LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000 and is an internationally-recognized green building certification system.

What does LEED do?

According to USGBC, “LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. The LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus-based process led by LEED committees, diverse groups of volunteers representing a cross-section of the building and construction industry. Key elements of the process include a balanced and transparent committee structure, technical advisory groups that ensure scientific consistency and rigor, opportunities for stakeholder comment and review, member ballot of new rating systems, and fair and open appeals.”

What buildings does LEED work with?

LEED can be applied to either commercial or residential building types and may even be used as a framework for urban planning and design through the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system.

What LEED rating systems are there?

LEED’s rating systems include:

– LEED for New Construction (NC)
– LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EB: O&M)
– LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI)
– LEED for Core & Shell (CS)
– LEED for Schools (SCH)
– LEED for Retail
– LEED for Healthcare (HC)
– LEED for Homes
– LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND)

Each rating system uses a different, specific approach tailored to the type of building it focuses on to measure the sustainability of a project or existing building.

For more information on the LEED green building rating systems, visitUSGBC.org.

LEED Professional Credentials

In addition to the range of certification systems for green buildings, LEED also offers a highly regarded credentialing system for green building professionals. LEED professional credentials are administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

LEED Green Associate

The LEED Green Associate is the entry level LEED credential for professionals interested in learning about the fundamentals of green building and the LEED rating systems.

Earning the LEED Green Associate, often referred to as LEED GA, requires passing a computerized multiple choice exam. There are certain eligibility requirements for taking the LEED GA exam, and options for becoming eligible, which we have written about here.

It is a requirement to pass the LEED Green Associate exam before advancing to the LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) credential.


The LEED AP credential is an advanced LEED credential which specifically focuses professionals on learning the ins and outs of one of the particular LEED rating systems listed above.

The LEED AP exam is a much more rigorous exam. The exam requires a lot of memorization and knowledge of specific detailed aspects of a LEED rating system. Indeed, some people have compared it to passing the bar exam.

Approaches to studying for the LEED GA and LEED AP exams differ. For people with experience working on a LEED project, it is possible to take both exams on the same day. However, it is recommended that people take the exams separately to maximize their chances for success. We have covered tips on passing the LEED AP exam here.

LEED Fellow

The LEED Fellow is the most prestigious professional designation. According to GBCI, the designation was developed to honor and recognize distinguished LEED APs who have made a significant contribution to the field of green building and sustainability at a regional, national, or international level. To earn this designation a person must be nominated by their peers. Once a person is nominated, they will be evaluated along for or five “mastery levels” including:

– Technical Proficiency
– Education and Mentoring
– Leadership
– Commitment and Service
– Advocacy

Aspen’s chief building official Stephen Kanipe recently spent a week in Dallas helping to craft a new green construction code for commercial buildings.

Kanipe sat on a panel of 12 that reviewed upwards of 1,400 changes to the first draft of the International Green Construction Code. The hearings took place May 14-21 in Dallas. Kanipe has been working with the International Code Council on green building codes for about two years.

The hearings were characterized by 13-hour days where proponents or opponents of changes to every section of the code that was up for review could make their arguments. The hall at the Sheraton Hotel also was packed with lobbyists from the construction industry and manufacturers, Kanipe said. At the end of the week, the committee had produced a new section of its commercial building code that will be up for final adoption at a meeting in Phoenix later this fall.

“The committee does the best it can to determine if the changes are awkward or forward the intent and purpose” of the green building code, Kanipe said, adding that various groups — be they builders, administrators or materials suppliers — have differing opinions on the changes.

The International Green Construction code would be applied to all buildings — except duplexes and single-family homes — in jurisdictions that adopt it. It is intended to manage how energy is delivered to a site, how a building uses water and how it’s situated toward the sun, among other elements, Kanipe said.

The International Code Committee paid for the trip, although Kanipe spent many hours of his time at work preparing for the meeting, he said. City officials granted him authority to do so because they feel it’s important for Aspen to stake out a leadership position on green building issues, Kanipe said. At the conference, he joined colleagues from building departments in Austin and Seattle, among other green conscious cities.

