, and pebbles gathered from the construction site or from nearby locations.

In fact, all building materials are best when they come from sources as close to the construction site as possible. The shorter the distance of transport, the less gasoline, and its expense and damage to the environment, the better for everyone.

Another highly desirable practice of green contractors is to recycle used building materials whenever feasible. Demolition companies are a good source of materials that can be recycled, renewed, and reused in green building construction.

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Concern with the health of the global environment and the depletion of natural resources is the driving force behind the growing popularity of the green builders and their environmentally conscious structures around the world.

Green builders are the people in all phases of design, development, and construction of buildings that meet the energy efficient standards as defined by a growing list of regulatory agencies. While many of the major industrial countries have adopted their own standards for green building construction, the standards and goals are similar.

The FirstRate system in Australia focuses on green builders in the residential arena. The scope of its operations are supplemented by the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star rating system.

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One recent project given an outstanding Green Star rating was a renovation of office space in Canberra. Renovation expenses topped $1.7 million but a 75% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and in water use was realized. Eighty percent of the construction materials were recycled.

Canadian incentives for green builders started in 2000 and some provinces are considering making it a requirement that all new homes be constructed using green building technologies.

Although not currently required, green builders in Germany are highly valued. In fact, Berlin’s new Reichstag government building is so environmentally efficient that it actually produces its own energy.

Green builders in India are mastering the designs and techniques that make energy efficiency a viable option in spite of the country’s vast size and climate zones that differ dramatically.

Israel, Malaysia, and New Zealand have all taken steps to encourage green builders to expand the industry within their borders. Each of these countries has negotiations underway to either develop green builders standards or to enact legislature that requires them.

The United Kingdom has been a strong advocate for green builders since 1989 and has developed standards that are followed around the world.

The adverse effects of prolonged drought, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources are felt everywhere. The rapidly growing human population is expected to increase the burden on the planet as population numbers increase. It is vitally important that green builders and the technologies they employ be considered everywhere at every possible opportunity.

Learn How Green Buildings Can Reduce Your Impact On The World

Green buildings, those designed and constructed to generate the least negative impact on the environment, are gaining popularity but the industry is still often misunderstood. A recent survey conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development illustrates the point.

While almost everyone agrees that we need green buildings in order to minimize adverse environmental impacts, the cost of such technologies and building materials are thought to be prohibitively expensive. The World Business Council survey finds that the actual costs are overestimated by as much as 300 percent.

In a somewhat ironic turn of events, it’s the people most involved with the green buildings industry who overestimate the costs of such construction. Members of the real estate and construction industries estimated the cost of green buildings to be an average of 17 percent higher than the cost of traditional construction.

Actual figures, however, indicate the typical cost of green buildings is only about five percent higher than buildings constructed using standard methods and materials. The cost of the energy savings involved with day-to-day operations of the green buildings, once construction is complete, are thought to be high enough to quickly recoup the five percent initial expenditure during construction.

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The state of Washington has recently enacted legislature that requires green buildings standards to be applied to all new construction and all renovations done that involve public buildings that cover more than 5,000 square feet of floor space. This law was enacted in 2005 and it covers government offices, public schools, and other buildings under public jurisdiction.

The projected savings in energy Washington expects to realize are substantial. The expected savings in overall energy is projected at 20 percent. Water and wastewater expenses are expected to be reduced by 20 and 38 percent, respectively. Construction waste from these green buildings is expected to be reduced by as much as 22 percent.

With savings in energy costs and consumption expected in the double digits, it seems that green buildings are a wise investment in the future of the natural environment. These buildings provide a safer, healthier environment indoors, too, thereby saving on the expense of illness, lost work, and reduced production when the buildings’ occupants are too sick to go to work.

Find Out How Green Construction Can Help Save The Planet

The term green construction is often used to describe building construction designed with the least impact to the environment in mind. Sometimes aesthetics are involved with the design of a green building – how well the finished structure looks or matches its surrounding environment – but the main consideration is on the energy expenditure required to build and maintain these structures.

