Materials Equipment Jobsite & Business Practices
Smaller is Better
  • Optimize use of interior space through careful design so that the overall building size and resource use in constructing and operating it are kept to a minimum
Design an energy efficient building.
  • Use high levels of insulation, high-performance windows, and tight construction.
  • In southern climates, choose glazings with low solar heat gain.
Design buildings to use renewable energy.
  • Passive solar heating, daylighting, and natural cooling can be incorporated cost-effectively into most buildings.
  • Consider solar water heating and photovoltaics, or design buildings for future panel installation.
  • If wood heating is an option, specify a low-emission wood stove or pellet stove.
Optimize material use.
  • Minimize waste by designing for standard sizes.
  • Avoid waste from structural over design by using optimum-value engineering/advanced framing.
Design water efficient, low maintenence landscaping.
  • Conventional lawns have a high impact because of water use, pesticide use, and pollution generated from mowing.
  • Landscape with drought resistant native plants and perennial ground covers.
Make it easy for occupants to recycle waste.
  • Make provisions for storage and processing of recyclables: recycling bins near the kitchen, undersink door mounted bucket with lid for compostable food waste, etc.
Look into the feasibility of gray water.
  • Water that has been used for bathing, dish washing, or clothes washing can be recycled for flushing toilets or irrigation in some areas.
  • If current codes prevent gray water recycling, consider designing the plumbing for easy future adaptation.
  • Rooftop water catchment for outdoor watering should be considered in many regions.
Design for future reuse and adaptability.
  • Make the structure adaptable to other uses, and choose materials and components that can be reused or recycled.
Avoid potential health hazards: radon, mold, pesticides.
  • Follow recommended practices to minimize radon entry into the building and provide for future mitigation if necessary.
  • Design insect-resistant detailing that will require minimal use of pesticides.


Content from Environmental Building News. Used with permission.
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