Blackford & Sons
Official Company Blog

Let’s Define ‘Green Building’

January 5th 2009 in Green Building

Most people are familiar with the term green building but many of us may not realize how many areas in the building of a new home, or even a remodel of an existing home, can be improved to make our homes more green.

Green building (aka, sustainable design, and green architecture) is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s life cycle, through better site placement, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.

Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

Green Building Practices

Green building brings together a vast array of practices and techniques to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. It often emphasizes taking advantage of renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques and using plants and trees through green roofs, rain gardens, and for reduction of rainwater run-off. Many other techniques, such as using packed gravel for parking lots instead of concrete or asphalt to enhance replenishment of ground water, are used as well. Effective green buildings are more than just a random collection of environmental friendly technologies, however. They require careful, systemic attention to the full life cycle impacts of the resources embodied in the building and to the resource consumption and pollution emissions over a building’s complete life cycle.

On the aesthetic side of green architecture or sustainable design is the philosophy of designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site. There are several key steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify ‘green’ building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimize systems, and generate on-site renewable energy.

Green Building Materials

Building materials typically considered to be ‘green’ include rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo (because bamboo grows very quickly) and straw, lumber from forests that are sustainably managed, dimension stone, recycled stone, recycled metal, and other products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable (eg reclaimed barn wood, reclaimed hardwood flooring, Linoleum, sheep wool, panels made from paper flakes, compressed earth block, adobe, baked earth, rammed earth, clay, vermiculite, flax linen, sisal, sea grass, cork, expanded clay grains, coconut, wood fiber plates, calcium sand stone…) The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also suggests using recycled industrial goods, such as coal combustion products, foundry sand, and demolition debris in construction projects. Building materials can also be extracted and manufactured locally to the building site in order to minimize the energy embedded in their transportation.

For more information on green building, follow the links below.


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In my recent reading of various interior design blogs and magazines, I have found a rather modern design style that is becoming quite popular with many professional interior designers: Scandinavian.

This style is incredibly popular among kitchen designers in particular, and I can’t help being attracted to the warmth, and versatility of this design myself. This [...]

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