Chicago has it’s green roofs, the Southwest leads in solar energy (for good reason), the West is embracing wind power, and the middle of the country is ramping up corn production for green energy sources.
What’s the most popular color in the nation?
Keep reading to find out about green products, green resources, and everything green about Green Building in the Carolinas.
The United States Green Building Council, otherwise known as the USGBC, has a division called LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED was created to initiate a standard of green building that industrial, commercial, and residential builders could adhere to. From www.USGBC.org, LEED rates projects according to five areas of performance:
“LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.”
When builders insist their projects attain LEED certification, they are helping the environment.
LEED certification assures consumers they’re living in environmentally sensitive homes and working with environmentally sensitive companies.
On the LEED section of the USGBC site, you can check your state to see what projects are LEED certified. Visit www.USGBC.org/LEED and scroll down the left hand side-bar to check out your state’s green projects.
Both North and South Carolina have embraced green practices, and have several projects that exemplify green trends.
For information on North Carolina green projects visit www.ncgreenbuilding.org; there you can see case studies of many different projects, and even search by the type of green building practices you may want to employ in your own project.
This site is a fantastic resource for people looking to acquire LEED certification, or simply learn more about green building practices.
North Carolina’s environmentally sensitive building practices are evidenced at the Smithfield Selma High School, in Johnston County, where they have installed energy efficient appliances throughout the school, as well as low flow water faucets and on-demand water heaters.
In Lenior City North Carolina, a green roof section was added to the 100 year old, Neuseway Planetarium, Health and Science Museum, which helps decrease the amount of storm water runoff.
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport has also gotten in on the act, installing several waterless urinals which have the traditional drain traps replaced with a special filter.
According to a www.worldchanging.com article from May 9th, 2007 a waterless urinal saves about 17,000 gallons of water a year. The airport also uses runoff from the runways to fill a pond used for irrigation and construction purposes.
In South Carolina, the Noisette Project has been grabbing attention for a while now, and is a great example of the shifting paradigms of building and living models sweeping the country.
Noisette is a 3,000 acre project located in North Charleston,North Carolina and has become a model for sustainable living, incorporating New Urbanism concepts with environmental and social responsibility.
Some of the hallmarks of the Noisette project include: increased density in order to create walkable neighborhoods and a community feeling, expanded open space and access to the environment, the restoration of natural eco-systems through the reintroduction of native species, and the support of community initiative which help establish strong schools, arts integration and varied housing options.
For more information on the Noisette Project visit www.noisettesc.com/discover.html.
South Carolina has a chapter of the USGBC, you can find their website at www.usgbcsc.org. Once there, you can search to find the latest news, and a list of LEED accredited professionals.
North Carolina and South Carolina are serious about protecting land. The South Carolina Conservation Bank is an organization that purchases and protects environmentally sensitive lands.
From the fiscal year of 2004 to the first filing of 2007 the Conservation Bank used over $53 million in funding to protect over 85,000 acres of land, which includes sites of historical significance like the Blythe-Goodwin House in Greenville County, and fragile swamp and river lands such as almost 2,500 acres of the Edisto River and Four Hole Swamp protected in Orangeburg and Dorchester County.
You can find out more at http://sccbank.sc.govConservation Trust for North Carolina, found at www.ctnc.org.
The Conservation Trust’s most visible efforts take place along the Blue Ridge Highway, which attracts more than 20 million visitors a year.
When buying a new home, remodeling, or refinancing, you can save money by going green.
If you buy a home that is certified as energy efficient by HERS (Home Energy Ratings System), or have a HERS licensed inspector certify your existing home, you can qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM).
The HERS program was developed and is overseen by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), a nationally recognized non-profit organization.
The lending institutions making these type of mortgages available, lend you more money than you would normally qualify for, to help you purchase a new energy efficient home or to pay for energy saving upgrades to an existing home.
They realize that although energy efficient improvements cost more initially, the resulting decrease in energy will save you money each month which will enable you to pay a little higher mortgage payment each month to pay for them. Having an energy efficient home also increases the resale value of your home.
Energy Star is a government program that encourages energy efficiency and is promoting these loans. Visit their web site at www.EnergyStar.gov.
Visit www.dsireusa.org for the incentives available for energy renewables and energy efficiency in North Carolina and South Carolina.
You will also find the Solar Center there. This is an excellent site! You can visit www.natresnet.org/ratings/default.htm to find out more about HERS, and how to find a certified inspector.
The progress for green building projects in and South Carolina is encouraging. With larger businesses, corporations, schools, and other organizations getting behind responsible building practices and LEED certification, it’s only a matter of time before the general public is empowered to make the right choices for their families, and true change occurs.
Read our other articles, “How to Build Green Without Breaking the Bank” and “How Your House is Making You Sick and What To Do About It”.
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Bob Bencivenga is a professional site locator and location analyst for major corporations. Bob researches the growth of NC and SC to find the Best Places to Retire or Relocate that are still affordable.
Bob Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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