Government Incentives Boost Green Real Estate in Ontario

At a recent seminar I attended about Green Real Estate, I heard about the challenges some home-sellers faced when they tried to sell energy efficient features of their home. These sellers received zero dollar value for a $ 35,000.00 solar energy system on the resale of their homes! The buyers were interested in the energy saving features, but not willing to put a dollar value towards the improvements.

The Ontario government is leading the way to energy reform by tipping a new Bill 101 – Home Energy Audit Act 2008, an act respecting energy rating for specified residential buildings. This Energy Rating Act, if passed by Ontario Government, will require anyone selling a house or low-rise building to distribute the results of a home-energy audit to prospective buyers. New homes will also come with energy ratings.

Responsible home owners will finally benefit from retrofitting their homes with energy saving features. Homes that require less energy will increase in property value. Home efficiency ratings will create a demand for new and resale homes that use less energy, extremely increasing their property value compared with less-efficient homes and pressuring new home builders to go beyond minimum building code standards.

In addition, the government is providing funds to help home owners make their homes more efficient. At this time the government will pay 50% (up to $ 150.00) for a home energy audit and then a further amount towards certain projects submitted in the audit report. The energy grants can also be combined with the new Federal Canadian Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $ 1350.00.

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Climate Change – Impacts on the Development of Real Estate

The fact that climate change will affect our future does not need introduction. Our buildings and infrastructure are important elements in how we influence and adapt to the changes associated with climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions during construction and operation, climate change resilience and changes in the way people will organize their lives are all important factors to consider when preparing to develop new real estate.

To a certain extent these factors are being considered in most new development projects. The partial provision of energy through low carbon technologies is becoming the norm as part of the planning application process for major development. Standards controlling the way flood risk assessments are carried out out into account future precipitation patterns. These considerations are often driven by current requirements from planning authorities or other statutory bodies and focus on the greenhouse gas element of climate change management.

Appraising the effects of climate change on development projects will gain in importance and a strategic and pro-active approach to its integration in the management of these projects has many benefits. These include the improved management of risks, for instance by providing protection against litigation for failing to take into account known future risks, the protection of future asset values ​​and strengthening a forward looking reputation of the organization.

The near future will see significant changes in the way climate change is being addressed within development projects. The awareness of client organizations and local planning authorities about the effects climate change will have on the future usability of buildings is increasing rapidly. This will lead to a range of new requirements, tools and assessment methodologies that professionals within the property development sector can not afford to miss.

Considering climate change in real estate development projects should be considered a strategic issue. At an early stage in the project a developer should prepare a project climate change strategy and consider three issues:

  1. How can the greenhouse gas emissions as part of the development be reduced?
  2. How will a changing climate effect the usability of my building?
  3. Is the building required in its currently proposed form in the mid to long term future?

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Eco Home Tips – Checklist For Your Next Green Home

Looking to buy or rent a green home? These days, lots of green homes are going on the market as sellers and landlords recognize they're in demand. But how is one to know which homes are truly green?

Here's a checklist of features to look out for and questions to ask to determine the green quality of your next home.

Eco Home Tip 1 – Location Location Location – pick a location that's convenient and easy to get to. Close to shops, amenities and public transport will reduce the amount of emissions that come from getting around. Inquire about the council's recycling program.

Eco Home Tip 2 – Orient yourself with the right orientation – if a house is to have good eco principles, it will be designed with the right orientation. This means that the living areas will face due north, to make the most of the winter sun while allowing the hotter summer sun to pass overhead. Sleeping rooms, meanwhile, will be directed towards the South to capture cool summer breezes.

Eco Home tip 3 – Cozy is not a four letter word – consider how the space is used as much as the size of it. Oversized homes utilizes more resources in both construction and maintenance, while smaller dwellings are cleverly conceivable can feel quite spacious.

Eco Home Tip 4 – Inquire about insulation – ask about the insulation. Higher R values ​​means the house will better protected against extreme weather elements. See if the windows are double glazed. While you're at it, ask about other green home features such as solar panels and solar hot water. Make your message loud and clear!