Source: AspenDailyNews.com

From a distance, the new building at Lake Mohave’s Cotton wood Cove Marina looks like any other office building except that a dock leads to its front door instead of a sidewalk.But a closer look reveals that this 2,000-square-foot marina operations facility is unlike any other in the world.

In fact, according to the National Park Service and Forever Resorts, which teamed up on the project, the building is the first floating one in the world to be registered for a gold certification under LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the international rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council.

After a year in construction, the $660,000, eco-friendly building, which floats in the marina 13 miles east of Searchlight, was dedicated Monday.

“It was a perfect opportunity to do something monumental,” said Rod Taylor, regional vice president for Forever Resorts, concessionaire at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Mohave.

What makes the building so friendly to the environment?

For starters, the decking around it is made from a composite of rice hulls and recycled plastic. The sturdy rice-hull boards come from Arkansas, where the hulls were being disposed in landfills as a waste product.

And, instead of stucco, the exterior walls consist of a waterproof, liquid paste derived from ground-up, recycled tires. The paste, an excellent insulator, was applied to a fiberglass mesh that held it in place while it dried.

“It’s like wrapping the whole building in Saran Wrap. It doesn’t crack, and you don’t have to paint it,” said Richard Walker of Errth Flex, the company that produced the material, which is expected to stay intact for at least 50 years.

Builder Ken Couverley of Covey Designs said the construction task was unlike any he has experienced because it took place on water.

“We had our challenges,” he said, noting that saws had to be equipped with vacuums to keep sawdust out of the lake.

And, all the materials had to be trucked to the lake’s edge, put on a barge and hauled over to a stage of Styrofoam floats capable of carrying the building’s weight, 220,000 pounds.

He said the office floor is a plywoodlike material called Nyloboard that is made from recycled carpet remnants with a polyurethane skin.

Joe Piedimonte, corporate controller for Ausonio Inc., a Castroville, Calif., company that coordinated the environmental rating requirements, said the building will be equipped with photovoltaics for solar power.

Combined with special lighting features and windows that allow natural light to enter work areas, the building will have a 40 percent savings in energy use, he said.

Designed by Michael Carlson, of Carlson Studio Architecture, the building uses nonpotable lake water to flush toilets. The waste is collected in a septic tank and pumped to a land-based leachate field.

National Park Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said the idea to build an eco-friendly building for marina visitors came in the aftermath of a windstorm a few years ago that destroyed the previous office and much of the marina.

The project was launched with funding from insurance money and a percentage of profits that Forever Resorts had put in a capital improvement fund.

“We said, ‘Why don’t we be on the cutting edge to make this as environmentally friendly as possible and set the example,’ ” Munoz said.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area Superintendent Bill Dickinson said the new office has set the standard for eco-friendly floating buildings. “There’s no better place than in a national park to do that.

“It was visionary team made up of private industry and government led by our partner Forever Resorts that transformed this idea into action,” he said in a statement.

Source: LVRJ.com

The recent British Council conference, Buildings of Today and Tomorrow’s Reality, gave us a few useful tips when designing and building energy-efficient, sustainable buildings. Here are 23 things to do when designing green buildings…

Did you know that 72 percent of total electricity, 39 percent of total energy and 14 percent of total water consumption take place in buildings? The buildings we live in and work in are also responsible for 28 percent of the CO2 emissions and 30 percent of total waste.

That’s why green buildings are becoming the new trend for a greener, sustainable and energy-efficient world. The recent conference “Buildings of Today and Tomorrow’s Reality,” held by the British Council and the Ministry of Public Works and Settlements’ General Directorate of Construction Affairs, showed us that there are more than a few ways to save energy when designing your green building.

