Is it wrong to green wash your home when you sell? Absolutely. Is it wrong that roofs covering your porch and decking is a green feature in the design for sustainable architecture? Not at all. Green washing is saying that your house is 100% green, when it's not. Just having a green feature like a bamboo floor or active thermal solar panel doesn't mean that your house is totally environmentally efficient. In today's marketplace, no house is 100% green. The only green house that's built is the one that isn't built at all. Everyone knows that is not possible. Because we need residences and dwellings for comfort, safety, and well being. Home building is an economic necessity. So, it's been backward logic to say, when we build it, we should not build 100% of it to last. It's an economic sustainability issue. Common shingles only last 35 years. Natural clay tile shingles last 80-100 years. Sustainability in the market place is based on immediate cost reduction during construction and not-so long term repair and replacement. Our health and sustainability of the species is directly related to the choices we make during these economic transactions.
We've been building homes to be easily upgraded. The problem occurs when the house is repaired but not upgraded, or worse downgraded, and the owners ignore or are not conscious of the green concepts for overall sustainability. Green certifications have pointed out the green features that are appropriate for environmental sustainability in design. Many DIY television shows provide information on efficiency and aspects of the home's repair, yet lack the building science knowledge of a certified Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Associated Professional (http://leed.usgbc.org/), Passive House International (http://www.passivehouse-international.org/), Green Globes (http://www.greenglobes.com/), BREEAM (http://www.breeam.com/) or any certifications professional. The World Green Building Council (http://www.worldgbc.org/) and International Code Council (http://www.iccsafe.org/) have outlined the commonalities of the buildings for efficiency that are effective anywhere you may live. Many of the design features common among these certifications were derived from studies of existing buildings. The basic lessons or principles of Architecture are intertwined with today's data knowledge set to create the combinations for the ultimate working order of a structure. That is why we can retrofit common homes and provide an upgraded product with amazingly good responses for environmental sustainability. However, the ability to upgrade all of the green attributes of a home to the level required to minimize the ability of your house to affect climate change is a bit of a burden on the pocket book.
Some long term home owners have older houses and have continually upgraded as the repair needs occurred and have kept up with or even surpassed updated building techniques. Retro-fitters have purchased depressed older houses and upgraded extensively over a few months time to achieve the markets appealing amenities with minimum requirements. Each upgrade can incur a green design element to the original structural environmentally efficient design. Addition of insulation, energy rated windows, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, high efficiency furnace or boiler, above ground decks, tile and hardwood flooring, and finished basements are green design features considered valued upgrades to home appraisers. They're also valued by move in ready minded buyers because they provide comfort and a sense of well being. When you add the environmentally efficient design compliments of a house with those green attributes, the structure has a much better chance of continuing in the marketplace beyond today's appraisal estimates.
The home should work in coordination with every aspect of the environment: air, water, land, solar, energy, and overall sustainability. Some features are good for several different elements. Each attribute is a portion of a system which is to be fulfilled in order for a property to perform environmentally efficient to the point of becoming less dependent on nonrenewable and toxic resources.
By quantifying the basic key individual design traits and the associated impacts in combination within the house, each green element and overall potential for sustainability becomes apparent. The gray areas of your house become enlightened at the low end of the green spectrum in terms of yellow and blue, or "not quite green yet". The total combination of the green features in design add up-to the levels of yellow, blue, light green and dark green whether your house is prior certified green or not.
So, no matter what anyone says, GAPScore doesn't green wash.
We show the yellow and blue, and the green.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Is there Asthma in your House?Here's an excerpt from a recent study that you should become aware, if you're a home owner or thinking of purchasing a home soon.
ASTHMAGENS IN BUILDING MATERIALS: THE PROBLEM AND SOLUTIONS AUTHORS: Jim Valette | Healthy Building Network; Southwest Harbor, ME; USA
Ted Schettler | Science & Environmental Health Network; Ames, IA; USA
Michael Wolfe | WOLFE, San Francisco, CA; USA
THE POST-KATRINA ASTHMA DISASTERThe Gulf Coast region understands the relationship between building materials and asthma. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, FEMA awarded $2.7 billion in contracts to shelter displaced residents. By August 2006, FEMA purchased 144,000 trailers and mobile homes. A human-made health disaster ensued. Connections between building materials, formaldehyde air emissions, and asthma were well established when FEMA put the Katrina trailers out to bid. Formaldehyde resins bind composite wood casework, flooring, and wall panels. In 1992, the California Air Resources Board identified formaldehyde resins in these products as major sources of formaldehyde in indoor air. But FEMA’s bidding process did not consider the potential health impacts of bringing these materials into a hot and humid climate where formaldehyde is more readily volatilized. A meta-analysis of seven studies in homes and schools from several different countries concluded that asthma risk in children increased 3-17 percent for every 10 µg/m3 [8.1 parts per billion (ppb)] increase in formaldehyde in indoor air. In these studies, formaldehyde levels varied from very low to > 80 µg/m3 (65 ppb).  A U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study of Katrina FEMA trailers found formaldehyde well above these levels. The mean for the 519 tested trailers was 77 ppb. In some, air concentrations exceeded 300 ppb. The most common unit - Gulfstream - had a median concentration of 111 ppb, almost seven times the national median of 17 ppb. Using the meta-analysis’ correlation rate, children living in the Gulfstream FEMA trailers had a 35% to 200% elevated risk of having asthma. In a federal health survey of FEMA trailer residents, 31% of the participating children reported having a diagnosis of asthma, nearly three-fold higher than the prevalence of childhood asthma nationally (11% in 2010).[5, 6] Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Richard Skinner reviewed the situation. “All of the units were some form of manufactured housing and therefore tended to have more of the manufactured wood products that can emit formaldehyde gas,” he reported. And the FEMA contracts “did not contain protections against excessive formaldehyde concentrations.”
PATHWAYS FOR EXPOSURE TO ASTHMAGENS IN BUILDING MATERIALS
DHS Inspector General Skinner laid bare this reality: “Although workplace standards and recommendations for allowable exposures to formaldehyde have been implemented to protect workers who are exposed to formaldehyde, there is far less guidance as to what levels should be avoided in residences.” Similarly, authoritative lists of asthmagens are based largely on studies involving worker exposures—hence the commonly used term “occupational asthma.” However, the extent to which chemicals known to cause occupational asthma may have similar effects within the general public, especially children, is often unclear for several reasons: 1. Occupational exposures are often much higher than residential exposures; 2. Dose-response levels are often not well enough established to allow extrapolation to low levels of prolonged exposure; 3. The importance of multiple factors in the origins of asthma, including co-exposure to allergens in residences, may make it more difficult to estimate the contribution of toxic exposures to asthma risk in homes compared to the workplace; and, 4. Occupational asthma generally affects adults whereas most asthma in the general public is among children, who are more vulnerable due to their smaller size and developing immune and respiratory systems. These challenges clearly pertain to chemicals in building products. Workers exposed to occupational asthmagens during product manufacture or building construction will be at increased asthma risk. But, after construction and building occupancy, exposure levels are generally unknown for most asthmagens.
To read more of the study click the link below