Eco Home Tip # 11 Good green help – there are a few Australian green realtors, such as ecoproperty, who specialize in green listings. Check the Green Pages green directory for real estate agents who will help you find the perfect green home.

The important thing is to ask before you buy. Even if the real estate agent can not tell you upfront, it's important to let the market know that buyers and renters are looking for this bit of information. While no single home will have all of the sustainable features listed, at least you can get a clear picture of what the potential home has to offer.

Look for more Eco Home ideas at the Green Pages.

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Find Out Why Designing Eco Friendly Homes is a Great Choice

Eco friendly homes can be great investments. Not only are they helpful to the environment, they are also very valuable financial wise. Homeowners who go green can save a lot of money on their electric bill each month. They can also increase the worth of their home and sell it for a lot of money.

If you want an eco friendly home, you'll be glad to know that customization has never been easier. You can even build your own solar panels or wind generators if you wish. The plans are on the internet, and the parts are not hard to come by at all. You can order kits online that contain all the parts necessary for getting started.

Another simple way to make an eco friendly home is to use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use almost 75% less energy than the standard kind. On top of that, they can last eight times longer! This means that you can save a lot of money on energy costs over the months.

Try not to waste water. You can achieve this by installing showerheads designed for low flows. Since you'll be wasting less water every time you shower, you'll be saving a lot of money. You should also check your faucets to make sure they do not need repaired. Leaks can cost you a lot more money than you may realize.

One great way you can work on an eco friendly home is by using more fans. Exhaust fans can help alleviate unwanted moisture inside your house during summer months. And in the winter, ceiling fans can force heat down from the ceiling, which will help keep you warm. By using more fans, you can save both on air conditioning during the summer and heat in the winter!

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Downtown Living Offers Greener Options For Residents

Preference in home ownership tend to be cyclical. For decades people looked to the suburbs and emerging areas of major cities for living options, generally because larger properties could have had reasonable costs. These days, however, we see a shift toward urban space and a down-scaling of personal items. Choosing to live downtown, in fact, can make for a greener existence and help lessen your carbon footprint.

The Advantages of Downtown Living – the Green Way

Commuting to work seemed less than a hassle when gas prices were affordable. If you work in the downtown area, chances are buying or renting a condo or loft may have greater appeal. A shorter trip to work, augmented by public transportation or purely the chance at some exercise, definitely proves a more eco-friendly lifestyle. As downtown residences develop, so do surrounding city blocks by establishing grocery stores, boutiques, doctors' offices, and other services. An extensive tour of your downtown with a qualified real estate agent can reveal the convenience of living close to work – daily necessities are provided provided, plus options for entertainment and recreation may increase if your city's stays concert and sport venues in the vicinity. This could allow you to keep your car in storage or, better yet, sell it and do not have to worry about insurance or payments.

As the average loft or apartment within the city may average between a thousand and fifteen hundred square feet, you'll find there may not be enough room to house everything you own. Cutting down on personal items and furniture makes for a more environmentally friendly living space – the less you own, the less energy is required to sustain your home. Add on some green appliances and fixtures like low-flow plumbing, hardwood floors, and eco-friendly lighting and you could save big on utility bills, too!

As a healthy living option, the urban lifestyle has its benefits. If you work in a major downtown area and are done with the lengthy, nerve-wracking commute, consider a closer move to treat not only your sanity, but your wallet.

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Green Homes – Are Kit Homes a Good Choice For Green Housing?

In today's environmentally conscious world, we are hearing more about green homes, or environmentally friendly housing. Where do kit homes (also called modular housing or transportable homes) fall into this picture? Well, it all depends on what kind of kit home you choose; what kind of materials, what kind of energy you use and the policies of the company you purchase from. However, the point we will focus on in this article is that these homes are potentially one of the “greenest” types of home you can purchase.

The main reasons people usually consider kit homes are cost and convenience. Kit or modular homes are faster to build; actually, they are pre-manufactured, so they kindly have to be put together and delivered. They tend to be cheaper to buy than most other housing, certainly compared to having a traditional house built.

