Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Home Improvement




Green building industry is growing fast nowadays as countries across the world are concerned about high carbon emissions, especially in large, fast-growing economies such as China and India.

When municipalities within the states consider any construction during the past few years, almost all projects are focusing on green technology. Despite higher costs than traditional construction, it's good for the efficiency of energy consumption in long term.

Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. The concept of sustainable development can be traced to the energy (oil) crisis and the environment pollution concern in the 1970s.

The most criticized issue about constructing environmentally-friendly buildings is the price. Photo-voltaics, new appliances and modern technologies tend to cost more money. Most green buildings cost a premium of 2 percent, but yield 10 times as much over the entire life of the building. The stigma is between the knowledge of up-front cost vs. life-cycle cost. The savings in money come from more efficient use of utilities which result in decreased energy bills. Also, higher worker or student productivity can be factored into savings and cost deductions. Studies have shown over a 20-year life period, some green buildings have yielded $53- to $71-per-square-foot back on investment. It is projected that different sectors could save $130 billion on energy bills. (Source wiki).

How much does green construction add to the cost of a new home?

A common argument is that building green will turn out to be cheaper for you in the long run. First, let's discuss what green building involves: resource efficiency, energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

Resource efficiency is the worth of a product in the big picture. How many natural resources does a material use? Can it be reused or recycled? Can that recycled use be the same quality or better than the original? How long will the material last?

Energy efficiency includes the embodied energy to make a product and how much energy it takes to use it.

Indoor air quality must also be taken into account. For some people and some climates, this aspect of green building takes on more importance. Now let's look at some cost-saving ideas for each of these categories.

There are lots of wonderful opportunities to buy beautiful green products, from lovely salvaged wood full of character to sparkly recycled glass tile, all of which may or may not be more expensive than an equivalent standard product.

First, though, you must make some basic choices about where to build and how to maximize the site and building to create beauty and harmony, heat and cool the house naturally and save on resources.

Contractors accustomed to green building generally tell people to estimate 10 to 15 percent more expense when doing green building.
This extra money is due largely to the higher cost of certified lumber, the higher labor costs involved in using recycled products, and better quality manufacturing to achieve efficiency and durability.

Shubhang K. Patel, president of SAVITARA – General Contractors in Florida, can be reached at 1-800-245-9944 or e-mail at info@savitara.com. Orlando (407.427.2098). Tampa Bay (727.437.2098). Lakeland (863.438.1098). Lake County (352.578.1144).

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