I would think that it can be very daunting to find sustainable and green solutions with so many options available. Comprehensive answers to meeting the challenge in home construction are scant. There are so many Shades of Green.
So where is the low-hanging fruit? Operational $, capital $, materials, equipment? Where to start?
Here's some suggestions from a faculty member (Barry Giles) at the US Green Building Council.
1. Sweat the small stuff. Tackle less challenging efforts to win support and create excitement for more challenging efforts. Energy conservation and recycling waste, for example, delivers the biggest return on investment. (Katy notes: Framing 16" oc. vs 24" oc? Re-use of forming materials? Recycling Construction waste by type?) These things may not be as sexy as installing solar panels, but they deliver five times the results.
2. Look at what you're already doing. Use recycling programs to start a dialogue about what more can be done. (Katy notes: Keep track of "Lessons Learned", Involve everyone on the construction site.)
3. Review case studies of green projects. Not only can they inspire, but the can help win over skeptics.
4. Take advantage of grants, incentives and tax savings. In Idaho, both Idaho Power and the Federal Government offer these for energy star.
5. Monitor your work. Track the savings so you can prove the results of your green efforts.
Here's one of my own: 6. Think of your project from the ground up, or the beginning of the day on, and visualize how you can "Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Rethink" the process.
I would love to hear about how your company, operationally or by project, takes on the green challenge! :-)
Idaho Blue Insulation