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How Does Green Building Construction Affect You?

April 26, 2012

Photo by: Derek Hill, Compliance Specialist

According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, Seattle is the #6 greenest city in the US.  Three survey categories were considered: cleanliness, pedestrian friendliness and public transit, and public parks.

However, while all these factors are relatively easy to notice, there is another component of a green city that’s not as obvious at first glance: buildings!

Building construction and operation have impacts on the environment. Buildings use resources such as energy, water, and raw materials. They generate waste (through occupancy, construction, and demolition) and sometimes emit harmful pollutants.

Here are a few of the basic principals considered in sustainable building:

  1. Choosing a proper construction site or reusing existing buildings. Location and orientation of a building affect transportation, energy use, parking, lighting, and storm water runoff.
  2. Finding ways to reduce energy usage: proper construction materials, renewable energy resources, automatically dimming fluorescent lights, high-performance windows, day lighting, etc.
  3. Conserving water: recycled water for on-site use, drought-resistant plantings, and water-efficient plumbing.
  4. Using environmental materials and products: materials that are locally produced, recyclable materials, elimination of products that pollute or are toxic during their manufacture, use, or reuse.
  5. Using nature’s “free” resources such as air, water, and light, rather than sealing nature out and relying on mechanical systems: natural ventilation, solar shades that double as solar power generators, etc. Also, improving air quality by use of environmentally sound cleaning products, nontoxic paints, sealants, adhesives and carpets, etc.

Many people mentally equate green buildings with energy savings. Reducing energy use is indeed one important aspect of sustainability, but it’s not all. Green means getting more with less—better quality of life with a healthier and more comfortable working space. It’s good for business (lower energy and life cycle costs, higher employee productivity by creating a healthier working environment), and at the same time uses fewer resources.

There are more and more green buildings constructed lately. Insuring such a building versus a traditional one may pose some challenges should a loss occur. What materials need to be used in reconstruction in order to keep the building green? Where and how is debris going to be disposed? What is the replacement time going to be? Construction practices change over time, and we all need to change along with them.

 Article by: Cristina Pellett, Field Representative

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gilroy D'silva permalink
    May 8, 2012 4:10 pm

    Considering implementing green technology in homes is much more expensive compared to standard technology, does this mean that the cost of insurance will also be higher?

  2. May 8, 2012 6:40 pm

    Yes, it can be related to the cost of rebuilding or repairing the home. Most Homeowner policies are written to replace the home up to the policy limit. That limit is set at the estimated cost to do a complete rebuild the way it was prior to the loss. If the construction was green technology, then the replaced home would be also. It is important to get the replacement cost of your home as accurate as you can; nothing more depressing than finding out your limits were too low! Each agent has access to excellent tools to estimate replacement cost, give them a call!

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