Developer puts home to the test

December 26, 2012

Commercial and residential property owners are taking a stand and implementing the use of green technology and recycled materials to turn necessary structures into echo-friendly spaces. Developers are talking with scientists, researchers and state and federal officials from various agencies to determine how best to proceed with the construction of net-zero properties.

Everything is being examined and constantly updated in order to cultivate the latest in green energy construction. Eco Home Magazine reports that the U.S. Green Building Council recently bestowed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification to a new community built in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. The development is a test to determine the technologies that are best incorporated in both residential and commercial properties.

According to the news source, each certified structure saves about 74 percent in energy costs per month in comparison to the average home, which translates to about $256 in monthly savings. Heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, appliances and photovoltaics were all included in the test.

"It all comes down to the details and how each system you implement assists the others in efficiency. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to install top-of-the-line windows and not use spray-foam technology for your insulation, or to install the most efficient HVAC system and use incandescent light bulbs that produce considerable amounts of heat and energy loss," developer Nathan Day told the news source.

Agencies across the United States are working hard to promote the inclusion of energy efficient practices in modern construction. For example, across the country in Pennsylvania, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) works to improve green solution adoptions in the northern state. The agency hopes to support the inclusion of new, sustainable technologies in various structures around the state, especially in reference to commercial properties, which consume large quantities of energy.

Eco Home Magazine reports that Day found the key energy saving features in his structures were spray-foam insulation, light emitting diodes (LEDs), dual-pane, low-E windows and hybrid water heaters. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs are at least 75 percent more energy efficient than traditional options like incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. In addition, the units last significantly longer, do not produce noticeable levels of heat and are more durable. These factors contribute to making the lighting solution a more sustainable option for commercial building owners looking to reduce utility costs.