CFLs and LEDs, ENERGY STARS, and earth-friendly homes—these buzz words say green is the preferred color of construction today. As natural resources dwindle, civilizations adapt to sustain their existence. But it takes more than walls and a roof to build a sustainable future. Tomorrow also relies on efficient use of clean, affordable, reliable energy. High country living in the 21st century meets the challenges with innovation, technology, and élan.
Early environmentally-responsible shelters include tipis and yurts; rammed earth tires and straw bale walls. As construction costs soar, recycle advocates recite their mantra: Reduce, Renew, Recycle, and build or rebuild in innovative,sustainable ways. With the “Built Green” movement of the 1990s, contractors worked with earth conservators to incorporate clean, efficient construction practices and designs. Contractor Phil Bailey began his Build Green construction career with a straw bale home for a friend.
“I saw the enthusiasm of the earth-friendly practitioners and was caught up in it. Green is a part of being environmentally-friendly because you are conscientious and pay attention to detail,” he said. As a contractor he prefers to be a part of the design decisions. “Orientation to the south, Low-e glass and clear glass selection, stack-framing, which uses 24-inch centers for wall studs, more insulation, these are all important aspects of a systems approach to building.” Bailey believes, “It does not cost any more to build green."
This house utilizes photovoltaic panels to produce electricity and tubular panels for hot water.
Courtesy Alternative Power Enterprises.
Homebuilders can reduce their square footage and multi-task their space, thereby reducing their cost and saving money, not only in construction, but in energy sustainability. “It’s the right thing to do,” Bailey said. “The more we educate the public, the more aware the public will become. Then we have a chance at reducing our impact on limited resources.”
ENERGY, SOLAR, GEOTHRMAL, ENVIORNMENAL