Buyers beware of "green washing!" "Green" has become an almost overused term lately. We prefer to think of what we do not necessarily as building "Green" but building smarter. We look forward to the day when "Green" is no longer a buzzword used for marketing but is the standard code by which all new construction is held to.
Not all "Green Builders" are the same. Wright-Way embraces the "whole house as a system" approach. Meaning that each element of a project is designed to work together as a whole. Example: if you spray foam a project and do not factor the effects that will have on the HVAC system, you will end up with an oversized HVAC system that will not perform efficiently. Each of our projects are tested and certified by outside consultants to ensure accurate execution of our design and provide a HERS rating.
Both the National Association of Home Builders and Energy Star certifications reference the project's HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score. Click here for more information on HERS ratings.
One of the most common misconceptions about green building is that it costs more up front to build. Our green building packages start at $75 per square foot and that includes advanced framed 2x6 walls, spray foam insulation, high efficiency HVAC, Energy Star Certified with typical HERS scores in the low 50's.
Wright-Way is VERY proud to proclaim that have built multiple homes Certified by the NAHB at both the Gold and Emerald Levels. We also are extremely excited to announce that as of June 2011 we have constructed the Greenest Home in the Nation with a Home Energy Rating of –28!
Green Building Term Definitions
"Green" has become a very popular term lately encompassing everything from light bulbs to shopping bags. For Wright-Way going "green" encompasses multiple aspects of life that we consider to be more about living responsibly and intelligently. Some of these areas include; Energy Efficiency, Resource Conservation, Environmental Quality, Education, and Responsible Practices.
- Energy Efficiency
The practice of reducing the amount of energy required to provide or utilize products and services.
- Resource Conservation
The practice of managing materials more efficiently by either reducing materials used, reusing materials and products when possible, recycling waste, and using recycled products.
- Environmental Quality
Is a general term which can refer to varied characteristics that relate to the natural environment, as well as the built environment, such as air and water purity or pollution, and the potential effects which such characteristics may have on physical and mental health caused by human activities.
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. At Wright-Way we strive to spread the word of living green and efficient to everyone in our community.
- Responsible Practices
Social responsibility is an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large, so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. In other words: We practice what we preach!
Home Energy Rating System - The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home's score, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home. Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient. A standard new construction home that is built to meet the current housing codes will have a HERS index of 100.
- Net Zero
A net zero energy building is a residential or commercial building with greatly reduced energy needs and carbon emissions. These are reduced through energy efficient construction and efficiency gains, such that the balance of energy needs can be supplied with renewable technologies. Over the course of one year the building will generate as much energy as it consumes. It will also have a HERS Index of 0 or less than 0.
A natural resource is a renewable resource if it is replaced by natural processes and if replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment and form our eco-system.
Sustainable energy is the provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainable energy sources include all renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, wave power, geothermal energy, bioenergy, and tidal power. It usually also includes technologies designed to improve energy efficiency.
- Whole House Approach
A construction initiative that considers the interaction between you, your building site, your climate, and these other elements or components of your home. Recognizing the relationship between the features of all components in the house and how each can greatly affect other components, which ultimately affects the overall energy efficiency of the house.
- Solar Thermal
Solar thermal energy (STE) is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat). Solar thermal collectors are usually flat plates that are used for heating water for residential and commercial use.
- Photovoltaic or Solar PV
Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material.
A measure of electrical power. Kilowatts are 1000 Watts.
National Association of Home Builders - NAHB is a trade association that helps promote the policies that make housing a national priority. Since 1942, NAHB has been serving its members, the housing industry, and the public at large.
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners - NABCEP is the “gold standard” for PV and solar thermal installation certification. Designed to raise industry standards and promote consumer confidence, NABCEP offers certification and certificate programs to renewable energy professionals throughout North America.
Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. Accreditation is a specific organization's process of certification. Example: The NAHB Research Center issues National Green Building Certification to all types of residential construction that meet the criteria of the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard. There are four green certification levels for homes available in the Standard – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald.
A renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum, creating green jobs and improving our environment. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as agricultural oils, recycled cooking oil and animal fats.
For more terms and their meanings please see the list at GreenBuildingAdvisor.com.