Kit or transportable homes used to be synchronous with trailers or mobile homes, which were not very energy efficient -or attractive. Today's transportable homes are much better insulated and are in many cases hardier and require less maintenance than other homes. This is an important factor when it comes to green or environmental concerns. You can even get kit homes that are solar heated.

Kit homes can be made of many types of material. If you want to practice green living, you can find a company that uses recycled materials. Some build kit homes using sustainable steel or other metals. Even companies that use wood can be environmentally friendly, if they get their materials in a way that follows the principles of sustainable forestry.

The reason that kit homes are good candidates for green or environmentally friendly housing is that they tend to be cheap, compact and energy efficient. This means that it takes less labor and energy to build them in the first place, and less energy to keep them running. Of course, as a homeowner, these are important to your economic well being as well as the environment.

It's not possible to make a broad generalization about kit homes, of course, as they cover a wide variety of homes. However, the point is that if you do research and are looking for a home that is both low cost and green friendly, you may want to start off looking at kit or modular housing as an option.

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Eco Friendly Property in Dubai

The construction boom in Dubai is not something you'd normally associate with the phrase Eco-Friendly, but there is one area of ​​Dubai that will be built with sustainability and the environment in mind – Dubai Waterfront.

Dubai Waterfront is located on the west side of Dubai (towards Abu Dhabi) and when complete will be twice the size of Hong Kong and home to over 1.5 million people.

Dubai Waterfront is aiming to be the world's first Ecopolis, and the development motto is – “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time”.

Intelligent city planning will include comprehensive pedestrian and public transport systems to minimize the length of car travel in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions.

Water management will rely on recycled water for ventilation and cooling systems. The infrastructure will have low ecological impact and the city will be serviced by a modern co-generative system for power supply. These are just a few of the many innovations that will make Dubai Waterfront the benchmark for green development.

All individual developments will have to adhere to LEED Gold Certification. Pixel Tower and Wave Residences are examples of the former. Pixel Tower is an 18 floor tower with futuristic cyber-architecture design, while Wave Residence is a low-rise development located directly on the beach.

Omniyat Properties' Beachfront Living is another example. This development will become one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai Waterfront which again adheres to the highest standards in sustainability.

Dubai has been criticized by some environmentalists for the minimum use of solar-panels (considering there is no shortage of sun), and huge energy wasting for the purification of water for lakes and fountains in the city.

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Go Green With Your Dream House

More and more people are trying to be eco-friendly and are going “green” in their approach in almost whatever they do in life. Ashville architects have gone a mile ahead by introducing a new concept in architecture called as “green architecture”.

What Is Green Architecture?

The word may sound interesting, but do not be misled by its literal meaning. Green architecture is a method of designing a house keeping the environment in mind. This is done by constructing an environmentally friendly and energy efficient house.

While constructing an eco-friendly home, aspects like passive solar design, active solar design, rain water collection, green roofs, daylight lighting and high performance envelopes are considered.

In the city of Ashville architects consider the most important factors that influence our future and the sustainability of our natural environment. They use simple green building techniques in order to reduce the negative impact of construction and in turn enhance the human and natural surroundings in which we live.

Principals Used In Green Architecture

Ashville architects follow certain principals while constructing a green building. They first orient the building appropriately as per the topography and day lighting. This is followed by efficient planning and design for economic usage of space and implementing renewable energy wherever it is practicable possible.

What Should A Green Architect Know

It is very easy to find an architect but definitely not a green architect. This type of architect should be in a position to advise you about how to make your building energy efficient. He should also be efficient enough to translate your ideas into reality by using both architectural and common sense. He needs to use the modern and up-to-date technology to prove his efficiency at work.

Lastly, since this is eco-friendly architecture, it must use materials like solar panels, earth friendly materials like stone, wood etc, thermal mass building construction and if possible even recycled goods like bottles, tires and so on.

Materials Used

Typically, local and regional sources are used while building an environment friendly structure. The builders tend to incorporate durable, low maintenance materials, low embodied energy materials like stone and wood while building this kind of house.