According to recent energy studies, the consumption of natural resources required to build and maintain the buildings in the United States today are staggering.

As much as 68 percent of all the electricity consumed in the US today goes for the construction and maintenance of the country’s buildings. Some relatively easy green construction techniques to incorporate during construction and renovation include installing ceiling fans and windows that open to capture the breeze. Planting trees in strategic locations will also help reduce the need for excessive electricity usage when cooling buildings.

Other electricity-reducing green construction measures include situating a building so the southern exposure is fitted with enough windows to capture the sunlight throughout the course of the day so the need for indoor lighting is minimized.

Sunlight coming through southern windows also provides warmth during cooler months so the use of electricity, natural gas, fossil fuels, and wood to heat the building’s interior are minimized.

The enormous amount of fuel now being consumed to heat the country’s buildings accounts for a whopping 38 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the US. The design techniques used for green construction incorporate measures to keep buildings warm without the need to burn so much fuel to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Learn How A Green Building Can Help Save The Environment

Concern for the environmental impact of building construction around the country has led to the organization of a regulatory agency called the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The USGBC, in turn, has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, a trademarked system that is considered the standard of excellence for designing and building energy-efficient, environmentally sound buildings in the US. These standards apply to all buildings – private, commercial, and public.

The green building rating system, as defined by the USGBC, recognizes five key factors in determining the health benefits to humans and the environment. These five factors take into consideration the entire scope of the building, from construction to long-term habitation.

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These factors are:

Sustainable site development
Minimal use of water
Overall energy efficiency
Selection of environmentally healthy building materials
Long-term quality of the indoor environment

The LEED rating system designed for green building provides specifications and standards for each phase of the construction process. Some of the standards are in use today and others are under development and will become available in the near future.

Other organizations involved with the development and promotion of the green building industry include the Green Building Initiative (GBI). The GBI is comprised of construction industry leaders who have joined forces in this non-profit network in order to bring green building options to mainstream construction sites, both residential and commercial.

The EnergyStar program operates under the auspices of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its goal is to promote energy efficient building design through the standards they’ve established. The EnergyStar program offers its own rating system for energy efficiency.

Financial needs of the green building industry are being serviced by ShoreBank, a banking system focused on community development. It is the first ever to provide financing to developers specializing in green building practices and it conducts audits for energy efficiency in existing buildings.

Washington is the first state to recognize the importance of green building benefits. Becoming law in 2005, all public facilities, including schools, with more than 5,000 square feet of floor space must meet or exceed LEED standards for new construction and renovations to existing structures.

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, became the first small town in the US to adopt legislation requiring green building standards. Their 2006 law was enacted to make green building practices available to more homeowners.

Find Green Products & Services To Make Green Homes

The hottest trend in today’s home construction industry is that of building green homes. Such homes are designed and manufactured with three environmental factors in prime consideration:

  • Reduction in operating costs over the lifetime of the building
  • Improvement of the health of the building’s occupants
  • Reduced negative impact on the environment

To meet the first standard when constructing green homes, architects and engineers work together to design homes that will function as smoothly and effortlessly as we have become accustomed to but that do so at reduced cost to the homeowner and the environment.

Some energy-reducing tactics include situating green homes so they have lots of windows on the southern exposure. The southern side of any home usually receives the most sunlight, and its warmth, so lighting and heating costs can be minimized.

To improve the health of the occupants, green homes use the absolute minimum of toxic materials. Many of these homes do not have wall-to-wall carpeting, which emits toxic fumes as it ages and it collects allergens over time, too.

Insulation treated with formaldehyde is omitted in lieu of insulation made from recycled denim treated with boric acid to control insect infestations. Paints made from milk and other organic bases are used instead of the more traditional toxic paints.

