Green building is something that more and more homeowners and home builders are looking to employ, and for good reason. Not only are more people aware of the need for sustainable living than ever before, but implementing green building practices will end up saving you money! Green building techniques are improving every day as well – just check out the innovation of self-repairing concrete.

self-repairing concrete

Source: Trilogy Partners

According to the EPA, the use of bricks and insulation uses up a lot of resources. In fact, both residential and commercial building contributes upwards of 40 percent of landfill wastes, with roughly 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions being linked to the construction industry.

Thankfully, new technology such as self-repairing concrete could help cut down on those numbers. Self-repairing concrete is created with an engineered bacterial that releases a calcium carbonate when mixed into the concrete as part of its waste process. This material will then fill in cracks and holes within the concrete.

Self-repairing concrete is just one of many green building innovations. For more information about green building and how you can implement it into your home design, be sure to contact us at Trilogy Builds today.

This week, The Guardian’s Environmental Blog featured a story on the increasing number of New York City buildings with green rooftops. Aside from simply improving the view, these designs also improve the environment in the city know for its towering skyscrapers.

The green rooftop movement is still small, but it has put the idea and design on the mind of many architects lately. These architects have actually started including green rooftops in the designs of new buildings throughout the five boroughs instead of including them as an after-thought.

Green Rooftop Trilogy Partners
Analysts have cited green rooftops as a big help to absorb up to 70% of the excess rainwater that would otherwise runoff, causing drain systems in the city to flood with sewage.

Tax incentives and the environmental movement are helping New York City to catch up with cities like Chicago that embraced the green rooftop years ago. As more resources become available and costs go down, even more builders and architects will get in on the game. Green rooftops save so much money in the long run, they can be found in most LEED-certified buildings.

What do you think of the green rooftop movement? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Photo courtesy of The Guardian Environmental Blog

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) structures use only as much power as they are able to produce. For instance most structures use electricity. A ZNE building might have photovoltaic solar cells on the roof to produce that electricity.

During the summer months, when the panels produce more electricity than the structure requires, the excess is sold back to the utility grid. During the winter months, when the solar panels are less efficient or even covered with snow, electrical energy that was originally sold to the grid would be purchased providing the needed electrical energy. In this manner, the net consumption of grid tied energy is zero. And because most electrical utility grids rely on carbon based fuels, the carbon energy footprint of the structure approaches zero, something most would agree is good for the environment.

Oftentimes a variety of different systems power and support the ZNE structure. Take for example a zero net energy residential structure. Many decisions about what systems to incorporate into the home will be decided during the design phase often many months before construction actually begins. One focus of the design process is concerned with energy management and conservation while another focus of the design process is energy production and harvest. For instance, conservation focuses on developing super insulated wall and roof systems to prevent the loss of heat energy or to reduce cooling needs. To further recude the homes energy requirements, energy control systems such as automated lighting controls, occupancy sensors, and consumption monitoring systems, are designed. For energy production and harvest, passive and active solar systems are often utilized. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels may occupy much of the south facing roof surfaces. Geothermal, which harvest heat from the earth, may also be employed to heat the structure. Solar panels may also be used to heat water for domestic use or heating purposes. Small wind turbines may also be used to help power the structure.

One of the most important aspects of creating the ZNE structure is energy modeling. This takes place early in the design phase. It’s important to estimate accurately the energy requirements of the finished structure. An energy census is completed and sophisticated computer modeling is employed. Once the energy needs of the structure are estimated, systems can then be employed to provide enough energy to the structure so that it consumes no more than it produces and can indeed be called a ZNE building.

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