Five Green Building Myths – Busted!

By Danielle King on 14 Mar 2014
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Five Green Building Myths – Busted!

Build smart, and benefit from energy efficient housing

Having efficient homes is not about living in a mud hut in a paddock!  

It’s about being smart with your choices, efficient with your resources and protecting the future of your best asset.  

There are many myths about creating a green home, and we think it’s about time some of those myths were busted. So here goes.

1. Building Green Costs More

It costs the same to design a green home as it does a traditional home. Up to 80 per cent of a building’s efficiency can be attributed to the design and the materials selected. 

By using simpler lines, proper orientation, building smaller and building more space efficient homes, the price is on par with standard building practices. 

In fact, 10 years ago a colleague designed and built a highly green home in Victoria. The additional build cost was only 2 per cent, 10 years ago! 

It doesn’t have to cost more to build better, and you get the added benefit of significantly lower bills.

Why wouldn’t you build green?  Especially when so many are now looking for efficient, healthier homes. BUSTED!

2. Green Products Don’t Work as Well as Traditional Products

While all new technologies need bedding in, we’re well past that. Many of the products used as part of green building these days have been around for years, even decades. And sometimes it’s not a new product, just a different way to use it. 

A great example is the brick veneer home.  Decades ago standard homes were built with the bricks on the inside to help stabilise internal temperatures (this is standard practice in other countries). 

“Why wouldn’t you build green?  Especially when so many are now looking for efficient, healthier homes.” 

That’s now called ‘reverse brick engineering’ and going back to that is simply realising the benefits of an old practice. 

Newer technologies such as LED lighting have now settled in and provide significant benefits over incandescent and halogen lighting. Heat pump technologies and inverter air conditioners are significantly more efficient than their traditional counterparts. 

Why buy an energy guzzler when there are so many better options available? BUSTED!

Building Green is Too Hard

Photo: USFWS

3. Building Green is Too Hard

Finding a builder who is open to new technologies and knows how to build an efficient home is a thing of the past.  

If your builder isn’t up to building a tight building envelope, which is required for today’s minimum energy rating standard (6 star home), find another builder.

The Master Builders Association (MBA) have a program called Green Living where builders have been trained to build green. You can find a list on the MBA website.

Simple things like using good quality materials that are sustainably sourced (e.g. FSC certified wood), draft proofing the home and being mindful of energy efficient appliances is not rocket science and products are now very easy to find. BUSTED!

4. I Just Need Energy Saving Appliances

Having a green home is not just about using a highly energy efficient heating system or refrigerator (although that does help).

It’s a holistic approach that includes an efficient building structure (6 star rated or preferably higher), using appropriately sized efficient appliances, installing non-toxic finishes and glues, and choosing environmentally responsible products. 

“It doesn’t have to cost more to build better, and you get the added benefit of significantly lower bills.”

These days the green choices are easy to find.  If you’re not sure, just ask the question ‘What are the environmental credentials of this product?’ and see what answer you get.  

If they can’t give you any, look for something else. BUSTED!

5. Green Building is a Passing Fad

Building McMansions, having avocado bathrooms and decorating with mission brown woodwork is a fad.  

Having a cost-effective home that is comfortable and healthier for you and your family to live in, is not. BUSTED!

The question is no longer ‘Should I build a green home?’ It’s ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

About the Author

Danielle King is the founder and director of Green Moves Australia, a company that focuses on and promotes sustainability in the built environment. She is a highly qualified and accredited sustainability consultant, qualified carbon accountant, and teaches sustainability subjects at Swinburne.

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