Resources are becoming scarcer, the environment is more polluted, and the icecaps are melting. These are legitimate concerns that affect everyone and every industry. In selecting your preferred home, you should also take into consideration these factors which make modular homes one of the best options. From waste management, to resource allocation, to energy efficient designs, the modular home industry is meeting the challenge to e environmentally conscious and socially responsible.
If you have ever seen a site where local contractors are building a home, debris and overflowing waste sits in a dumpster waiting for transfer to a waste facility or dump. How much of the material thrown away could actually be used in other projects or be recycled for future use? Actually quite a bit. In a factory setting where modular homes are constructed, waste is limited to the bare minimum. Lumbar cut from one home will be used on the next if possible. The same occurs with other materials including drywall, insulation, electrical wiring, etc. In addition, the true waste that remains often is handled through recycling efforts. Many manufacturers have affiliations with lumbar yards that recycle wood debris in return for their business. Waste management offers a significant advantage in modular home construction.
Resources are always limited in general, and in today’s age of oil dependence and electrical outages, energy is has the largest focus. By constructing homes inside a climate controlled factory, the amount of energy consumed per house is remarkably less than energy spent per house while building on site. Conservation of space leads to conservation of energy. In addition, labor resources are better utilized as more efficient work is generated per employee compared to on-site jobs. And lastly, time may be our most valuable resource. By reducing the construction time to several weeks instead of several months, time plus all forms of energy resources are saved. Each of these makes the modular home industry a leader in conservation.
The other major area of being environmentally responsible is in the area of design. Architectural designs within the modular home industry have truly targeted energy efficiency in their efforts. “Non-livable” space reductions in design as well as making layouts conducive to better heat and air circulation reduce the demands of energy consumption for the homes. In addition, many homes have options for solar panels, geothermal systems, and other alternative energy sources if the consumer desires. While these measures are also possible within site-built home, the factory setting allows these designs to be more conducive to large scale manufacturing. This can create a larger impact in the housing market faster.
It goes without saying that as a society and planet the environment demands our attention. It is appropriate for all industries to consider these requirements and make the best effort to lead in a direction of ecologically friendly products and services. Through resource allocation, waste management, and innovative design, the modular home industry is taking this responsibility seriously; and current measures in place offer further advances for the future.
Green building is a phrase which refers to the implementation and use of environmentally-friendly practices and materials in the location, design, construction, operation and disposal of buildings and homes.
This noble concept applies to both renovation and retrofitting of existing buildings and construction of new buildings, whether residential or commercial, public or private. The trend for creating greener buildings and structures is now viewed as an important instrument for positive change in the building industry.
Building Green Helps To Improve The Overall Quality Of Life
By continuously improving the process of locating, designing, building, operating and retrofitting buildings and homes, developers and policy makers would do a lot in improving the well-being of the community. The use of advanced energy-saving technologies applied in buildings could in effect result in considerable reductions in demand for fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Implementing more-improved design and building practices can also aid in addressing environmental concerns like natural resource depletion, sewage and waste disposal, as well as air, water, and soil pollution. The concepts behind green building can also help assist the gains in human health and prosperity.
However, despite the huge potentials for transformation, going green in building homes and structures still represents a small percentage of building in North America. Some estimate that green building currently accounts for just around two percent of the new non-residential building segment in the US, and 0.3 percent of the residential market. In Canada, green building trends are generally thought to be similar to those in the US, while in Mexico, there are no reliable figures to show the extent or levels to which green building exists in the marketplace.
Applying Green Building Concepts Help Create Superior Work Environments
It’s a fact that buildings and structures created using green building principles have a lesser negative impact on the environment than conventional buildings. Applying environment-friendly construction methods help in minimizing the use of natural resources by using alternative building materials, and also recycles construction waste rather than sending these to landfills.
Majority of a green building’s interior spaces are also equipped with natural lighting and outdoor views, efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, as well as in using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials like paint, flooring, and furniture to create a superior and much healthier indoor air quality.