The best part about this kind of architecture is that it incorporates permeable surfaces and uses native plants and existing surfaces wherever possible thereby making it eco-friendly. The main aim of this type of architecture is to minimize construction waste; use certified or reclaimed wood, recycled and recyclable materials.

Ashville architects are famous for using water for efficient fixtures and appliances, incorporating rain water collection and reusing gray water for irrigation and landscaping. They have been doing these things for over 20 years now.

Know The Advantages

Besides being eco-friendly, this type of constructions holds more advantages. This helps protect trees and topsoil during site work, filters storm water on site, employ sediment and erosion control techniques.

Being eco-friendly in nature, it helps in creating a healthy indoor air quality, providing ample ventilation and enhancements fresh air supply. It uses less toxic materials as far as the finishing materials are concerned. It also helps the building in getting natural light.

Last but not the least; remember it is the design and construction that makes a perfect building. A building is ideal only when it sustains and most importantly is eco-friendly.

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Why Indoor Air Quality Control Can Be a Deal Maker Or Breaker For “Green” Home Buyers

What value do home buyers put on indoor air quality? I think I know the answer. But before I weigh in, let's pret you are searching for a home to buy. You find two houses in the same neighborhood and each looks good. Both are about the same price and both fit your family's needs. But one home has an invisible advantage that may save you thousands of dollars in health care costs.

The hypothetical home I'm talking about has excellent indoor air quality. I can guarantee and prove as much, because we serviced and certified the home. The other home is a different matter. Perhaps it has passed a state-mandated radon test, but beyond that there are no guarantees that the indoor air quality is acceptable and will remain that way.

Now here's the big question: how much more would you pay for the home that comes with a guarantee of excellent indoor air quality?

In many cases, the answer today is probably zero. Here lies the problem, because despite increased health care costs and more awareness of contaminants in our dwellings, as a society we have yet to find a way to promote this potential increase in the market value of a clean air home. Knowing the connection between proper lower level moisture control and air quality, we as waterproofing contractors need to bring this link to the public.

My college Richard Walter, the CEO and owner of A + Engineering Construction in Gardnerville, Nevada, knows what I know: indoor air quality does not sell – yet. He also can tell you that following state-mandated tests does not necessarily guarantee you a long healthy life.

“My concern is the government has taken anadequate approach. In Nevada I can call the University of Reno and ask for a radon test today. But that does not mean my house will be safe two years from now.”

Walter believes our nation suffers from an epidemic of poor quality of air in residences. That's because too often home buyers do not test for mold, a serious enemy of indoor air quality caused by moisture, or they do not see moisture remediation as an essential, ongoing task.

“Our company takes the approach that all homes are contaminated because we now add more insulation and close up our homes tighter and tighter as we become more energy efficient. greater than 50% relative humidity) in the foundation and crawl spaces to exist. ” We are also not effectively preventing pollutants, such as radon gas and other soil gases, from entering the house via the porous basement floor and / or unsealed crawlspace.

Basement waterproofing contractors and crawl space sealing and insulation installers can help to educate homeowners. In addition, housing contractors may be willing to use indoor air control techniques in basics and crawl spaces when building new homes – but only if they believe home buyers will pay the extra money for a safer environment. Even if the necessary steps are not taken during initial construction, basement waterproofers should promote that the damage to air quality can be addressed with after-construction methods.

I salute the Green Movement. It has turned an important corner. Public awareness and common sense have merged. Now Green innovators can finally enjoy a win-win market advantage. Meanwhile, I'm hopeful that one day indoor air quality will be a deal maker or breaker. But how will I know?

Picture this: I'm finally ready to retire, sell my house and move to Aspen. I put my family home on the market and ask for a firm $ 285,000. Then a knowledgeable young husband and wife pull me away and whisper, “We'll give you $ 300,000 if you can guarantee the indoor air quality.” When that happens, we'll know our message has been received.

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Park Model Mobile Home Living – Put it Anywhere You Want

A park model mobile home is usually mobile only once in its life … the trip from factory to slab. You usually envision the slab being at a park with several hundred other park models. That is OK for most folks, but how about putting the park model mobile home on some land you own.

