JD Howell and Company

Building Green

Everyone is talking about green building these days, and it is easy to see why. Buildings currently account for nearly 40% of all energy use in the US, and many of us live in leaky, poorly insulated, and potentially moldy homes. As energy prices continue to rise, increasing efficiency will become a necessity rather than a luxury.

Building science has advanced by leaps and bounds in past twenty years, and we now have all the tools needed to build healthy, low energy homes on a reasonable budget. The Passive House movement, which uses computer energy modeling, super-insulated walls and glazing, and site-verified air sealing, has created homes in Maine that require no heating system whatsoever, for around $150 per square foot.
Building Green

Green buildings come in all shapes and sizes.

While not all of us can live in Passive Houses, but we can all certainly appreciate the value of a healthy home and a low utility bill, and significant efficiency improvements can be achieved while adding only 5-10% to the total cost of new construction. Other green building tools, such as using recycled and locally sourced materials, actually save you money on the front end. And nothing increases the quality of life in an old home like new insulation in the basement or attic.

Green building is very much at the core of what we do, whether it’s building an off-grid cottage or helping make winter in an antique cape more comfortable and affordable. We strive to continually improve our knowledge base and offer our clients the best possible advice and expertise, regardless of the project. Please contact us and get started making your new home – or your present home – greener, healthier, and more efficient.

Please check back, as this page will continue to evolve. For now, here are a few links to our favorite green building sites on the web.

www.midcoastgreencollaborative.org This local group sponsors and annual Sustainable Living Expo and offers energy audits.

www.mainehomeperformance.org Provides information on Efficiency Maine’s incentive-based weatherization program.

www.builditsolar.com ‘The Renewable Energy Site for Do-it-Youselfers.’ Check out the info on sunspaces and their low-cost solar water heaters.

http://mercedinspector.com/Documents/Advanced%20framing.pdf Article on ‘smart framing,’ a more efficient way to frame houses.

www.mainewoodheat.com Builders of high-efficiency masonry heaters.

www.icfhomes.com Packed with info on ICF homes and foundations.

www.thermotechfiberglass.com If you can afford them, these are the windows.

www.radiantdesigninstitute.com The web’s leading resource on radiant heat.

www.passivehouse.us The US-based offshoot of the German Passivhaus Institut.

www.buildingscience.com The Building Science Corporation, leaders in --- you guesses it – building science.