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What is 'Green'

Sustainability and green are complex ideas that mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For the purposes of this directory, the Sustainability Institute defines each in the following manner:

"Sustainability" refers to the mutual impact of economic growth, environmental protection, social equity and making decisions that are socially responsible, economically viable, and provide for this generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. "Sustainable techniques", to us, are ones that are energy efficient, cost effective, healthy, durable, and environmentally friendly.

"Green materials" have a long useful life, have the ability to be recycled after their useful life, often have a high recycled content, have a low impact on energy bills and a low embodied energy (total energy that went into making them). The use of recycled materials, long useful life (durability), ability to be recycled or upcycled, low embodied energy and affordability are all aspects considered in defining a product as ‘green.’

This database saves the user time and effort in researching the manufacturing process for these green features by linking the end user directly to the companies who provide the product within 500 miles of SC, or the service within the state. In creating this directory, we have greatly considered the impact that transportation of products has on the environment and our local economy, an often overlooked, but important aspect of a product's ecological footprint.

Green Building Programs

Developers, architects, contractors and other building professionals are constantly contacting and approaching us about incorporating sustainable techniques into their businesses.  There are several programs that offer guidelines that assist in making this industry more sustainable.  Here we provide information on three of the leading programs (LEED, EarthCraft House and Energy Star) and provide links for you to investigate further:

LEED Green Building Rating System

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.  Developed by USGBC, LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality. LEED is a practical rating tool for green building design and construction that provides immediate and measurable results for building owners and occupants.

- taken from www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=124.

More information on the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and LEED can be found at www.usgbc.org & www.usgbc.org/LEED.

Earthcraft House

EarthCraft House is a green building program that serves as a blueprint for healthy comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment. The aim of the program is to help home builders be leaders in smart growth management and environmental stewardship.

Building an EarthCraft House is about constructing a healthy, more valuable home while minimizing environmental impacts. EarthCraft House follows a systems approach to home building that stresses an understanding of how the different components of a home work together. This approach results in a home that performs better, is more economical for the homeowner and costs little more to build than a comparable home built with standard construction practices.

Any size or style of home at any price point can achieve EarthCraft House certification by meeting these criteria. These guidelines are flexible to allow for a variety of approaches to environmental construction. EarthCraft House guidelines address energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality, resource efficiency, waste management, and water conservation.

- taken from www.earthcrafthouse.com/About/about.htm

More information on EarthCraft House can be found at www.earthcrafthouse.com

Energy Star Homes

ENERGY STAR is a national, voluntary program sponsored and developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that promotes energy-efficient products, including homes. Homes that have earned the ENERGY STAR meet the EPA’s performance guidelines for energy efficiency and receive third party verification from an accredited organization.

- taken from www.energystarhomes.com

An ENERGY STAR labeled home uses 30 percent less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating than a home built to the Model Energy Code. In addition to energy savings, an ENERGY STAR home offers quality construction, improved comfort and indoor air quality, and higher resale value, all while protecting the environment. Energy efficient features typically include a tighter home envelope, tighter duct sealing, improved levels of insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, and energy-efficient windows. All ENERGY STAR labeled homes undergo a third party evaluation of their energy efficiency.

- taken from www.energystarhomesamerica.com/what.html

More information on Energy Star Homes can be found at: www.energystarhomes.com & www.energystar.gov.

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