TODAY’S GREEN BUILDERS SENDING LESS TO THE LANDFILLS: Green Homebuyers Encourage On-Site Waste Resuse and Reduction

Posted by Steve Kleber on Nov 15, 2007

The question: “Is it true that consumers aren’t concerned with building ‘green?’” is continually faced by today’s home builders. And the answer is no. Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have revealed that many homebuyers do indeed desire green homes. What’s more, this audience will continue to grow.

Not only does the building of green homes assist in lessening the impact on local landfills, but it also improves indoor comfort level (reducing dust, pollen, and other pollutants), saves money on homeowners’ utility bills, helps conserve precious natural resources, and gives today’s homebuyers elevated satisfaction. Overall, today’s homeowners want a reduction of ozone-depleting gas emissions, an increase in sustainable forests, and less landfill waste. In turn, builders, suppliers, vendors and manufacturers must do their part to make homeowners’ requests an affordable reality.

According to California Green Builder, “during construction, [its green] builders divert at least 50 percent, sometimes as much as 80 percent of their on-site construction waste.” And how do they achieve this? California Green Builders, among many other noted developers, are designing plans with standardized dimensions to diminish job site waste while experimenting with panelized construction and newly-built and remodeled homes that utilize low-maintenance materials that endure a home’s life, such as fiber cement, and cool roofing systems. Today’s most savvy builders are also facilitating the creative reuse of resources obtained on site.

PATH, a public-private partnership for advancing housing technology, also advocates an alternative to traditional demolition. The “deconstruction” process, which involves manually disassembling buildings to capitalize on the salvation of building materials including recovering wood framing and sheathing, bricks and structural timbers. Although deconstruction is labor-intensive and takes longer to clear the site – as it relies less on bulldozers – the trade-offs are not only less landfill burden, but also an increased number of labor hours, opportunity for business development and the generation of useful materials instead of waste. This is a win-win for homebuilders, homebuyers and Mother Earth.

Not only are builders and homebuyers encouraging the prevention of on-site waste, but so too are builders’ vendors and suppliers. There are number of ways to reduce on-site waste, including builders working with suppliers and vendors to take back or buy substandard, or rejected items, requesting that vendors deliver materials in returnable containers, and reviewing and modifying storage-handling practices to reduce material loss from weather and other damage.

The purchasing process is another avenue to avert waste and may include implementing the purchase of high-quality, formerly used building materials (such as cabinets, doors, and fixtures), evaluating estimating procedures to ensure that the correct amount of each material is more accurately delivered to the site and selecting materials delivered with minimal or no packaging.

Whether you are a homebuyer, homebuilder, remodeler, supplier or manufacturer, landfill waste, along with other green building initiatives, will continue to grow in concern as today’s homeowners demonstrate their desire for homes that benefit the environment and its natural resources. There is a wealth of information available regarding this issue, so do your research and make plans to align with other organizations with similar “green” goals.

And don’t forget to check out my next blog regarding the prevalence of energy efficiency throughout the home.

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This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Thursday, November 15th, 2007 at 2:24 pm and is filed under Green Initiatives, Home Building & Design, Housing Market. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.