Experts, architects and designers shared a few hints for green buildings. Make sure to use the following:

  1. Spectrally-selective glasses,
  2. Light pipes for lighting,
  3. R410 gas, one of the most environment friendly coolants, as coolant for water,
  4. Floor heating for wet areas,
  5. CO2 sensors to check the return air in air conditioning,
  6. Self-insulated polyurethane ducts to eliminate leakage and for assuring hygienic conditions,
  7. Solar panels on roofs for electricity,
  8. Wind turbines for extra electricity,
  9. Solar collectors for hot water supply,
  10. Ground source heat pump for getting maximum use of the constant soil temperature underground for hot water in winter and cold water in summer,
  11. Frequency control in pumps and fans for minimising energy,
  12. Daylight tubes for transferring outside daylight to interior spaces,
  13. Energy analysers for monitoring total power consumption,
  14. Waterless urinals,
  15. Vegetation native to the area with minimum water requirement when landscaping,
  16. Thermal insulation on the roof and the walls for minimising heat gain and loss,
  17. Triple-glazing of the windows for heat loss and external noise reduction,
  18. Ice storage during the night when the electricity cost is the lowest to be used during the day for cooling,
  19. Multi-sensors sensitive to daylight and motion for the control of lighting switches,
  20. A time-based programme for the lighting system,
  21. A second piping system for the reuse of grey water for toilets,
  22. Drip irrigation system with the collection of rainwater, and
  23. Heat stored in concrete and heat from computers for air conditioning

Source: britishcouncilblogs.org

Demand For Certified Lumber, Recycled Content Concrete, Green Floor Coverings, And Other Efficient Fixtures Will See Double-Digit Growth Through 2015.

International business research company The Freedonia Group released an industry forecast detailing the growth of demand for green building materials through 2015. According to the report, U.S. demand for green building materials (products which can contribute to LEED credits) will expand 13% annually through 2015, generating sales of more than $70 billion.

The report is entitled “Green Building Materials,” and is available for purchase on the company’swebsite. It predicts that the demand for green building materials will outpace the growth of building construction expenditures. While this demand will support gains in the construction market, a bigger driver will be the expected rebound in the construction market after low 2010 levels.

Among green building materials, the fastest growing product will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified lumber and wood panels. The largest value gains will be seen in concrete products with recycled content, not only because their use will reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills, but because the concrete itself often performs better than traditional concrete. Green floor coverings (including Green Label Plus-certified) account for almost 25% of total market in 2010 and are expected to increase at a double-digit rate annually through 2015.

Efficient plumbing and lighting fixtures are also expected to post double-digit gains through 2015. This is due to improved efficiency, environmental concern, increases in building codes, and the rebound in the construction market.

The report analyzes historical market demand and forecasts for 2015 and 2020 by product, market, and region. The study also considers market environment factors, assesses the industry structure, evaluates company market share, and profiles 39 U.S. companies.

View a summary of the study (PDF).

Source: Consulting Specifying Engineer Mag

Sustainability has been a very popular theme among many discussions these days. Individuals seem to be on course with attempting to promote lifestyles which are intended for more environmentally conscious means of living. Folks have been performing a lot of various things to help promote the rehabilitation of the planet, and support products and services that do the same. Developing a sustainable lifestyle always starts from home, and people are taking the steps they require so as to build a greener home. Green remodeling is amongst the most important projects any household can take on to really develop a sustainable lifestyle. This form of house remodeling can definitely create a home that is not just sustainable and eco-friendly, but also less expensive and easier to take care of.

Green house remodeling includes a lot of different modifications, from the simplest to the most complex. This can pertain to the use of energy-efficient appliances, the use of renewable and sturdier materials for floorings, walls and ceilings, sufficient ventilation methods, and temperature managing techniques.

Green remodeling entails some amount of work for house owners, but can supply them with an amount of rewards and conveniences which make everything worth the effort. What this kind of remodeling strategy does particularly is develop a more environmentally sound home with the help of sustainable materials and building processes which are much friendlier for the environment. There are various methods to go about constructing a green home, and may vary depending on a household’s budget and requirements plus the natural demands of the weather conditions within their specific geographic area. Individuals don’t even need to spend lots of money to slowly turn their houses into model homes which are conscious about the environment.

