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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.
Environmental Building News.
Used with permission.
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