Building green homes? What does that mean?
LPCCD made an environmentally-conscious decision to construct its housing units according to the standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a Green Building Rating System developed by the US Green Building Council. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Each building LPCCD is developing will carry either a gold or silver LEED certification. For more info about building green visit: www.usgbc.org
Green Building Features
Building with eco-friendly materials isn’t just good for the environment – it’s also good for your health. LPCCD’s green features include:
Flooring and countertops made of recyclable materials, bamboo flooring, concrete and ceramic tile or other hard surfaces on floor surfaces and using concrete accented with recycled glass on countertops. Such alternatives require lower maintenance; have a lasting quality and are highly durable. Carpet on the other hand can become polluted over time affecting indoor air quality and indoor environmental quality. Considering such alternatives is also environmentally responsible. If carpet isn’t made of plastic recyclable materials, getting rid of it produces waste, more landfills, and more tax dollars to destroy.
Low VOC Paints & Bamboo cabinets
VOC, or volatile organic compounds, are products found in paint and other chemical-containing interior products that are emitted through the air. The smell from fresh paint, for example can be damaging to the nervous system. Other products like kitchen and bathroom cabinetry are treated with formaldehyde, a product which affects people with chemical sensitivities causing migraines and other conditions. Low VOC paints and eco-friendly cabinetry and furniture create a healthier indoor air quality which can reduce asthma and allergies.
Energy Efficient Windows & Appliances
LPCCD units will also feature high efficiency Energy Star rated windows and appliances. These windows will help control the temperature in the home due to their high insulative value. Depending on placement of the windows, they are capable of absorbing more heat on parts that don’t get a lot of sun in the north and reflecting heat on the south side allowing more light. This helps reduce heating and cooling costs—saving energy and money. Energy conserving appliances featured in the homes like the stove, refrigerator, and microwave will also help conserve energy and save money on monthly electric bills.
Energy Star Rated Cool Roof Tops
LPCCD is also using cool roof tops on some buildings to help conserve energy. They help reduce the use of air conditioning and are one of the best green building features for urban, multi-family dwellings. Cool roof tops are highly reflected and are known to reduce the affects of the phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island. This causes cities to be warmer than surrounding suburbs or rural areas. Since urban areas have a greater percentage of paved surfaces that absorb direct sunlight and re-radiate it, warmer temperatures are created. Cool roofs reduce the amount of dark colored surfaces on rooftops so the direct heat from the sun is reflected off of the roof surface which reduces summer cooling needs in the building by up to 25%.
Solar panels are another green building feature on The Washington Street Mixed Use Buildings. The environmental benefits of solar power are due to the conservation of energy, saving homeowners on average between 60-80% savings on monthly electric bills. It is the best energy saving feature on the market and typically not used in New Jersey urban homeowner markets.
Green Tips Everyone Can Use
Use public transportation
You can reduce your carbon footprint (the amount of energy you consume) by opting to take the train or bus instead of your car or walking whenever possible. You might start to see more people on bikes these days.
Get the children involved
Encourage children to turn off lights and television before they leave the room, not to leave water running while brushing their teeth and unplug chargers from electrical outlets when they’re not in use. Talk to children about ways they can conserve energy and take them on local trips to save gas and conserve energy.
Use a water bottle
Even though you might recycle those brand name plastic water bottles, it’s still waste and it adds up. Consider using a reusable water bottle at the gym and water coolers at work.
Keep your car properly maintained.
Drive wise and minimize unnecessary miles by doing errands in one trip. Getting regular tune-ups and maintenance, having clean air filters, and keeping your tires inflated will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. If every American’s tires were properly inflated we could save around 2 billion gallons of gas each year! (Check your manual for optimal pressure). Lastly, get the junk out of the trunk! All that extra weight is sapping your fuel economy.
Buy locally grown fruit and vegetables.
Support local community supported agriculture projects like Lincoln Park Community Farm and local farmers markets.