One of the primary benefits supplied by green remodeling is the fact that families get to spend less from the upkeep and repair of their homes. With stronger materials, folks will not require a lot of replacements and renovations within their homes. Even though they start by investing money in higher priced materials, they make up for it with strength and quality that can withstand many years of daily wear and tear. In the long run, families end up having to spend less and less for their homes.

Family members also get to save up on expenses on their utilities when proper upgrades are installed at home. The installation of solar panels during house remodeling can help decrease the electricity bill by a substantial amount. The comprehensive use of sustainable energy sources may even decrease the cost of your electricity bill to zero, providing you with more finances to make use of for other family requirements. In some countries, excess electricity from renewable energy sources that homes produce can even be fed to the power grid and sold for extra profit, creating an income source for all those eager to help with environmental causes.

Sustainable homes can actually help with the lives of many families, as well as to the environment. Those people who are considering green remodeling should consider its advantages and benefits. Building a green, sustainable home holds a lot of rewards, not only for the present, but for the future as well.

Source : Simple Articles Author: shane belfort | Posted in Home Improvement

By Jerry Yudelson Yudelson Associates –  More people are going green each year, and there is nothing that will stop this trend. In fact, it is accelerating each year. As a result, we expect to see considerable interest in green products that promote water conservation and energy efficiency, including fixtures and appliances, as well as energy-efficient windows and doors, certified wood products (either FSC or SFI), and recycled-content materials.Many individual homes and businesses are investing in new resource-efficient technologies and green operational practices, and cities are developing certification systems to reward this behavior. My consulting company, Yudelson Associates, is a good example. In December 2010, we were certified by the city of Tucson, Az., as a green business because of our operational practices, including solar electric and thermal systems, water conserving fixtures and rainwater harvesting, waste recycling, and environmentally preferable purchasing. These are all measures that you will begin to see adopted in greater numbers by many of the end-users served by you and your direct customers.

Let’s take a look in more detail at where some of the green building trends are headed.

1. Worldwide, the green building movement will continue to accelerate, as more countries begin to create their own green building incentives and develop their own green building councils. Inside the U.S., we expect to see an expanding roster of green product certifications, each aiming to influence the consumer’s choices. Dealers will need to stay on top of these product choices, to find which are favored by their customers.

2. Green building in the commercial sector will rebound in 2011, as measured by the new LEED project registrations. The dramatic slowdown in new construction of commercial real estate was not offset by other sectors, such as government, so the growth rate of new green building projects fell dramatically in 2010. However, we expect a continued upward movement of new green buildings, albeit at a slower pace, as green continues to take market share.

3. Recent announcements of the federal government’s commitment to a minimum of LEED Gold for all new federal projects and major renovations of public buildings highlight the Obama Administration’s continued focus on green technologies. At the state and local level, other layers of government show no signs of “green fatigue.” In fact, new green building mandates and incentives continue to grow. This means more product sales, as commitments become action.

4. The focus of the green building industry will continue its switch from new buildings to greening existing buildings. The fastest growing LEED rating system in 2009 and 2010 was the LEED for Existing Buildings program-and I expect this trend to continue in 2011. Affordable energy and water conservation devices will accelerate this trend, and should lead to greater sales of such devices.

5. Blue will become the new green, especially in arid areas of the West, Southwest and Southeast. Awareness of the coming global crisis in fresh water supply will continue to grow, inducing building designers, owners, and managers-as well as consumers-to take further steps to reduce water consumption and increase sustainability. This will be accomplished through the use of more conservation-oriented fixtures, rainwater recovery systems, and innovative new water technologies. Many new packaged systems are coming to market, and these could provide good opportunities for dealers and distributors in water-short regions.

6. Zero-net-energy designs for new buildings will become increasingly commonplace in both residential and commercial sectors, as LEED and ENERGY STAR ratings become too common to confer competitive advantage. From a product standpoint, you may start to see demands for such things as triple-pane windows and better building monitoring and control systems.

