PHILLIP makes an excellent point in this post..."...look at how you will be able to use that home in the future and what your needs will be down the road..." !!I've added my own exclamation mark to this advice...read on...
Sustainable building means different things to different people, but the underlying principles all come back to a few core items.
Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation
Green(sustainable) building practices aim to reduce the enviromental impact of buildings. Buildings account for a large amount of land use, energy and water consumption, and air and atmosphere alteration. Considering the statistics, reducing the amount of natural resources buildings consume and the amount of pollution given off is seen as crucial for future sustainability, according to EPA.The environmental impact of buildings is often underestimated, while the perceived costs of green buildings are overestimated. A recent survey by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development finds that green costs are overestimated by 300 percent, as key players in real estate and construction estimate the additional cost at 17 percent above conventional construction, more than triple the true average cost difference of about 5 percent.
Everyone has heard about most of the principles of Green or Sustainable building practices, but one is not discussed much is Universal Design. Universal Design techniques include ground level entry, wider interior doorways, low or no threshold showers, and many other design items that allow ease of use by all inhabitants regardless of age or abilities. This will allow the owners to 'age in place' and be able to grow old in their own home as opposed to a nursing home or other similiar type facility.
So as you can see green or sustainable building is not just about bamboo floors and recycled material in your carpets. Sustainable building is about how the home or building effects the enviroment from the idea stage through demolition, and how that home is used during its lifetime.
So if your building a new home or renovating the home your in now, look at how you will be able to use that home in the future and what your needs will be down the road. Make sure the decisions you make now take into account what you will need in the future, and how those decisions will affect your children and their children and so on.