But there are not any utilities, what will I do?

When we lived on our sailboat, we came to realize how little you needed to live and live well. The sailboat was in the Caribbean, so you did not need heat. We also had no need for AC. Can you have AC on a boat … sure.

If you paid for dock space you had access to “shore power” and could run AC. We anchored out, at no cost thank you, 90% of the time and let the sea breeze keep us cool … the only exception was the time we spent in Trinidad. We had to enjoy Carnival, so we hung at the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club docks.

When at anchor we found that our two 75 watt solar panels and wind generator supplied us with all the power we needed. You do not need that much power either.

We had an energy footprint of about 100 to 120 amp hours per day. That means we were using about 5 amps per hour. 4 amps of that was ours 12 volt refrigerator with a freezer of about 5 cu feet. Our ice box was huge; the drinks were always ice cold. We lived and ate like kings and queens. So can you, without using much power.

With a park model mobile home you can live off the grid and live well.

Dig a well, install a septic tank, arrange for propane and you are pretty well set. The propane can be used for a propane refrig / freezer, heating and cooking.

Solar panels, maybe a wind gen, some batteries, an inverter and you are set to watch TV, use the computer, and have lights.

Do not think you have geographical limitations on where to put your park model mobile home. If you really want to live in a certain spot, you will be surprised at how you can meet your energy / utility needs.

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Toronto Condos Being Built More Energy Efficient

Toronto is going green. I'm sure you've noticed a large majority of Grocery stores in Toronto are now encouraging shoppers to bring their own recyclable grocery bags. As well, Torontonians took part in the earth hour which demonstrates that we are becoming more aware of our environment. Did you ever think about living your every day life more green? Well now you can as Toronto has jumped on green band wagon with over over 2,000 green condos units.

You're probably wondering what exactly makes a condo building green. Well for example TAS DesignBuild, also Green Builder of the Year, is currently building a Green condo called the M5V, located on King at Blue Jays Way in Toronto. They have included motion sensor light switches in the common areas of the condo, energy efficient appliances, dual flush toilets and a roof top rainwater retroval system with on-site water recycling just to name a few. Living Green can also mean better indoor air quality as developers use low-emission products when installing hardwood, painting etc. Living green means residents can enjoy energy savings of up to 25% which results in lower utility bills, less strain on our energy supply and by reducing green house emissions. All these elements contribute to increasing resale property values.

To encourage Toronto developers to build green condos, the Better Buildings Partnership- New Construction (BBP-NC) provides incentives and technical support. The goal of the BBP-NC is to encourage and assist condo developers to design and build condos in a more energy efficient manner and not to just meet the minimum standards as set out by the Ontario Building Code.

So next time you are in the market for a condo, why not be good to yourself and the environment and think Green.

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The Pro-Active Build Green Mentality

There are many reasons to build green. There remains only one outdated reason not to build green. Cost has always been the largest, most tangible objection to the shift towards sustainability.

Cost resistance is losing its credibility. Cost at the expense of the environment and accompanied by high energy costs no longer makes sense, or is that cents.

The Obama Administration has invested in the green movement. Government has shown unprecedented support for the value and future of sustainable construction. The Obama stimulus package has set in motion plans to create about 3.5 million green energy jobs over the next two years. The private sector has been slower than the public sector to respond to the merits of green construction.

Not all private sector's cost resistance is unfounded. In the formative years of the green movement, sustainable technology costs were prohibitive. These costs required a true commitment to the future and to the green movement. The return on investment was lacking. However, as sustainable technology has evolved and as demand for equipment has increased, the cost of the technology has declined substantively.

Reports from the National Association of Realtors indicate the costs related to sustainable, green construction have decreed appreciably. Recent estimates put new green construction costs at 1-1.5% above traditional construction costs. Meanwhile, energy savings range can yield a 15-35% savings.

In the 1970's, the green movement began to gain momentum. In those early years, the principles of sustainable construction tended to be localized and lacking in definition. What was green to one developer was a waste of time and money to another.