7. Performance disclosure will be the fastest emerging trend, highlighted by new requirements in California and cities such as Austin, Tx.; Seattle, Wa., and Washington, D.C. In these areas, commercial building owners will be required to disclose actual building performance to all new tenants and buyers, to comply with new requirements.

8. Certified Green Schools will grow rapidly as part the LEED System. This trend will accelerate as understanding of the health and educational benefits of green schools grows. By mid-year 2010, green schools represented nearly 40% of all new LEED projects in the U.S. We’ll also see energy-efficiency retrofits come into vogue as a way to green existing schools, so be on the lookout for what local energy managers for school districts are saying and doing.

9. Local and state governments will step up their mandates for green buildings, for both themselves and the private sector. In 2011, I expect to see at least 20 major new cities with commercial-sector green building mandates. The desire to reduce carbon emissions by going green will lead more government agencies to require green buildings.

10. Solar power use in buildings will continue to grow. This trend will be enhanced by municipal utilities trying to comply with state-level renewable power standards for 2015 and 2020. Third-party financing partnerships will continue to grow and provide capital for large rooftop solar systems, such as on warehouses. However, we may very well see a slowing of large solar and wind systems, as federal grant support, in lieu of tax credits, is phased out. In the building products area, look for new forms of solar roofing systems that allow a homeowner or building owner to do their own retrofits at minimal extra cost.

11. The development of “software as a service” using the Internet “cloud” will rely on a whole new generation of smart meters, monitoring devices, and intelligent controls. Energy-monitoring services such as Google “Power Meter” will lead consumers, business, and industry to start investing in more home and building electronics.

– Jerry Yudelson is an engineer and business consultant with nearly 15 years experience in green building. Since 2005, he has written 12 books on green building, green products, green development, and water conservation. His most recent book, Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Crisis,  showcases business opportunities in water efficiency. His firm, Yudelson Associates, provides green marketing, green building, and sustainability consulting services nationally to a wide variety of private sector clients. He can be contacted at jerry@greenbuildconsult.com.

From www.building-products.com

Materials from Rematerialise, Kingston University London (Credit: Image courtesy of Kingston University)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2011) — After 17 years of research sustainable design expert Jakki Dehn is launching Rematerialise, a catalogue of eco-friendly materials for use in the construction industry.

From insulation made from mushrooms to kitchen tops created from recycled glass, Kingston University has catalogued more than 1,000 different sustainable materials for use in the construction industry. The result is a materials library, Rematerialise, which is being launched at EcoBuild, the world’s largest event for showcasing sustainable design and construction practices.

Reader in sustainable design, Jakki Dehn has been developing Rematerialise at Kingston University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture for 17 years and believes designers will find it invaluable when planning new products. “They can come and touch and feel a whole range of materials all in one place — materials which, otherwise, they might have to spend weeks investigating themselves,” she said.

Several firms have already drawn on Dehn’s expertise to help with ongoing projects. Product design company Jedco, based in Weybridge in Surrey, has developed a scaffolding board made from recycled polymers and a solar-powered bus-stop. “The scaffolding boards have proved useful on oil rigs, because unlike wood, they don’t absorb water. So, in this case, the sustainable product is actually better than the material it’s replacing,” Dehn said.

Dehn began her research into sustainable materials in 1994 and received Arts and Humanities Research Council funding in 2003. Rematerialise now houses more than 1,200 materials from 15 different countries. It contains recycled materials, products made from resources that are very plentiful and easy to re-grow and products made from resources that are not generally used very much. The University hopes eventually to put the entire library online so planners can do initial research before making an appointment to view the materials themselves at Kingston University’s Knights Park campus.

As word about the resource has spread, new products have started arriving on an almost daily basis. “We recently received a new type of insulation material made from mushrooms. The piece we were sent was only an inch thick but, apparently, you could put your hand on one side of it and take a blow-torch to the other side and you wouldn’t be able to feel the heat,” said Dehn, who admitted she was yet to put it to the test. Another eye-catching material is resilica, which is used to make kitchen worktops as an alternative to granite or formica. It’s made mainly of glass recycled from cars and building sites.

