(Jan. 10, 2020) Why build (or renovate) green?

A green home is a type of house designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Green building means improving the way that homes and homebuilding sites use energy, water and materials to reduce impacts on human health and the environment.

Many are motivated to build green for the benefit of a growing population and the planet. But, green building is also a financial choice providing healthier, more affordable utilities, such as solar, wind and geothermal technologies.

The upfront costs to construct are more expensive, but the investment will repay itself fairly quickly with savings on utility bills.

Net zero, as it relates to green building, means that a home produces as much energy as it consumes.

Maryland has adopted the International Energy Conservation Code, which is updated every three years. Currently, the 2015 IECC is in use in Worcester County per the county website.

Some of the updated standards for residential construction include:

• Wall insulation requirements have become more stringent.

• Most homes required to have a whole-house mechanical ventilation system.

• Window glazing U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient requirements are more stringent in many climate zones.

• A large percentage of lighting fixtures in a new home must be so-called high efficacy fixtures that use compact fluorescent lamps or other energy-efficient lighting.

• Duct tightness requirements have become more stringent.

• The airtightness requirements for the building shell are more stringent, and airtightness testing is required on all homes. This is achieved by a final blower door building envelope leakage testing and duct leakage testing is required. These tests must be performed by a County Approved test contractor having training/certifications to perform tests per the 2015 IECC.

– Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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