Is Green Construction Making You Sick?

The recent arrival of the green construction movement has ushered in a host of new concepts in both construction and design. Although the ideals of green construction are well intentioned, in practice, numerous safety and liability concerns come along with these trends. Some sources have even questioned whether sustainable practices and occupational safety can coexist.

There’s an assumption that green construction is safer and healthier, but that perception is not always true, said Matt Gillen, Deputy Director of the NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) Office of Construction Safety and Health. He also pointed out that green construction does not always equal sustainability, either. True sustainability is broader and should include safety and health. Unfortunately, green construction doesn’t always include these elements, as quoted by Laura Walter in Green Construction and Safety Don’t Always Go Hand in Hand.

In seeking to close this gap, there is a movement to revise the definition of sustainability and to have occupational safety considerations included as part of what it means to build green. The development of LEED credits to address various safety issues may well be what the green construction movement needs to continue its development.

Many property insurers are unsure how to properly manage risks posed by new green construction methods (See, Green Construction Wave Brings Green Liability). Seeking to address these safety issues through NIOSH’s vision is to have occupational safety and health recognized as a fundamental dimension of true sustainability, said Gillen. This could entail developing LEED pilot credits to address safety issues, adding safety and health language to existing credits or developing new safety credits.

This discussion also comes amid recent concerns that instead of being healthier, green construction materials and methods may actually be contributing to health problems. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has established numerous programs to properly address aspects of green construction and to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people working or living in green construction projects.

For example, by tightly sealing spaces (a measures taken by contractors to achieve high levels of energy efficiency), builders could inadvertently wind up creating problems with indoor air quality, moisture and fresh air ventilation. Likewise, “an improperly sized and installed high efficiency (air) unit is not efficient” said Todd Witt, HVAC Expert, as quoted by David Worthington in Could a Green Home make You Sick?.

Additional considerations when building a green home include:

* Demanding documentation of your home’s Manual J Load Calculation and Manual D duct design.

* Demanding fresh air ventilation and returns/jumper ducts in every bedroom.
* Demanding a static pressure test, interior pressure testing, and air balancing.

* Having the depth and density of your attic insulation inspected and having attic rulers installed throughout your attic.

* Eliminating traditionally vented crawlspaces and replace them with closed crawlspace construction.

Green Construction Company Services

There are different services you can get from a green construction company. These are companies that specialize in sustainable construction to ensure no harm is done to the environment. They use methods that reduce the amount of solid waste generated. They also minimize on wastage of resources by using alternatives such as solar energy for electricity.

A green construction company can provide you with services when you want to start a new construction project. This can be for simple projects such as building a family house or even more complicated ones like complex medical facilities. When building Santa Fe Green homes, the company can offer additional services that include installation of water catchment systems. This means that there are no electricity bills to pay for in the homes.

In addition, the green construction company can also eliminate the need to spend on energy by installing sustainable energy systems. These include solar and wind energy generation. They will also offer services in building infrastructure such as roads, and drainage structures. New Mexico green builders ensure that these are built using the right methods by supervising and directing construction. Apart from building and supervising, they can also provide services such as making a budget.

New Mexico green builders have a lot of experience when it comes to planning land use. Therefore, they can offer creative advice for land use plans. They know all the laws regarding land use in the area. They can use their knowledge to provide useful target models. They will give a temporary budget to show the land owners what they expect to spend. This will help them remodel the plan accordingly so that the budget fits what they want to spend.

You can also have a green build contractor remodel your house. If you already have a house that you are not satisfied with, you can have it remodeled. This allows you to have a new home while saving on building costs. The green build contractor will carry out an inspection of the building and check the areas that can be changed. This will ensure that the house has been remodeled to your specification while within the budgetary limits that you have set.

The contractors also help you in obtaining approval from the regulating bodies. These are necessary before any building projects begin and without them, you might not be able to start. The construction company can also take on the responsibility of notifying those in the neighborhood of the upcoming construction.

Designing is also another service that you can get from green construction companies. It is necessary that homes are carefully designed before they are build. You may have a general idea but you do not know how to bring it out in a design so that you can have a home like that. Therefore, those looking to own Santa Fe homes, can get green build contractors involved right from the design stage. This results in an efficient building that is a pleasure to live in. The contractor will also refer you to qualified and trusted professionals who have specialized in design.