Sustainable Building in a Constantly Changing World

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Sustainable Building in a Constantly Changing World

Matt Brock

September 24, 2021
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Sustainable building has moved the home building industry forward over the last several decades. What this type of construction entails is a use of design and whole systems implementation in order to minimize environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption of buildings. This is done with the intention to contribute to the health of its occupants. BedBrock has made it an uncompromising standard in our new developments, we find unique ways to implement energy-efficient solutions regardless of budget size.

Why is green building such a necessary component to the industry? On a global level, compared to other major sectors, the building industry has the greatest potential for minimizing green house gas emissions. If done correctly, with continued growth of these practices, the building sector could help save energy emissions by upwards of 50% by the year 2050. At a local level, builders who do green builds report an increase of the asset by over 7%. Other than the positive outcome this type of development brings, the appreciation of the incentive shows that the public cares and that there is a demand for this trend.

Many luxury structures of today contain sustainable features that are both environmentally efficient and technologically savvy. For example, when it comes to lighting, the best quality types to utilize are LED bulbs. Using these creates a more energy efficient result for the electrical consumptions of a home with modes like motion sensors and photo-switches that help track when lighting needs to be applied in a room. In addition to sustainable lighting, homes stay green by using daytime lighting methods with key design strategies which provides light in the right spaces of one’s home. Doing so eliminates the need to use electrical lights in certain parts of a home in the daytime. These technologies have been around for years and have improved tremendously since they were first introduced. We implement the LED lighting system in all our homes, the positive feedback we receive from clients report less regular light bulb changes, convenience of automated light sensors and overall, our clients are happy to use a more energy-efficient solution.

Another great feature at large is the design of water usage. With the world constantly expanding, one’s water consumption becomes more difficult to track, and this is a progressively growing challenge, especially in Arizona. One way to track and manage water intake is through the implementation of hot water recirculation pumps. What these do is provide hot water instantly upon demand through the process of slowly pumping hot water through hot water pipes and back to the water heater through either a dedicated line or through the cold-water line. This, in turn, saves the amount of water used to heat one’s pipes compared to traditional uses of water heating.

Another factor to combat here in Arizona is the heat. With forecasted rising temperatures in the future summers of the state, it is urgent to create and use landscape and site designs that mitigate negative heat impact on buildings and allow for positive solar gain in the winter. Strategically shading one’s home for the hot summers contributes to green building in that it will not heat up one’s home and cause them to use more air conditioning than is already needed. Landscaping plays a role not only on the sustainability of one’s structure, but also its surrounding property. A popular trend that is being implemented in the state is what is called zero-scaping. This form of landscaping minimizes the number of plants that soak of large amounts of water like grass lawns and instead puts the focus on optimizing some of the more essential features of a property like trees and shrubs for shading/cooling. In terms of the horizontal landscape of one’s property, turf grass lawns and decorative gravel have become a popular focus for those who are thinking green when it comes to their home. Through our design-build process, our architects and landscape designers work closely to optimize the use of shading. Roof panels and extended patio covers are a natural extension of desert architecture shading from the burning summer heat. Mesquite and Palo Verde trees are frequently used in landscaping with grand canopy’s providing natural shade.

Air Conditioning systems play an important role when it comes to being sustainable as well. As stated earlier, when a house becomes overheated from exterior sunlight, A/C systems generally kick into higher gear to cool down the house. If you use the right air conditioning system, though, this is no problem to deal with. Some of the best energy efficient types of units on the market are known as the dual stage compressor and variable speed compressor. These units may be costly upfront for a homeowner, but they will make their money back on the amount saved in monthly utility bills. Not only that, but A/C units like these add to one’s sustainable equity that gets added to the structure.

Here at Bedbrock, we have been involved in the Green Building Program in the City of Scottsdale for over the last 20 years, creating energy efficient homes statewide. We have carried this craft into every one of our homes since joining the practice. As a custom home builder in Arizona, we have made it a priority of ours to deliver top quality homes in the Paradise Valley area and have done so partly through the Green Building Program’s standards.  

An example of our green building initiatives occurred at our project in First Street, Old Town Scottsdale. The structure of this home was built with ICF block. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) are a stay in place, 5-in-1 concrete forming system incorporating structure, insulation, an air/vapor barrier and a finish attachment. This Lego brick-like method is a cost effective, resilient and environmentally friendly construction system used to minimize the amount of material used and simplify the process of pouring concrete walls. ICF blocks are also rated to have great sound absorption, which is great for homes in the surrounding area when it comes to noise pollution on construction sites.

When building a BedBrock home in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, or any part of Arizona, we keep in mind that these structures will stand tall for generations to come. And because we aim to make our products last, it is imperative that we implement the most efficient practices to date to limit the carbon footprint for current and future homeowners.

Statistical Information found at https://www.worldgbc.org/benefits-green-buildings