A “green” or “sustainable” home is not only resource-efficient and earth-friendly but also durable and healthy. That doesn’t have to mean costly or cumbersome. To be truly sustainable in the real world, homes also must be practical and convenient -- so they can be widely adopted in the marketplace. The goal is to integrate and balance the following criteria:
- Energy efficiency -- tailored for a warm, humid climate to reduce utility bills, conserve energy resources and reduce pollution from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity
- Water efficiency -- to stem the rising costs of treating drinking water and wastewater as well as reduce depletion of our aquifers
- Waste management -- to reduce construction and household waste going to landfills
- Pollution prevention -- to protect water quality and the ecosystem
- Favoring “green,” renewable and local resources -- to use resources efficiently, conserve nonrenewable resources and stimulate the local economy
- Decay resistance -- to control moisture and prevent deterioration
- Multi-hazard resistance -- to resist damage from hurricanes, floods, fire, hail, etc.
- Pest resistance -- to protect from Formosan subterranean termites and other damaging pests
- Indoor air quality control -- to minimize health hazards such as mold, dust mites, combustion pollutants and other common indoor air contaminants
- Integrated pest management -- to control pests and minimize use of pesticides
- Universal design -- to provide a safe, functional, accessible and adaptable home that accommodates all ages and stages of the life cycle
- Functional and family-friendly -- to provide for efficient work flows and family harmony
- Low maintenance -- to reduce cost and time needed to maintain property value and appearance.
- Advanced wiring -- for advances in the information age and to enable the home to serve as a satellite “telecommuting” office, reducing commuting time and energy.
- Cost effective -- to save money in the long term with a lower lifecycle cost, considering operating costs, maintenance, longevity and loss prevention.
- Available -- so contractors or consumers can buy and use it now.
- Feasible -- new methods or technologies that offer a short learning curve or labor savings to address industry shortage of skilled labor and reduce the costs of making the change.
- Marketable -- to preserve appeal to mainstream consumers.