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Deck building

Yes You Really Can Make a Difference With These Green Building Tips!

You don't have to be an environmentalist to use green building materials, it's not only beneficial for the health of the environment but beneficial to your personal health as well. As an individual it's hard to believe that your actions will impact the environment at all, but they do. Every small effort on your part matters, immersing yourself in the "green" life of building could be just what you're looking for to start your journey. 

The goals of green building are:

  • Life cycle assessment: evaluate the environmental impact of homes
  • Sustainable design: minimize the total environmental impact associated with all stages of the project
  • Energy efficiency: reduce energy consumption
  • Water efficiency: reduce water consumption and protect water quality
  • Material efficiency: use recycled plastics and metal, and rapidly renewable plant materials
  • Indoor air quality enhancement: reduce volatile organic compounds and other air impurities
  • Maintenance optimization: have proper maintenance during and after construction to ensure the green criteria is met for the life of the structure
  • Waste reduction: reduce waste of energy, water, and materials used during construction
  • Reduce impact onto electrical networks: reduce peak demand so there's less impact on carbon emissions and climate change

RiggsKitchenAfterThere's more information about these goals at

Many building materials have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to our health, using products that carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal, the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) seal, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) plaque, or are
rated by the KCMA are healthiest and most eco-friendly options available. Companies like Green
Building Supply sell supplies rated by the FSC and the ESP for guaranteed environmentally friendly building materials. The Home Depot and Lowes have also started carrying FSC certified wood.

We are dealers for MidContinent Cabinetry which is certified by the KCMA for its ethically supplied wood
and green practices, one of our installations is shown on the left. Steel is another recyclable material that SalasKitchen1we have used in projects such as the one shown on the left of an island counter top. We also often use fiber cement siding (shown on the garage addition to the left), which is made with recyclable materials and is highly durable. Fiber cement siding is moisture resistant, pest resistant (including woodpeckers), and fire resistant. 

It is known that green materials tend to cost more upfront but yield more profit over time. An example of this is with plumbing pipes. Most plumbing pipes are not environmentally friendly. Common pipes used are copper, PVC, and (formally) lead. Lead pipes have been known to release lead into waterways and cause lead poisoning from exposure. Lead was super common in homes before the 80's because of their affordability but have now cost home owners more in the long run to replace because of lead poisoning. PVC is very common now because of its affordability and versatility. But at the end of its lifespan it's not BeymerGarageLibraryrecyclable and will go to a landfill. Copper pipes are the most "green" material available because they can be recycled at the end of their use and last for decades, but they do cost more up front. 

In 2010, California implemented the Calgreen building standards code. This code implemented both mandatory and voluntary measures. The mandatory measure involves water and energy efficiencies, indoor air quality, and the use of sustainable building materials. The voluntary measure  involves the enhancement of the mandatory requirements/adding substantial features such as solar, high performance HVACs, energy efficient lights, etc.. The current version is the 2019 code. 

As much as 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US are from electricity production. Moving heavily towards renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar can help stifle the effects that coal fired power plants and natural gas power plants have put on the planet. Did you hear about the power plant that was bad for the environment all year? He got coal for Christmas. Not only would using these renewable resources be great for the planet, it would be great for your wallet too. Solar power has an undeniably high return on investment. 

Green building leads to a better quality of life, better for you and everyone around you. It reaps benefits for the world. Its most notable downfall (the typical higher prices) is consistently being adjusting to get lower prices making these building methods easier to access for anyone, with any budget. In fact according to, it costs only about 2% more to build with green materials in your home and they yield more profit in the end. If you want to start your green life and build a home that makes you feel healthier, give us a call at 209-772-9200 or toll free at 800-498-1833.