Green vs. Sustainable -

posted Aug 15, 2014, 6:08 AM by Keith Groninger   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 6:14 AM ]
Perhaps you've heard the term Sustainable used in conversation about Green construction. Like Energy-Efficiency or Water Conservation, Sustainable Construction is an aspect of many Green homes. But a home doesn't have to be "green-certified" in order for it to be Sustainable.

Sustain by definition means, "maintain", "support" or "endure", but as it relates to sustainable construction refers to a structure that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability to continue meeting the needs in the future.

Sustainable construction looks at the impact of a building over its entire lifetime, while optimizing its economic viability, performance and functionality. Standard building practices are often guided only by initial cost considerations. Sustainable construction uses best practices which emphasize long-term operating and maintenance costs.


Not all sustainable practices make sense for every project, however a sustainable approach can be considered across many aspects.

Property Characteristics
If you haven't yet selected your property, consider issues we address in our section on PropertyEvaluation. For every piece of property there are characteristics that can contribute to the efficiency and durability of the structure. Passive solar design, prevailing breezes, existing vegetation and drainage patterns should all be considered during the design phase. In most cases there is no additional cost associated with these decisions, but substantial savings and benefits that can be gained.

Site Development
The most likely benefits available from site development include durability and environmental. Planning drainage away from the structure that is captured on the property reduces moisture and potential termite infestation, while collecting rain water runoff reduces sediments and can be used for irrigation.

Water Management
Florida-friendly landscaping and irrigation design can be managed without extra cost, while reducing the need for irrigation and requiring less maintenance. The cost of a rain water collection system might be offset over time by a reduction of irrigation water as well. Zoning the irrigation system to provide just the right amount of water as needed, can save water as well. Additional information is available at Water Conservation.

Energy Efficiency
Reducing the demand for energy and increasing the efficiency of the systems within the home are sure ways to reduce operating costs. Design can have a major impact on the efficiency of the structure at little or no cost but the most benefit comes from starting as early as possible in the process. See our recommendations on our Energy Efficient Design section.

In the next post even more sustainable aspects will be discussed.
  • Smart Resources
  • Durable Construction
  • Functional Design
  • Indoor Health
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Waste Management
  • Operations and Maintenance
Sustainable and Green building practices are common in most of the projects designed and built by Groninger Custom Homes.
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