- GREEN -
Building sustainable homes is not just a trend; and certainly it is at the very heart and core of what we do. We implement practical green building design, construction and operations solutions to deliver efficient homes that permit healthier and safer lifestyles for their owners. Award-winning projects like our homes in Greenarama help to showcase the green building difference and allow for us to shine a light on the extensive benefits and value-add that go hand-in-hand with sustainable building practices.
What is Green Building?
Green building is the practice of creating homes out of materials that are environmentally responsible, using processes that create a resource-efficient home — throughout it’s life.
Also known as “sustainable” or a “high-performance” home, a green home is a highly efficient home. A green home is built with products that are better for the environment such as recycled countertops and composite decking, and also extend into lighting and plumbing fixtures that help minimize the consumption of water, energy and natural resources. Green building also means minimizing environmental effects – such as waste and pollution.
And, at the end of the day, building a green home promotes healthier living environments benefiting the people — the families — who call them home.
What is LEED?
At Sterling Homes, in Cincinnati, Oh, we know that green building is the way the future. It is now the standard in commercial building, and LEED for residential homes has really become prominent in the more recent years. So what exactly does LEED mean? LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is simply a certification process that was set up by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to certify green homes. LEED details the code that all parties who touch the home – from architects, to builders & developers, to the subcontractors will follow.
People often hear that a project is LEED certified Silver or Gold status. There are actually four levels of LEED certification, and projects are awarded points as a project is built. Depending upon the number of points received, the project is awarded certified, silver, gold or platinum status.
According to the USGBC, there are nine key areas measured by LEED:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Location and Linkages
- Awareness and Education
- Innovation in Design
- Regional Priority
Note: a home can be considered a Green Home, but NOT LEED-certified. A completely custom green home can be built, using all of the same products and processes, and yet the homeowners may choose NOT to get the home LEED certified. Some homeowners feel it is enough to know that their home has been built according to green building standards, and is more efficient and well-built, but choose not to to through the process and expense of the LEED certification process.
Here is a helpful link to learn more about this process: http://greenhomeguide.com/program/leed-for-homes.
At Sterling Homes, we build homes that dreams are made of, and we support our homeowners in whatever path they choose.
What is Geothermal?
We are often asked what Geothermal means. In simplest terms, geothermal is a different source of energy that uses the heat from the ground to heat and cool a home. This serves the purpose of reducing stress on the system, and therefore saving time and energy (and money) to heat and cool a home.
We take pride in the work we do and work with each homeowner to determine what will be the most cost-effective for the homeowner. We would advise a client to put geothermal in the house depending upon the return on the investment. Together, we carefully look at the savings that the geothermal system will provide a client, calculated out against the cost of the up-front investment.
What is Energy Star?
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that serves to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
Sterling Homes chooses to use Energy Star products simply because they are the best on the market. Energy Star products are efficient, and present solutions for our clients that will positively impact their lives long after we are finished building. To learn more, visit Energy Star’s website.
What are the benefits when building Green?
Most Sterling Homes clients choose to build green due to the enormous environmental benefits, and the long-term bottom line savings. Building green means maximizing both economic and environmental performance. The Sterling Homes team works together, from the very beginning, and takes an integrated approach to ensure that the homeowner receives maximum benefits.
According to the United States Environmental Protections Agency, the following are the potential benefits when building Green:
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources
- Reduce operating costs
- Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services
- Improve occupant productivity
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
- Enhance occupant comfort and health
- Heighten aesthetic qualities
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
Do homeowners receive a Tax Abatement for building "Green"?
According to the City of Cincinnati: the LEED-CRA residential tax abatement is a real property tax exemption offered for both new construction and renovation of residential space (up to 3 units), constructed according to green standards and located within the City of Cincinnati. To be eligible, projects must receive LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.
The best resource to consult is the City of Cincinnati’s Community Development offices.
What are Green Building Products?
The below imagery is illustrative of the green building products Sterling Homes uses during construction.
Does Building Green cost more?
Not with Sterling Homes. All Sterling houses are built to standards of LEED.