Real Estate Developer TJ Rinomato shares his insights on why going green is good for our environment, our health and our wallet.
How does home construction impact climate change and what’s being done to make the process more sustainable?
The construction industry takes a toll on the environment from the way we produce materials, to the energy required to build homes, to the emissions of the substances, and the inefficiencies costing homeowners and municipalities to maintain them.
To combat this, there is now a worldwide commitment for 100 per cent of buildings to operate at net zero carbon by 2050, and for all new buildings to operate at net zero carbon by 2030.
When it comes to home ownership, there are many terms mentioned like: green, smart, sustainable, net zero, and zero energy. What do they all mean when buying a new home?
There are so many terms, so many movements and organizations, and overall information floating around that it can lead to much confusion. Educating the industry and public is a large part of the challenge. ‘Greenwashing,’ the term used when products and practices fall short of environmental claims, have a serious impact on consumer understanding.
The primary focus is for new a new-home construction to be airtight, well insulated, and so energy efficient that it produces as much renewable energy as it consumes. This is called a “net zero home.” Zero energy bills are not possible; however, renewable energy production can offset utility costs.
A lot of research shows homebuyers are willing to pay more for a newly built or renovated greener home. What are the costs and benefits?
The construction industry has come a long way in how it builds and renovates sustainable housing. All elements of your home – the building envelope, mechanical systems, interior and exterior, and even the occupants – have become so reliant on each other, our solutions must too.
Through integrated design, technologies, materials and practices, the cost of an energy efficient home after government incentives is approximately five per cent – ten per cent higher than a comparable home built to code. Even though the efficient features are slightly more expensive, thanks to lower energy bills, these homes cost less to maintain and repair with the potential of higher resale values.
In addition to reducing operation costs, environmental footprint, and resulting in healthier indoor environments, net-zero homes are ultra-comfortable and ultra-quiet.
What approach should homeowners take to make their homes greener?
A green home is a combination of healthier, energy efficient, environmentally friendly decisions that are always going to be based on affordability.
Whether you’re planning minor upgrades or major renovations, first focus on energy conservation to help lower your bills. One of the best ways is an ‘airtight’ home that keeps heat in during the winter and cold in during the summer. This is achieved through the proper insulation of your roof, walls, doors, windows, and foundation.
Purchasing energy efficient appliances throughout your home will help to lower your energy costs further. Consider using more sustainable materials such as low emission cabinets, flooring, cement and caulking. As well as low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, or even recycled materials. Always try to buy materials locally.
Check out the Rinomato Group of Companies.
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