Green building: The way of the future?March 18, 2019 Tags: Canada, Construction, Green, Home, House, Montréal, Property, Real Estate, Seller, Selling
The environment is center stage these days. Is it time for a new, more sustainable way of building? The idea isn’t new, but interest among buyers and developers is ramping up. What is green building? And how is this trend revolutionizing how we build? Here are some answers.
What it means to be green
Green building is the creation, restoration, renovation, or rehabilitation of a building using sustainable, minimally processed resources in a way that respects the surrounding environment. This approach takes into account the choice of materials, their lifecycle and sustainability, energy efficiency, resource management, environmental impact, and living conditions for occupants.
According to Environnement Québec, buildings were responsible for some 10% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province in 2015. Green buildings are designed to use less energy and therefore reduce their overall environmental footprint.
Eco-friendly materials are increasingly popular due to their sustainability and their low environmental impact. Bamboo, for example, matures in just four years and works great as insulation and flooring. Cork is a sustainable natural material that boasts a low-impact production process. Recycled steel is also another durable, sustainable option, plus it’s one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Last but not least, terra cotta brick offers a double dose of goodness: natural warmth and a great look!
Energy-efficient buildings use natural resources to produce energy, store it, and draw down on any surplus during peak usage. There are rainwater recycling systems, geothermal systems that get energy from the ground, and solar panels used to generate heat. How waste is managed on the construction site is another factor that goes into determining whether a building is considered green.
Indeed, there are a number of certifications for eco-friendly buildings, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED) in North America, HQE (Haute Qualité Environnementale HQE ) in France, and Passivhaus in Germany (Passive House).
How much does it cost?
A scarcity of materials and qualified labor used to drive prices up by 5 to 10%. Increased floor, wall, and roof insulation would also cost more. But today, manufacturers offer an array of locally sourced, eco-friendly materials at affordable prices. Some contractors even specialize in this type of construction. Installing solar panels, floor heating, or a geothermal system could increase the bill.
But the long-term energy savings are often worth the investment. Your best bet is to ask a professional to guide you through your choices.
We spend an average of 90% of our time inside buildings. So the quality of the air and the materials used inside them are important for our health. Green homes use all non-toxic materials, such as paints and natural oils to protect the wood. Air quality will also be attended to with a purification system.
Green building is increasingly popular—and accessible. Choosing an eco-friendly home can reduce your ecological footprint, minimize your impact on the surrounding environment, and improve your comfort and quality of life. Would you buy one?