Over time, architects, real estate companies, property owners and construction companies compiled both tangible and theoretical research that have made sense of the principle of going green.

The green ideal preserves and restores habitat while ultimately producing and exporting resources, materials, energy and water instead of consuming these products. It is a lofty goal. As applied to green building, the principles strive to create a building which life of operation assures a healthy work and living environment while maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing the disruption of the land, water, energy and resources. Green site locations should be minimally invasive and as closely restored to their natural condition as possible upon completion of the project.

Experienced green developers and architects have discovered that the gerner the commitment, the greater the savings and the greater the property appreciation. Green is now in demand. Tenants want a healthy and responsible environment, and they are willing to pay for it.

To control construction costs, developers should make concept decisions early. Defining the environmental objectives allows for effective construction management but also avoids expensive changes as the construction proceeds. What developers learn is that each green component is supported by another green decision. Proper insulation and use of light and solar power reduce the cost of the heating and cooling system. Proper water retention can reduce operating costs and consumption. Developers should procure a thorough site analysis and work with their architects to maximize the green return.

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The Five Elements of Green Design

Successful sustainable construction begins with a design that addresses each of the following five central elements of green building design.

  • Sustainable Site Design
  • Water Conservation and Quality
  • Energy and Environment
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Conservation of Materials and Resources

To assure the integrity of the design and the future sustainable exit, integration of green technology within each of those core design elements is critical. For example, the interrelationship between the site orientation, the water conservation program, the use of natural energy sources, the quality of natural sunlight inside the building all affect the building's need for materials and energy sources. In fact, the ideal design brings all the elements together over and over again.

Integrating the design elements requires recognition of several principles of sustainability and the application of these principles to the site analysis:

  • Reduce urban sprawl and destruction of land
  • Promote higher density urban development
  • Pursue brownfield development to save exiting green space
  • Minimize site disturbance and restore natural habitat

Below are hints for consideration with each element.

Sustainable Site Design

  • Only select a new site when necessary
  • When a new site is necessary, do not choose a site that is critical to the local eco-system
  • Orient the building to on the site to utilize natural resources like solar energy
  • Select a site that allows access to mass transit
  • Minimize the building's footprint by using existing surfaces, lightening roof color and using natural shading

Water Conservation and Quality

  • Realize that orientation of the proposed building that allows for natural drainage is often the least expensive way to improve the location
  • Be certain that the site assessment captures the natural hydrological attributes
  • Allow for the use of low-impact storm water retention
  • Set a water budget and implement features that help achieve the budget
  • Improve water conservation and quality by utilizing indigenous trees, plants and turf that do not require irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides

Energy and Environment

  • Maximize passive solar orientation
  • Reduce the need for artificial lighting by planning to use natural sunlight whenever possible
  • Use exterior insulation to maximize the performance of the exterior envelope
  • Use natural ventilation
  • Use Energy Star energy efficient appliances
  • Use new-age lighting products and settings
  • Research all the new energy technologies

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Protect the building's interior during the construction process
  • Make the building smoke-free
  • Maximize the used of daylight sunlight
  • Make sure that all interior finishes are environmentally friendly and safe
  • Design a healthy heating, cooling and ventilating system

Materials and Resources

  • Use engineer designed high stress materials which strength reduces the quantity of used materials
  • Use recycled materials whenever possible
  • Use materials that can be recycled when their functional life has elapsed
  • Support the local economy and reduce the transportation of materials by using local providers of local products

The five major elements, from sustainable sites to materials and resources are also considered in the US Green Building Council's LEED building certification. Whether considering that certification or just interested in green building, the above points to consider can make a huge difference in returns, cost and the environment.

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The Sustainable Site

In 2005, a consortium of concerned groups composed benchmark standards for Sustainable Site development. This initiative was designed to provide developers, designers, owners, builders and government agencies criteria by which existing and new sites could be modified to sustainable standards.

Consortium participants included representatives from 11 private and public organizations. The steering committee was supervised of 30 experts from construction, development and architectural fields as well as government officials. The result was the creation of the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks and a Reference Guide for the landscape industry.