Source: Science Daily

At Trilogy we make every effort, within the confines of our clients wishes, to design sustainably. This is not new theory or practice to us, but something we have been doing for 13 years. In fact, our first home built more than a decade ago, would still rank even today as one of the most energy efficient in all of Summit County, Colorado.

The intention of sustainable design is to reduce the impact of design and that which results from it, on the planet and or environment. From Wikipedia comes the following list of sustainable design principles:

  • Low-impact materials: choose non-toxic, sustainably produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process
  • Energy efficiency: use manufacturing processes and produce products which require less energy
  • Quality and durability: longer-lasting and better-functioning products will have to be replaced less frequently, reducing the impacts of producing replacements
  • Design for reuse and recycling: “Products, processes, and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial ‘afterlife’.”[3]
  • Design Impact Measures for total carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment for any resource used are increasingly required and available. Many are complex, but some give quick and accurate whole-earth estimates of impacts. One measure estimates any spending as consuming an average economic share of global energy use of 8,000btu per dollar and producing CO2 at the average rate of 0.57 kg of CO2 per dollar (1995 dollars US) from DOE figures.[4]
  • Sustainable Design Standards and project design guides are also increasingly available and are vigorously being developed by a wide array of private organizations and individuals. There is also a large body of new methods emerging from the rapid development of what has become known as ‘sustainability science’ promoted by a wide variety of educational and governmental institutions.
  • Biomimicry: “redesigning industrial systems on biological lines … enabling the constant reuse of materials in continuous closed cycles…”[5]
  • Service substitution: shifting the mode of consumption from personal ownership of products to provision of services which provide similar functions, e.g., from a private automobile to a carsharing service. Such a system promotes minimal resource use per unit of consumption (e.g., per trip driven).[6]
  • Renewability: materials should come from nearby (local or bioregional), sustainably managed renewable sources that can be composted when their usefulness has been exhausted.
  • Robust eco-design: robust design principles are applied to the design of a pollution sources).[7]

Ways that we at Trilogy Design sustainably would include

  • Use of reclaimed and recycled materials
  • Use of robust, long lasting materials such as timber frame and engineered structural materials
  • Sourcing of materials: If at all possible we choose materials that are manufactured in a geographical radius of no more than 500 miles
  • Energy Efficiency : We produce highly energy efficient dwellings through the use of technologies such as Structural Insulating Panels and cold roof systems.
  • We encourage the use of passive and active energy reduction technologies and systems. Many if not most of our current builds incorporate passive solar, geothermal, and/or solar panel systems.
  • We ask our clients to think carefully about their space requirements so we are building dwellings properly sized for function.

Here’s a question we ask all of our clients. Would you be willing to pay 5-10% more to build a home that was 50% less impactful on the environment? How would you answer that question?

While conjuring up comfort in the home seems like a basic principle, it’s a far more complex process for architect & remodeling guru Sarah Susanka, who believes that comfort can significantly influence the sustainability of your personal abode. With her mantra of “build better, not bigger,” Susanka promotes quality over quantity whenremodeling a home. Through transforming your living space into a more beautiful and comfortable environment, Susanka says that any home’s occupants will automatically take better care of their space in a more sustainable way. We sat down with Susanka to get the low-down on how to do more with less when revamping your space.

TIP 1 – Re-evaluate the Space You’re Working With

Remodeling is often associated with building an addition onto a home. However, Susanka is a strong advocate of re-evaluating the space that your home already contains and working within that original floor plan whenever possible. As she says, it’s important to ask yourself how you can make your existing house more tailored to the way you live. Instead of jumping ahead and planning a structural addition without any thorough thought, take a moment to consider whether or not you could work within the space you already have available. Ask yourself these questions: Do you really need more space? How much space do you need to be comfortable in your home? Can you borrow from the adjacent space to conjure the extra square footage you need? Then, as a last resort, consider a bump out or a small addition.

