Myths of Sustainable Building

Myth 1:  Sustainable building is for tree huggers
Sustainable building has gone beyond the hippie movement and been embraced in Europe.  There are also many different standards that constitute sustainable building, from changing to CFC/LED lightbulbs to installing super-insulation and solar voltaic panels that feed back into the grid for net positive energy.

While some us of find sustainable living and giving up that extra serving of meat REALLY difficult (me!), adopting sustainable measures in a home doesn’t have to be a pain.  Developers and contractors can adhere to a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

Myth 2: Sustainable building will break the bank
Some sustainable building components cost more but many cost less. It’s easier and less expensive to incorporate features that significantly lower operating and maintenance costs. Adding a few low U-factor windows and investing in insulation does cost money, but the rewards on the other side of the ledger are far more substantial, initially and over the life of the house.

If developers can responsibly balance their budgets,  we can meet all building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.  More importantly, it can be made affordable for lower-to-middle income families.  Check out The Belfield Homes in North Philadelphia, a 3-unit townhome development on track to be the first certified Passive House (green-living) for subsidized housing.

Myth 3: Sustainable building is just plain ugly
Not all sustainable buildings have to look like tree-houses or modular containers covered in solar panels.  A sustainable home can look just like any other conventional one and work within existing architecture.  Most homes in the Chicagoland area tend to be historic in nature and we believe it’s important to preserve existing facades and architectural details to complement the neighborhood.  Moreover the energy consumption used to rehab an existing building is much less than new construction.

Myth 4: Sustainable building won’t have an impact
Not true.  According to the US EPA, in the United States buildings account for:
39 percent of total energy use
12 percent of the total water consumption
68 percent of total electricity consumption
38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions

The built environment has a vast impact on the natural environment, human health, and the economy. By adopting sustainable building strategies, we can maximize both economic and environmental performance.

Sustainable building doesn’t just apply to higher-income homes.  Energy efficiency should be a priority for all home improvement work these days.  Given a little more education and commitment, developers can make it work for lower-to-middle income families.  Sucasa is here to make that happen.

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One Response to Myths of Sustainable Building

  1. Greg says:

    Great article!

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