Green Building is the continuing refinement of construction techniques to provide a more efficient separation of the interior and exterior environments, promote indoor air quality and occupant health, and reduce the impact on our natural resources and environment. While many consider Green Building a recent trend in the construction industry, advancements in building science have occurred ever since man has sought and developed housing, beginning with the caveman. The desire to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer drove home site selections close to natural resources. The use of chinking between logs in early log homes was an attempt to keep the air from infiltrating the home. Lath & plaster systems used in older homes gave way to the use of gypsum drywall (commonly referred to as sheetrock) and insulation standards have developed from essentially no insulation required to today’s code requirements. Due to health concerns, new materials have been developed to replace the asbestos containing materials once prevalent in buildings as recently as the late 1970’s. Paints containing lower concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are now standard.
Recent advancements are now being codified under numerous Green Building standards such as:
- LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
- 2012 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard
- AIA International Green Construction Code
- Energy Star
- Green Globes
Additionally, there are many local standards that must be met such as Eagle County’s ECO-Build program and Summit County’s High Country Conservation Code. While each code has differing requirements, they all promote similar end goals:
- Waste reduction,
- Efficient use of natural resources,
- Energy efficiency,
- Responsible site development and land use,
- Indoor air quality, and
- Water resource conservation
Many clients ask about the potential cost implications of Green Building. This is a difficult question to answer depending on the needs of the project and client. In many cases buildings can be “Green” without a lot of additional cost impact. However, some programs require lengthy and complicated certification programs which do have cost impacts to projects. Evans Chaffee Construction Group has built many projects ranging from single family homes to community centers to schools to varying Green standards, including LEED Gold. In the majority of these projects, the Owner has decided not to pursue certification. This is an individual choice of the Owner and Evans Chaffee is ready to help regardless of whether certification is pursued or not.
Each Green Building program has varying areas of emphasis and methods of determining compliance. We recommend reviewing the programs to ensure they align with your goals for your project. Some allow concentration in one or two areas, other require minimum points in all areas, but not really mastering any of them. ECCG recommends a holistic approach to green building. Is energy efficiency important to you? Great, we can focus on that area with advice on mechanical system selections, insulation packages and so on to maximize the benefit in this area. Would you rather focus on use of recycled and reclaimed materials? We can provide great references for material selection to meet this goal.
Evans Chaffee Construction Group has embraced the continuing advancements in building science throughout the history of our company. We have a staff of certified green Building professionals ready to assist you on your project. Many of our projects have been built to green standards under numerous programs. Let’s discuss your project and see how we can work together to make it a reality.