Q: Many builders are calling their homes energy efficient, but I really can’t tell by looking that a home is built for future savings. How can I tell if a home is really built green?

A: First, congratulations to you for recognizing that a green home is not something that looks like it’s out of a science fiction futuristic movie. I meet more and more people that are pleasantly surprised to find that one really can’t tell by just looking inside or outside that a home is built green. Here are a few checkpoints that you will be able to use to determine that a home is built to last at least 100 years and save you dollars in the future:

Outside wall thickness – this could indicate the use of a staggered stud process which prevents the conduction of outside temperatures to the inside;
Roof placement from the inside – raising the placement of the gables by 12 inches prevents conductivity of outside air to the inside;
Optimized daylighting – window placement is determined to obtain high-quality daylighting that outperforms electrical lighting;
Inside air-controlled room for heating & cooling system – the system should not be located in a garage where carbon monoxide and other chemicals can find their way into the home.
Radiant floor heating – homes that are 100% air systems utilize convection primarily to hear or cool a building. Radiant systems can significantly reduce energy usage, requiring about one-seventh the amount of transport energy to pump water versus moving air with a forced air system.
I encourage you to visit the Smart Green Home [home #6] in this year’s NW Natural Open House Tour. You can visit www.clarkcountyparadeofhome.com to take a virtual tour. Take a look at the Green Home and you’ll find out how a builder can create a 4,000 square foot home that only uses 650 kilowatts per month of energy versus the standard built 2,220 -square-foot-foot that uses over 1,500 kilowatts per month. Remember to ask for an energy appraisal of all builders.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!