The most responsible constructors strive to achieve a building that complies with LEED and can be considered as green. The one area that still requires improvement in order to achieve a totally environmentally friendly property is in the power resources used and here we take a look at the concept of green construction and alternative energy sources.
What is LEED?
LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized green building program. It is a voluntary consensus-based program that provides third party verification of green buildings. Companies and individuals that participate in this voluntary scheme are demonstrating a commitment to leadership, innovation and a fair degree of social responsibility.
How it Works
In order for a building to achieve a LEED certification a construction project to build a new home must earn a minimum of 45 points based on a 136 point scale. You can find out more about the criteria at http://new.usgbc.org/leed/certification/ but the overall opinion is that any building that can be certified as having met the criteria will help boost the credentials and reputation of the constructor and help the homeowner maintain an advantage over similar properties that do not meet the standard.
Renewable Energy Sources
About one third of U.S homes now have some sort of choice when it comes to how a retail customer’s energy is supplied. Renewable energy sources are basically energy sources that can be continually replenished and include energy from water, wind, the sun, geothermal sources and even biomass sources such as energy crops. The obvious advantage over traditional sources of energy such as coal, oil and natural gas is that once a deposit of these fuels has been depleted there is no way of them being replenished. The cost-effectiveness of renewable energy and indeed their availability will vary across the country according to location, climate and weather conditions. A property built near to the coast will probably be able to harness wind power more cheaply whereas a sunnier climate would almost certainly benefit from solar power, but all sources of energy have a cost to bear, that despite the fact that the energy is free there is understandably a cost involved in harnessing that power.
In addition to following the many positive points and features laid out in the LEED criteria the homeowner can achieve further peace of mind that they are as environmentally friendly as possible by choosing to power their home with a renewable energy source, despite the fact that it may presently cost slightly more than conventional fossil fuel energy. Solar Power is continuing to grow as an alternative energy source and technology is improving all the time which will reduce the cost of hooking your property up and as maintenance techniques improve, ongoing costs should also become less over a period of time. Wind Power helps the environment by producing electricity without producing pollution and this is another potential source of green energy for your property.
If you want to LEED the way and live in a property that is almost totally environmentally friendly, then a slightly higher cost at present for using alternative energy is probably a price well worth paying.
Yogesh Mankani is a building engineer who specialises in environmental constructions. He enjoys sharing his insights and knowledge through blogging. Visit SaveOnEnergy for more information.