Green Building and Sustainability
Jenkins Custom Homes is actively committed to green building and sustainability, which promotes the health and well-being of our natural environment. As a result, environmental, economic and social benefits are obtained. Sustainability is important because all the choices we pursue and all the actions that we make today will affect everything in the future.
What makes a home green?
In order for a home to be labeled “green”, it must address several concerns related to the environmental impacts of the building industry and of the residential sector of the U.S. economy. These concerns can usually be divided into five environmental topics:
- MATERIALS AND PRODUCTS
- HEALTH AND SAFETY
The City of Austin created the nation’s first green building program in 1990. Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) is now the nation’s most successful sustainable building program.
Austin Energy Green Building. Retrieved June 26, 2014 from www.austinenergy.com/wps/portal/aegb/.
Energy effects all facets of home design, construction, and operation, from drawing the initial plans to installing light bulbs and operating appliances. Energy use over the lifespan of a building may be the single most important environmental and economic issue to address in a home. Excessive fossil-fuel energy that is used to power our homes results in significant environmental impacts on a local as well as global scale, and can unnecessarily increases the home’s annual operating and maintenance costs.
Jenkins Custom Homes utilizes a number of methods to ensure energy efficiency including:
- Zipwall dust barrier system (pictured above)
- Design techniques, such as placing the home on its site to best respond to climatic conditions, sun orientation and site characteristics
- Deep overhangs on west facing windows
- Proper sizing and placement of low E double pane glass windows
- “Cool roof” radiant barrier decking
- Second stage polyseal around wall switches, electrical outlets and light fixtures
- Spray-foam or blown-in-blanket system insulation
- LED lights, which use significantly less energy than a standard light bulb and last much longer
- Advanced home automation systems that integrate with your lifestyle to help conserve energy
Water use in Central Texas has dramatically increased with the rapid growth of the area’s population. Water use has reached near capacity levels during several summers over the past decade. In addition, water quality issues have entered the limelight as development moves to the outskirts of towns into environmentally sensitive areas. Competing uses for water – domestic, industrial, agricultural, and recreational – will further aggravate the situation in the near future.
Jenkins Custom Homes promotes water conservation by using:
- Climate-approach landscaping utilizing native species for more efficient irrigation (pictured above)
- Water wells where available
- High-performing, low-flow plumbing fixtures
- Rainwater harvesting systems
- Rainwater gardens
Materials and products
In Central Texas, there is an abundant supply of locally produced building materials and products. Stone such as granite and limestone are durable, no-maintenance building materials. Local wood such as cedar/juniper, often cleared from property prior to development, is a good choice for casing, trim and cabinetry. Local hardwoods, locally milled, like pecan and mesquite, make easily maintained, durable flooring materials. In addition, composite recycled wood/plastic decking and trim products are manufactured in the region.
Jenkins Custom Homes uses green materials and products that have a high measure of the following attributes:
- Locally sourced and/or produced (locally sourced limestone pictured above)
- Reused or salvaged (similar to the reclaimed 100-year-old wood used in the photo above)
- Recycled-content and recyclable
- Resource-efficient during production and/or installation
- Rapidly renewable
- Durable, low-maintenance
- Low in toxins
Health and safety
Health concerns have increased in prominence as homes have become tighter and more energy-efficient. In addition, modern building materials and products are typically highly processed and may contain chemical compounds that are irritants to some people when used in indoor conditions. Eliminating or reducing the source of indoor pollutants and contaminants is the best strategy to successfully build a healthy home.
Jenkins Custom Homes is committed to building healthy homes. Use of the following products and systems help to achieve that goal:
- Zero VOC interior latex paint (pictured above)
- Reverse osmosis provides toxin-free water
- No-added-formaldehyde cabinets and insulation
- Installation of exhaust fans and outside air intake
- Mechanical ventilation and dehumidification
- 4″ HEPA air filters
- Ensure cleanliness during construction and promoting dust-free areas behind the walls
- Toxin-free chemicals used on surfaces that might retain and release those toxins into the home later
- Advanced technology used to monitor and control the quality of the home’s systems
- Installation of physical termite barriers
- Proper landscaping
Learn about the Healthy Homes Standard.
Green building measures under this topic include location of the home and design features. Universal design can potentially extend the useful life of a home for its occupants as they grow older or become infirm, or simply make a home more livable for anyone who may experience temporary mobility problems from a sports injury or accident.
Jenkins Custom Homes promotes community by:
- Creating both indoor and outdoor living spaces geared towards entertainment (pictured above)
- Utilizing universal design
- Building guest casitas, which promote extended family living and a communal lifestyle
- Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce waste streams
- Conserve and restore natural resources
- Reduce operating costs
- Improve occupant productivity
- Enhance asset value and profits
- Optimize life-cycle economic performance
- Enhance occupant health and comfort
- Improve indoor air quality
- Minimize strain on local utility infrastructure
- Improve overall quality of life
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012, December 19). Why Build Green?
Retrieved from www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/whybuild.htm.
Jenkins Custom Homes recycles 80% of all jobsite materials on every custom home construction project in Austin.
Just call us Austin green home builders, as we have been doing this for over 5 years now in partnership with Construction Waste Recycler of Texas. It is simply the right thing to do for our environment. It doesn’t cost that much extra and tends to keep the jobsite cleaner, not to mention the positive effect it has on all who work on the project and visit it. We are proud, as a home builder, to support the environment and promote good, green community relations on all our jobs.
An increase in the adoption of green building practices will reduce energy consumption significantly. In addition, occupants of green buildings enjoy healthier indoor environments and higher productivity levels.