Green Building Tips

The practice of green building is taking an integrated approach to building construction, building infrastructure, and building site to provide a more environmentally friendly, healthier, and energy efficient place to live. When starting your plans for your new house, remodel, or other project, there are many advantages to going green:

  • Savings on your energy bills;
  • Savings on your water bills;
  • Helping out the environment; and,
  • Preserving the planet for future generations.

This is best done in the beginning of a project during the conceptual phase. There are many components you can incorporate into the design such as:

  • Natural light and ventilation: When designing your new home think of places where natural light can be utilized. The placement of windows can be used to create a natural flow of air for cooling in the summer instead of always turning on the air conditioner.
  • Appliances: Look for Energy Star appliances and check with your utility provider to see what rebates are available.
  • Plumbing fixtures: There are many types of plumbing fixtures - toilets, showers, and faucets - that offer water conservation features.
  • Water heater and pool heaters: The three main types of waters heaters are on-demand, solar, and standard water heaters. Do some research on which one suits your family's needs best. A solar pool heater for example could be a cost saving when it comes to your fuel gas consumption. Always check with your energy provider to see if they are offering rebates for fuel efficient appliances.
  • Alternative energy design: Solar electric, solar hot water heating, and GEO thermal along with others.
  • The building envelope: Think about the types of windows, insulation, roofing material and roofing color. It may help save on heating and cooling costs.
  • Using recycled and or non-toxic construction materials: There are many products available now that produce lower off gassing.
  • Deconstruction and /or salvage demolition: There are companies that specialize in the deconstruction or salvage of the existing buildings on the site. Building salvaged materials Can be reused someplace else.
  • New fireplaces: New fireplaces are required to comply with Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Requirements (PDF) of being U.S. EPA Phase II certified wood-burning device, a pellet-fueled device, or listed on the Air District's list of approved devices.
  • Landscaping: Planning for low-water landscape can be as easy as using plants that are native to the area. Avoid large lawns that require lots of water, fertilizers, and maintenance.

When you are submitting permit applications and plans for a new building, please incorporate the 2022 Calgreen Residential Checklist (PDF) into the plans. The checklist is also a helpful tool when designing your new building.