Just a few years ago, the term “green building” would generally evoke visions of tree-hugging, granola-munching individual who walks barefoot and sleeps on straw mats. These days however, the term goes beyond the usual hype, and offers developers and home builders concrete benefits like lower overhead costs, increased employee productivity, less absenteeism, and better employee attraction and retention.
Green building requires a multi-faceted approach. If builders focus primarily on installing green products, including finishes, appliances, and building components, they may miss the point. While green products are important to constructing a green home, they shouldn’t be the only consideration. The benefits of green building – energy efficiency, water efficiency, durability, healthy indoor air -are achieved through effective design, construction, and installation, in addition to materials.
In keeping with the many facets of green building, several attributes can be ascribed to green products. In general, green products have less impact on the environment and on the health of people exposed to them. More specifically, they may derive from recycled or salvaged materials, renewable resources, or responsibly managed forests. They may be manufactured through processes that produce less pollution. Once installed, they may reduce water and energy usage and emit fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can affect occupant health.
One question on the minds of some builders is whether environmental and health attributes come at the expense of performance. Can low-flow showerheads provide as strong a spray as conventional showerheads? Can no VOC paint resist wear and tear? Improved technologies have enabled manufacturers to produce green products that not only meet performance expectations, but exceed them. The list of products below have been recognized in the building industry for performance attributes and for contributing to improved energy efficiency, water efficiency, durability, and indoor air quality.
Hallowell International Acadia Combined Heating and Cooling System
Hallowell International’s Acadia heating and cooling system won ASHRAE’s Innovation Award for Heating. The Acadia is a “boosted” air-source heat pump that extracts heat from outdoor air and distributes it through ductwork, much like conventional heat pumps. What sets the Acadia apart is its wide operating range of 0°F to 62°F. The Acadia’s coefficient of performance (C.O.P.) is 2.0 to 4.1. While heat pumps have traditionally offered an energy-efficient alternative to standard HVAC systems, they’ve fared poorly in cold climates, where supplemental heating (usually electric resistance heat) must be used as back-up when temperatures drop below the balance point temperature. Not only does the Acadia operate in lower outside air temperatures, it defrosts 82% less than a typical heat pump, which saves additional energy.
Arch Wood Protection, Inc. FrameGuard Wood
FrameGuard mold-resistant indoor wood won the NAHB Green Building Award for Green Product Marketing of the Year. It was the only green product honored at the 2007 NAHB Green Building Conference. Arch Wood Protection, Inc. developed the safe coating with three fungicides and a borate compound?the same fungicides used in some cereals, coffee, and lotions, and the same borates used in some hand soaps and cosmetics. The FrameGuard coating is applied to interior wood, including trusses, OSB, and plywood to inhibit termites, mold growth, and fungal decay. It’s been certified as a “low-emitting product” by GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI). Besides having lower emissions, FrameGuard wood is durable and grown on responsibly managed timberlands, all qualities that make it a green product.
PPG Pure Performance Paint
Interior paint has traditionally been notorious for affecting indoor air quality. Some paints contain heavy metals, formaldehyde, and ethylene glycol, which are added as pigments, drying agents, or fungicides. Paints also contain solvents, which allow paint to evaporate to a solid film after it’s applied to a surface. The solvents often contain VOCs, which can pose health risks to painters and homeowners who breathe the fumes.
Several manufacturers now offer low or no VOC paint. One of these manufacturers, Pittsburgh Paints, offers Pure Performance interior paint, the first paint to receive the Green Seal Class A rating for no VOC paints. The resins in Pure Performance are formulated to be compatible with no VOC coalescent agents, whereas many other latex paint resins are combined with coalescent agents that are considered to be VOCs. Pure Performance paint is therefore low odor. It also contains a mold and mildew resistant additive for durability.
American Standard FloWise Toilet
American Standard’s FloWise toilet was among the first to receive the EPA’s WaterSense(TM) label for water efficiency. This high efficiency toilet (HET) uses 1.28 gallons per flush, or 20% less than conventional toilets, which are required by law not to exceed 1.6 gallons per flush. The FloWise toilet uses a forceful flush instead of a high volume of water to clean the bowl. Their funnel-shaped piston-action Accelerator(TM) Flush Valve forces water into the bowl in less than a second.