An Introduction to Sustainable Building

Sustainable Building - Green Home Construction

A couple weeks ago we introduced you to net-zero energy homes (NZEH) by explaining what these homes are and what the benefits of building/owning a NZEH are. If you haven’t yet had the chance to check this article out, you can do so here: An Introduction to Net-Zero Energy Homes. Now, here’s a look at green building, which can also be referred to as green construction or sustainable building.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Patrick Reardon, a sustainability advocate and owner of Botan Construction Inc., which specializes in green construction methods.

Martell Home Builders (MHB): What is sustainable building?

Patrick Reardon (PR): Building sustainably is considering the materials and methods used in order to build a building that is durable, reduces our requirements on energy and water, and is healthy for its occupants. It does not use materials that are laden with chemicals and VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). It considers the lifecycle of the building from cradle to grave. It considers the overall energy requirements for construction including transportation, manipulation of materials. It’s enhanced with natural lighting, and using the sun for solar heat gain and learning how to harness this energy passively.

MHB: Are there any financial benefits to green building?

PR: The long term benefits of green building are undeniable. The payback period for green building can be anywhere between ten to twenty years but people are starting to realize that these enhancements add value to these buildings and people are willing to pay for it. Savings over the lifetime of a home could be sixty to ninety percent compared to the average home. Implementing solar panels can even be a source of income. Homes that have LEED or Pasive Haus designation rely on less energy than the typical home and that could result in substantial savings for the home owner over the ownership period of their home.

MHB: What is LEED?

PR: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification system that considers all aspects of green building and provides a quantifiable rating platform for sustainable constructions.

MHB: What kind of support is out there for those wishing to implement green building?

PR: As awareness increases people are seeing the value of green building. They realize the benefits many are looking exclusively for builders who are well-versed in sustainable building practice. With time we’ll see that this will no longer be a niche market but the norm as municipalities implement changes in their building codes to reflect these required changes.

MHB: What is the latest and greatest in green construction technology?

PR: Some of the best technologies are technologies that have existed for hundreds of years. Green roofs, for example, have been around for centuries in northern Scandinavia but have only really gained momentum here in North America as recently as the mid to late nineties. On the modern technological side, we’re making great advances in capturing solar and wind energies with products that are more efficient and less costly than ever before.

MHB: Patrick, thank you for taking the time to discuss sustainable building with us.

You can learn more about Patrick and Botan Construction by visiting

More on Green Construction

Hey MHB fans, do you have questions about green home construction? Is there a topic you’d like to see us cover on the blog? Leave a comment below to let us know!