Is there a Green Mortgage?
Yes! Unfortunately, only 3 lenders currently offer this new kind of loan, with less than 25% of mortgage brokers aware that green mortgages even exist. The borrower won’t have to pay for this new incentive, as the lenders are starting to offer more competitive rates. Title companies are starting to offer a donation on settlement statements to environmentally friendly organizations. Green mortgages are becoming a new trend as our world becomes more aware of its changing environment.
Finding a Green Home
Where can you find a brand new Green Home? Simply take a look around Western North Carolina. It has everything from green built real estate developments to energy efficient condos in downtown Asheville. There are also eco-friendly real estate developments outside of Asheville in small towns like Black Mountain, Marshall and Leicester, NC.
Or, if trying to stay locally in your area, ask your real estate agent for information on green builders.
Green homes incorporate intelligent design, the latest green technology, construction and maintenance elements to help drastically reduce the negative impact on the environment and improve the living conditions on the inside of the home. Less allergies, asthma and mold problems. The options are limitless!
Reaping the Rewards
Owning a Green Home can certainly be rewarding in the long run.
Check out Energy Star for more information about keeping your home green. Their many tips point out which energy is being wasted and where and how to avoid it. The on line site offers great advice on how to live green and how to continue to build green.
Also, The government offers great incentives and rebates for green homeowners. Did we mention Tax Breaks? Even utility companies now offer Wind Power to make an even smaller environmental footprint.
Energy savings, higher productivity and less waste. These are but a few of the many attributes towards implementing green building concepts and practices. These days, because of programs like the U.S. Green Building Council’s landmark LEED rating system for buildings, the ideas and concepts of green building have now entered the mainstream.
Currently, sustainable development analysts have noted that there are around 500 million square feet of green buildings under design, development, and implementation, and there has been a lot of success in LEED applications in different industries and sectors.
The Challenges Toward Widespread Acceptance of Green Building Ideas
Despite the rising acceptance in the concepts of sustainable building, there still remains a large challenge toward widespread acceptance and long-term practice, and despite the growing awareness in sustainable practices, green products, and high-performance technologies in building design and construction, many worry that there continues to be a lack of accurate, thorough, and quantifiable information regarding the financial and economic impacts of high-performance buildings within the construction and home building industry. In addition, there are also hurdles when it comes to the perception of cost, which has become a stumbling block in the quicker acceptance of green building concepts.
According to some sustainable development purveyors, there’s a consistent disconnect between capital costs and operating costs, as for instance, a building owner knows there is a return on investment of 40 percent going into a green building, as the investments are taken from capital; however, the year-to-year, the operating budget isn’t linked, and that poses a real stumbling block. For the past years, many entities have discussed and analyzed what it actually costs to build green and the ultimate value that results from constructing an environmentally responsible, high-performing facility in hopes of convincing the facilities industry to rethink construction budgeting and financing.
The Attributes Of Green Building Designs
Home builders and developers who have embraced the concepts of eco-friendly building, say that the four attributes of green building design, which are increased ventilation control, enhanced temperature control, enhanced lighting control, and increased daylighting, have been clearly and significantly correlated with increased levels in productivity.
Many note that indoor air quality also has been linked to potential productivity and health gains in workplaces and educational facilities, which helps to explain that the greatest advantages of green building come in the form of benefits to the occupants. The other financial benefits of green buildings are more than 10 times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building. Construction industry insiders say that for energy savings alone, these exceed the average increased cost associated with going green, and the benefits and savings mark the true value of sustainable construction.
In these times where cost-efficiency, productivity and concern for the environment need to go hand in hand, home builders and property developers have a choice between a building designed to be healthy and efficient or one that is not. According to experts, with a 50-year life-cycle investment, green buildings are increasing at a rate of around 40 to 50 percent each year, and as global energy costs also soar up, the risks of simply doing conventional design are increasing, as well as the risk of going obsolete has fast become a large phenomenon too.
What is all this fuss about being green? If your social conscience is pricking and you want to feel virtuously green, have you thought of utilizing bamboo? You can build a shed with it, eat it, sleep in it, walk on it, wear it, or grow it as a tree or bush to make more oxygen for the planet! Now that is being green!
Bamboo is so fast growing it could be the most ‘sustainable’ and natural commodity on the planet! On the question of it being replaceable, well some bamboos can grow as much as one meter in one day which is 1.5-2.0 inches per hour (under special accelerated conditions).
Even under natural growth conditions, a large full-sized bamboo tree could grow in six years, as opposed to sixty years for an average North American tree. This is a very high yield; in fact bamboo has been labeled the fastest growing renewable resource on the planet.
With all this growth, bamboo can be exploited without guilt, but in the West we have not, so far, found many uses for bamboo. All this is changing with the onset of the green outlook; in Asia, bamboo has been used for almost everything.
For centuries, Asians have used bamboo to make houses, to form single span bridges and to build scaffolding for high rise buildings; they have been making hard wood-effect floors with it, making towels and sheets with it, eating from it and even eating it (bamboo shoots). How versatile is that?
Strangely, to date, we do not seem to revere it so much over in the West. It has traditionally been used in North America for outdoor furniture, outdoor fencing, musical instruments and baskets. Recently we have seen fabric made from bamboo and with the call for sustainable living getting louder, bamboo is proving to be a ‘must-have’ commodity in North America.
If you are having a new home built and want to subscribe to the sustainable living ideals, there are many bamboo products that you can order from your builder. For instance, bamboo flooring, furniture, drapes, mats and food containers are all available in USA.
Bamboo flooring appears just as if it is a hardwood floor. Like wood, it can be used in the bathroom as it is suitable for radiant heat floors. According to the National Hardwood Flooring Association bamboo flooring is 10% harder than red oak hardwood flooring. It usually has a tongued and grooved finish which produces a smooth sheen to the floor.
Another use of bamboo that is gaining more popularity is as its use for fabrics for drapes and clothes. It is a breathable fabric and is very soft. For clothes, bamboo can take up to four times more moisture absorption than cotton, although this is not useful for drapes. Sheers in bamboo can be bought, they are available in several shades and have a soft look and feel that is unique to bamboo.
Bamboo can be bought and raised successfully in North America, even in most climates of the west coast, including the damp ones, (hello Seattle!)
You can mail order or email order from photos illustrated on the web site of a bamboo nursery in Chilliwack B.C. This company offers delivery and they quote actual temperatures that their plants can withstand. Some of the temperatures that Japanese bamboo can live through are well down in the sub-zeros .If you want to buy some fast growing trees for your yard, bamboo would be a good choice.
Bamboos start from tiny house plants to bushes in one gallon tubs and on up to seven gallon tubs. Bamboos would be a great tree to choose for a new home, or for a newly landscaped garden, as they can grow to full size within 6 years, unlike most of the trees of the North West which take ten times longer.
Some trees can be bought which sport the massive bamboo stems that we associate with the look of bamboo, and some just bush out voluminously almost hiding all their branches. You can choose from brown, green or golden stems and leaves come in green or variegated colors including yellow, orange, green and white or thinly striped.