Going Green: A Guide to Green Building Codes

Although certain cities and builders in the United States have been cognizant of energy efficient construction methods since the 1970s, most areas of the country didn’t hop on the “green building code” train until relatively recently. Most municipalities within the Carolinas and Virginia fall into this latter group, but now that these states have embraced green building codes, they are all in!

It’s important to note that every city has its own green building codes. Those in Asheville may not be the same as those in Winston-Salem or Charleston, for example. This guide is meant to serve as a general resource, helping you understand the basics of green building codes. It is not, however, a replacement for doing your due diligence and finding out precisely what requirements you need to meet in your local area.

Why do green building codes exist?

Green building codes are primarily intended to reduce the negative effects construction can have on the environment. They also encourage sustainable building practices, which are good for people, animals, and plants everywhere. If your city or town has adopted green building codes, it means they are taking humanity’s duty to care for the environment seriously, and that is an extremely positive thing!

What exactly do green building codes require?

As mentioned already, no two municipalities have exactly the same green building codes. This means you may not have to meet all of the following specifications in order to pass your final inspection. That said, the majority of green building codes address at least some of these issues: water usage, indoor air quality, use of low-toxicity construction materials, proper recycling of the aforementioned materials, and electrical use during construction.

What if I don’t understand my city’s green building codes?

If you find yourself confused by the green building codes that apply to your zip code, don’t despair. That’s why you have a contractor! If your construction professional isn’t already aware of the green building codes in your area, he or she will be able to easily figure out what regulations need to be adhered to over the course of your project.

In certain areas, the majority of green building codes pertain to practices during the construction process. In others, they tend to have to do with the house itself. You may find, for example, that your city is more worried about whether or not your home’s light fixtures are EnergyStar rated than about how much water was used while your renovation was occurring. This will differ from region to region, but it’s important for you and your contractor to be familiar with what really matters to your local building department.

At Hatch Homes, we strongly believe in the importance of green building codes off all kinds and in sustainable construction practices. If you are planning to remodel your home in the near future and energy efficiency is a priority for you too, we sincerely hope you’ll consider us for your upcoming job. We look forward to meeting you and can’t wait to get started!

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