Three Ways To Build Green

For communities interested in green building, a little push may be all it takes to incorporate sustainability into future building and expansion plans.

Supporting green building is one thing — encouraging it, entirely another. Aside from passing an all-construction mandate or instituting a fine, how can towns — and builders — inspire sustainability?

Take a look at ways some communities are promoting green building:

  • Increasing Home Sales By Offering Lower Operating Costs. Shea Homes in Arizona is including green options like solar attic fans, electrical car charger-equipped garages and energy-efficient air conditioners in a new subdivision it’s building. The additions will tack $5,000 to $8,000 on to each house, but the company is absorbing the cost and not upping home prices. "It’s an investment for us," Hal Looney, Shea’s area president, told the Arizona Republic. "We’re counting on the
    investment to help increase our sales as well as continuing our
    commitment in providing a quality product to our customers."

Richard Zimmerman,  a founding member of Scottsdale’s green building program, agrees. "The builders can differentiate themselves from their competitors by
embracing these programs, at the same time, homeowners are demanding
green strategies and are shopping online aggressively," he said.

  • Adding Jobs to the Area. The U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.7 percent in September —  and although employment is looking sunnier, many people are still looking for work, especially in the Midwest, which Reuters reported had the highest regional unemployment rate in September. Looking to create jobs for your local economy? The U.S. Green Building
    Council has said that
    the size of the green building market grew from essentially zero
    to $12 billion from 2001 to 2007, according to the San Jose Mercury News, who noted that its mayor’s "green vision" plan, announced in early October, includes plans to create clean-tech jobs, use renewable energy to build green buildings and recycle more wastewater.

Green building starts at the local level — at least for now — and requires company and political initiative. There are many reasons to build green: It can reduce energy costs over time, improve the economy through job creation and — of course — help the environment.

And really, isn’t that reason enough?