Reducing the negative impact on the environment when building green homes is accomplished in many ways, too. One very effective measure is to purchase building materials from sources as close to the construction site as possible. Better still is to gather building materials, such as rocks, from the natural environment surrounding the building site and to recycle into building materials any trees that were cut down to clear the site.

Recycling greywater for outdoor watering needs is an excellent way to minimize the environmental impact in green homes. Greywater is the water drained from household appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, and from the bathtubs, sinks, and lavatories in the home. This water is excellent for watering lawns and washing automobiles while not drawing from the public water supply, especially in times of drought.

Green homes cost a little more money to build than a more traditional home. The added expense comes with specialized design and engineering costs and because some of the materials used in construction aren’t yet as readily available or produced in mass as other materials are.

Once green homes are completed, however, their minimal operating costs reduce monthly utility expenses from the very beginning. Over time, this savings in energy and utilities can be expected to more than pay for the added initial building costs.

Learn How to Find a Remodeling Contractor That Won’t Rip You Off

Word of mouth is always a wonderful way to find a qualified remodeling contractor. If you know of someone who is pleased with his or her remodel project, ask who did the work.

If your project calls for some type of specialized work, such as historical restoration, decorative masonry, or custom woodwork, ask a local interior-decorating firm whom they’d call if they were working on a similar project.

Architectural firms can lead you to remodeling contractors who specialize in major structural changes to a home. This list of referrals is likely to become very handy if your remodel job includes features such as a changed roofline, relocating interior walls, or the addition of a fireplace or stairway.

The construction industry’s trade associations can also tell you which remodeling contractors are members in good standing, as will your local Better Business Bureau.

Once you’ve acquired a list of potential candidates, invite each remodeling contractor on your list to come to your home for an on-site consultation. Show them the area in question and let them review any drawings, sketches, photos, or samples that you want to incorporate. Ask for a written estimate that includes timeline, work schedule, and expense.

By the time you’ve finished this step, you’ll probably have a favorite or two at the top of your list. Wait for the estimates, however, before making a decision.

Once you’ve received a written estimate from each remodeling contractor on your list, compare them item by item, not just by bottom line only. The least expensive contractor may not be such a bargain if it will take three times as long to complete the job. Or if they work only on Saturdays.

Once you’ve got the numbers in check, consider which remodeling contractor you feel the most comfortable with. After all, it’s your home where he or she will be working and you want to feel confident that your home, your possessions, and your family are safe while the project is under way and afterwards, too.

Learn How You Can Get FREE Money With a Home Improvement Grant!

Home improvement grants are different from home improvement loans in that they don’t have to be paid back. Grants are money awarded to improve the home in a way that often makes the home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

With that end in mind, it’s no wonder that many home improvement grants are offered by local utility providers and government entities. Grant awards are usually based on financial need so not everyone is eligible. Nor is every home improvement project.

If, however, you are in a lower income bracket or live in an impoverished area, it’s likely you have several sources from which to apply for home improvement grants.

Contact your utility providers to see what type of home improvement grants they offer. Electricity providers will likely be willing to help you make your home more energy efficient so it uses less electricity. The service you use for water and natural gas probably offers measures to help you use those resources more efficiently, too.

Local social welfare entities are another source for home improvement grants. Names of these agencies vary by region but every region has them. Some of them are operated on a city level while others are state or federal agencies.
Sometimes there are monies allocated for home improvement grants for people living in economically challenged areas. This is often the case for inner city neighborhoods and for areas affected by natural disaster, such as fire, flood, and hurricane or tornado activity.

Even illness or injury leading to long-term disability is sometimes reason for home improvement grants. Ask the social worker at your healthcare facility about them.

Sometimes repairs are needed that will bring a home back to proper working order. Not all improvements are for looks or expansion. For remodeling jobs that are more necessity than luxury, seek financial assistance by means of home improvement grants.

When repairs are needed to improve the quality of life, regardless of personal economic standing, never let finances stop you. There may be grant money available to bring more peace into your home.