Unfortunately, most people start at the last resort instead of first weighing the other more economical and quality-generating options. Remodeling can be a difficult and often stressful project, so if you doubt anything along the way, look into hiring a professional to assist in the process. As Susanka says, “When we are having surgery, we normally don’t do it ourselves. Remodeling your home is one of the most expensive investments of a lifetime so we want it done well.” If you are in the market for a pro that understands Susanka’s philosophy on renovation, check out her Home Professional Directory for an expert in your area.

TIP 2 – Get an Energy Audit

When you start engaging in a remodeling project, one of the first things to check off the list is an energy audit. This helps you identify some of the most cost effective ways to make your home more sustainable, and those shifts can easily be incorporated into the changes throughout the rest of the renovation process.

Susanka tells Inhabitat that 20% of carbon emissions come from existing housing stock. By incorporating energy audits into the renovation process, not only will you end up with economical savings, but you will also contribute to the larger home emissions issue. This will help make your home easier to maintain as well as reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win-win situation for both you and the environment!

TIP 3 – Invest in Quality Over Quantity

When you get home and enter a space that exudes quality and character, you automatically feel more at home. On the other hand, if you go overboard with quantity because it’s the knee-jerk response to generate change, you end up with a lot of uninspiring stuff. What Susanka reiterates throughout her books is the importance of utilizing the space you have to its highest potential. By creating a room that’s comfortable to be in, we are motivated to care for and sustain its beauty. Instead of tossing dollars around to quantify space, use your budget to induce quality elements that address your particular needs and aesthetics.

Ask yourself what will add more of your own personality into your space. What colors, shapes, or artwork do you enjoy looking at? Which rooms do you spend the majority of your time in? Do you have good heating and cooling systems that maintain a comfortable atmosphere in your home? These thought-generating questions will help you determine the best ways to approach the concept of quality over quantity.

TIP 4 – Use Lighting to Amplify Perspective

The way you introduce light into a space can have an enormous effect on an environment, hugely improving its quality and character. Susanka can’t say enough about how reflective surfaces can influence rooms throughout your abode. Reflective surfaces help bounce light around, augmenting the presence of natural light within a space.

One less obvious way to do this is by adding a built-in bookshelf near a window. The shelving edges act as reflective surfaces, bouncing extra light into the room.

Another option is to place a window adjacent to a perpendicular wall, instead of in its typical central location; that wall then becomes a reflective surface as well. Finally, placing soffits above windows can help transfer light into a room. All of these alternative lighting sources help with the ambiance and feel of a space.

TIP 5 – Enhance Your Space With Color

The way the light falls on different colors can completely transform a room. Determine the most important wall in each room — the place to which you want to draw peoples’ attention — and paint it to your heart’s desire.

This is the point in remodeling that can allow for personal freedom of expression in your home. Susanka points out that there’s no need to be shy in this process; be creative and experiment with a variety of colors to sense how they each make you feel in the space. Paint large pieces of paper in all the colors you could imagine and even all the colors that you’d never expect to use. You might just find that the brightest or most unexpected shade fits perfectly on your favorite wall.

Images from Sarah Susanka and Mark Vassallo’s book, Not So Big Remodeling, published by Taunton Press in 2009; by photographer Randy O’Rourke.

Green Remodeler – Sarah Susanka

Sarah Susanka, FAIA, is the leader of a movement that is redefining the American home and lifestyle. Through her “build better, not bigger” approach to residential design she has demonstrated that the sense of “home” we seek has to do with quality, not quantity.  A thought leader and acclaimed architect, Susanka is the best-selling author of nine books that collectively weave together home and life design, revealing that a “Not So Big” attitude serves not only architectural aims, but life goals as well.  Her books have sold well over one million copies.  Susanka’s most recent book, More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home, was released in February, 2010.  Join her online community at www.notsobig.com.

Article taken from Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World – http://inhabitat.com
URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/5-tips-for-a-green-home-remodel-from-eco-architect-sarah-susanka/

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