Green Home Building: Money-Saving Strategies for an Affordable, Healthy, High-Performance Home

Green Home Building: Money-Saving Strategies for an Affordable, Healthy, High-Performance Home

by Miki Cook, Doug Garrett


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


A comprehensive guide to building green on any budget.

According to conventional wisdom, building a green home is an expensive endeavor. The standard approach treats green as an add-on, tacking "premium" products, finishes, and equipment onto a traditional home design. As a result, many green home projects end up over budget or fail to achieve their environmental and performance goals.

Green Home Building explodes the myth that green homes have to cost more. Using proven methods based on applied building science, the authors show how to:

  • Lower base construction costs to provide funding for high performance upgrades
  • Achieve a net-zero energy home, including "zero-ing" water, waste, carbon, and associated costs within fifteen years
  • Live affordably into the future, despite anticipated rising costs for fuel, water, materials, taxes, and health care

This comprehensive guide to building green on any budget defines the strategies that maximize the return on green investments. Written for anyone who has ever been swayed by the argument that the price tag limits how green a home can be, Green Home Building is a must-read for builders, contractors, architects, designers, and homeowners.

Miki Cook is a green building and sustainability consultant who has dedicated her career to educating contractors and the public on the strategies, methods, and benefits of green homes.

Doug Garrett has trained thousands of homebuilders, architects, and sub-contractors to build energy-efficient homes using applied building science to improve comfort, durability, and healthfulness while meeting or exceeding the energy code.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865717794
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 1,239,624
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Miki Cook is a green building and sustainability consultant for the oldest green building program in the nation, Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB). She has spent her career in the residential construction industry, where for the last two decades she has focused on green building certification including acting as Green Rater for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Homes and Energy Star programs and ICC-700, The National Green Building Standard. More recently, Miki has dedicated her career to educating contractors and the public on the strategies, methods and benefits of green homes, and helping them to achieve those goals.

Doug Garrett , CEM, founded Austin Energy's Residential and Multi-Family Energy Conservation programs. He has studied building science, indoor air quality, moisture management, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning throughout his career. In 1996, Doug established the first building science consulting business in Texas, and continues to provide building science-based forensic investigations, diagnostics and design consultations for clients and home builders across the nation. Doug has presented hundreds of seminars on applied building science, energy efficiency, moisture management, energy codes, air conditioning, indoor air quality and green building, and has served on numerous advisory councils and task forces for high performance industry standards, energy codes, alternative fuels, health concerns and housing affordability.

Table of Contents

Foreword Sarah Cutterman xi

Introduction 1

We're All Green with Envy 2

What Is a Green Home? 3

How Can I Build an Affordable Green Home? 5

Section 1 Show Me the Money

1 Location, Location, Location 11

Smart Growth 13

Analyzing Your Building Site 14

Other Considerations for Site Selection 19

Payback on This Investment 23

2 Size Matters 31

Assessing Your Needs 33

Paybacks on Right-Sizing Your Home 37

3 Design, Design, Design: Everything You Need to Know 39

1 Designing for Your Site 39

2 Designing for Passive Systems 49

3 Designing for Resource Efficiency 64

Payback On Design Elements 95

4 Building Products and Materials: Shades of Green 97

Global Citizens 97

Building Product Research 99

Selecting Building Materials 109

How We Use Building Materials 128

Paybacks: Return on Investment for Building Materials: The Real Cost of Housing 155

5 Construction Waste: The 8,000-Pound Gorilla of Cost Savings 157

Money in the Dumpster 157

Three Strategies for Waste Reduction 159

Payback: Return on Investment for Construction Waste Diversion Practices 173

6 Equipment and Systems 175

Efficiency Ratings 176

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Cooling Systems 177

Hot Water Systems 196

Rainwater, Greywater and Onsite Sewage Systems 199

Electrical Systems 202

Paybacks: Return on Investment from High-efficiency System Upgrades 214

7 Health and Environment 217

Toxins 217

Strategies for Improved Indoor Air Quality 222

Other Health Concerns 233

8 Outdoor Living 239

Defining Your Outdoor Living Spaces 240

Landscaping 242

9 Green Bling 251

The Modest Green Home 253

The Mainstream Green Home 256

The Custom Green Home 259

Avoid Wasting Money 263

10 Keeping It Green 265

Periodic Maintenance and Repairs 267

Commissioning 268

Lifestyle Choices 269

Protecting Your Health 270

Green Makeovers 272

Green Power Alternatives 278

Section 2 Getting to Zero

11 The Zero Energy Capable Home Model 281

Net Zero Defined 282

The Typical American Home 284

Our Baseline Home 285

Net Zero Home Model 289

12 Net Zero Water 305

The Water-Energy Connection 307

Where Does the Water Go? 308

How Much Water Is Available 318

Case Studies 326

How Low Can You Go? 328

13 Zero Waste 331

Waste Beyond the Household 331

Waste Prevention 336

Waste Diversion 338

The Key to Making Changes in Your Life 341

14 Zero Your Carbon Footprint 343

Revisiting Section One from a Carbon Perspective 344

Our Carbon Reduction Plan 359

15 Zero Cost Premium 363

Reducing Your Total Cost of Ownership 364

Reducing Your Construction Costs 365

Healthy and High Performance 368

Putting It All Together 371

End Notes 389

Index 405

About the Authors 415

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Miki and Doug nailed it! This book should be required reading for every architect, builder, and homeowner aiming to build a home. Green building is about how the house operates as a system. They explain the components, tradeoffs, and decisions that lead to an energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, affordable home. Finally, a comprehensive book that spells out information I've been sharing with my clients for years."
— Wayne Jeansonne, President, Solluna Builders LLC, a custom homebuilder in Austin, Texas

"Finally, a book about building green that's for the people. Miki Cook walked us through the construction of our very affordable four-star green energy home in Austin. With her guidance we learned that green construction is not about bells and whistles, nor is it a vanity project for those with means. It's about going back to the common-sense strategies of sustainability: selecting the right location, designing with the environment in mind, using only what you need, and choosing materials that are healthy for you and your surrounding community. Along with the Doug Barrett, she has written a very engaging book that covers all these principles and more."
— Eric Tang and Paula Rojas, Austin, Texas

"In Green Home Building , Doug and Miki have provided an encyclopedic guide for home owners with ambitions to build their own green homes. Particular kudos are due for addressing some important but oft-neglected issues such as "shape factor" and the life of the building beyond today's needs of the household — what about 10, 30, 50 years hence? This will prove to be an invaluable resource for those committed to a deep understanding of what it means to build a green home."
— Ann V. Edminster, M.Arch., LEED AP, author of Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet

Customer Reviews