What are the benefits of a greener home?
The difference between green and conventional buildings is that green buildings offer healthier and more comfortable interior spaces, and include measures to reduce a building’s ecological footprint.
Energy, water and resource efficiency – This reduces pressure on scarce energy resources and decreases the greenhouse gas emissions implicated in climate change. Efficiency also applies to waste reduction and recycling that alleviates pollution and eases pressure on landfill sites. Greater efficiencies also lead to cost savings.
Health – A healthy house benefits its occupants and the environment. It responds to evolving household needs using a simple, sensible approach to construction, renovation and day-to-day operations.
Approximately 11% of BC’s annual greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the operation and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings. - Mind the Gap: A Blueprint for Climate Action in British Columbia. Pembina Institute, November 2007
Environmentally friendly design – By incorporating green into the design process, construction and retrofits can dramatically reduce their construction and operating environmental impact.
Livable communities – Greener buildings can contribute to greener communities by having lower water demands and producing less wastewater than conventional buildings, thus reducing demand on municipal services. See the greener community page for more benefits and information.
Cost and value – According to the McGraw-Hill Construction 2006 Green Building SmartMarket Report, homeowners believe green building will show decreases in operating costs between 8 and 9% across the industry and result in average increases in building values of around 7.5%, with an expected 6.6% improvement in return on investment.
In August 2007, Built Green™ BC estimated green homes cost 4-6% more to build than conventional homes.
More information on costs is available in The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings, presented to the California Sustainable Building Task Force in October 2003.
More information on value is available from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in an article entitled “Green Value - green buildings good for business.”
The Canadian Green Building Council offers a report that outlines the benefits of green buildings in Canada. This Business Case for Green Buildings also addresses the challenges and barriers facing the green building industry, and provides information on the growth of that industry in Canada.
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