Between 2007 and 2009, these standards have been utilized for practical applications. Feedback from these applications has been delivered in expansion and refinements to the sustainable sustainable site guidelines.

Prominent organizations represented in the development of the original standards are the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden, the US Green Building Council, the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenScapes Program, the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers' Environment and Water Resources Institute.

The consortium's goal was to establish viable standards by which developers could reduce the impact of buildings on the environment through the implementation of sustainable landscape and site planning. The sustainable site benchmark system incorporated green site design concepts, green maintenance concepts and environmental research in establishing tangible values ​​for responsible development.

The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks are founded upon the principle that a sustainable site is the result of a merger between economic, environmental and social considerations. This merge serves to benefit all three components.

Since the 2005 initiative, local planning boards and government agencies have embroidered sustainable site and overall development concepts. While the Obama Administration has charged the Office of General Services with oversight capabilities, state and local Governments have begun implementing ways to reduce energy consumption and increase the use of green concepts in local communities.

The clustering of homes to prevent urban sprawl and reserve open spaces, the selection of commercial sites with easy public transport access and overall low-density land use for both residential and commercial projects have been included in local policy modalities. Many planning boards now offer incentives and rewards to developers who aggressively reserve open areas by including ever-green park areas in their site plans.

Brownfields are defined as abandoned or underutilized properties which redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The evolution of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act reflects the furtherance of the sustainable site initiative. The EPAS estimates there are minimally 500,000 Brownfields in the US

By carefully recycling our site locations, the country can begin to correct the wasteful practices of the past and move toward a sustainable future.

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Sustainable Architecture

A new report from sustainable advocate Environment America details a plan to make the country's commercial buildings more energy aware and efficient. The environmental group states that compliance with its plan by the year 2030 will save enough energy to power all the country's existing homes, vehicles and businesses for 1.5 years.

The plan sounds simple enough. Architectural changes incorporating new-age energy technologies into the design of renovated and new commercial buildings and especially in the implementation of new-age high-efficiency technology building systems would result in new buildings using 50% less energy over the next 10 years. By 2030, these systems would begin to generate as much energy as they consume.

The report goes further. Acceptance of these architectural changes would reduce US carbon emissions by at least 34% by the year 2050.

Continuing with traditional design strategies is a dangerous alternative. Currently, commercial design has created an energy nightmare while 70% of all US energy is used in the country's workplaces. The Obama Administration's stimulus package includes $ 65 billion in funding and tax credits as incentives to include energy efficiency in new designs.

The emergence of a new design term, building-integrated renewable energy (BIRE), has stimulated-reward repercussions. Architects report that BIRE technology is now available to create “smart buildings” that will reduce energy consumption by as much as 50%.

Typically, the construction costs related to these technologies are higher than installation costs for traditional, less energy efficient systems. Recent analysis by real estate developers shows that the increased start up costs are recovered in the very short term through the reduced energy operating costs.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the popularity of sustainable design is ringing true for tenants and building owners. Even in the current recession, healthy, efficient works accommodated by usable green areas is in demand. Businesses and their employees view sustainable design as happy work areas.

Additionally, the NAR reports that the values ​​of commercial properties featuring sustainable design are appreciating at a faster rate than the value of traditionally designed properties. This puts a win-win scenario in front of today's sustainable architects. In today's real estate market, location remains a big factor in establishing value, but energy efficiency and a healthy work environment have come to be appreciable commodities.

In a recent report from the US Green Building Council, there are currently more than 14,000 projects featuring new-age sustainable components in progress around the globe. These projects compose more than one billion square feet. The sustainable project sites are located in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries.

A major supporter of sustainable development is the McGraw-Hill Corporation, who released the following statement: “The overall green building market (both non-residential and residential) is likely to more than double from today's $ 36-49 billion to $ 96-140 billion in 2013. ” 82% of corporate America is expected to be greening at least 16% of their real estate capitals. “New designs in sustainable architecture will lead the way.

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