What is “Green” Building?

At Cogdill Builders of Florida, we are very conscious and concerned about the environment and the preservation of our natural resources. We do our best to build in an “environmentally friendly” way, by following many of the “Green Homebuilding Guidelines” initiated by the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders). Our SMARTHOMES feature dozens of “Green” building techniques and products which are included at No additional charge. Because our homes are custom built, your home can be constructed to contain any additional “Green” features or products you desire.

Green Building concepts are beneficial for many reasons. In addition to preserving natural resources (i.e. trees, water, etc.), reducing energy consumption (i.e. electricity, fuel etc.), results in less power plant emissions, and therefore, less air pollution.

Another benefit of a “Green” home is its cost-effectiveness. Because “Green” homes require less energy to cool and heat and use high-efficiency appliances, the homeowner will benefit from lower energy bills. Green building may have higher up front costs, but overall life-cycle costs are less.*

*Many of the “Green” features listed below are included in our SMARTHOMES at No additional charge!

Other benefits such as; improving occupant health, comfort, productivity, reducing pollution and landfill waste are those to which a price-tag value cannot be ignored.

Resource: http://www.homeinnovation.com/greenliving

Below is a list of some of the “Green” Features, Products and Improvements outlined by the NAHB. The list is broken into five categories:

  1. Energy Efficiency
  2. Water Efficiency
  3. Indoor Environment Quality
  4. Resource Efficiency
  5. Site Selection and Site Development

1. Energy Efficiency

Air leakage can account for as much as 20-30% of energy loss through the building envelope. Although insulation reduces energy loss, air infiltration can compromise the efficiency of a building by allowing conditioned air to escape directly outdoors (or outdoor air inside), bypassing the insulation. Additionally, not only can cooled (or heated) air leak to the outdoors, but airborne water vapor can be allowed to move from a warmer to colder location and form condensation. The following items must be sealed to prevent air escape;

  • Sill sealer between foundation and sill plate.
  • Caulk bottom plate of exterior walls.
  • Ensure air barrier continuity at all framed cavities such as air chases, soffits, coffered or dropped ceilings, and behind tub/shower units on exterior walls.
  • Caulk/foam all electrical, plumbing, heating penetrations between floors (including attic, basement, crawl space, and garage) and to exterior
  • Block and seal cantilevered floors and kneewalls.
  • Weatherstrip attic hatches, kneewall doors.
  • Insulate, caulk, or foam between window/door jambs and framing.
  • Caulk/foam HVAC register boots to sub-floor or drywall that penetrate the building envelope.
  • If a fireplace is installed, install a gas fireplace that is sealed combustion or a wood-burning fireplace with gasketed doors.

Use Energy Efficient, Energy Star Windows:*
To assure optimum building envelope performance: Window area often comprises a substantial portion of the wall area in new homes. Compared to an opaque insulated wall, windows offer only about 15% to 25% of the R-value. In addition, they are a source of direct solar gains in the summer which can add substantially to the overall cooling load. Cogdill Builders select windows featuring the Energy Star label. Alternately, visit the website of the Efficient Windows Collaborative to see which type of glazing is recommended for your climate. Low-E coatings for windows are recommended for almost all regions of the U.S. Generally look for windows with as low a U-value as is affordable-they offer the best insulating value (U-value is the inverse of R-value). In cooling-dominated climates, use a window that has a low SHGC. Always choose a frame type that provides a thermal break, e.g., wood, composite, vinyl, or aluminum with a thermal break. Using high efficiency windows can not only enhance thermal performance, but also reduces the risk of condensation on windows. For passive solar designs and homes that are constructed with large amounts of glazing in a specific orientation, it is helpful to use windows selected for each orientation (e.g., high SHGC on south face for direct solar gain). Refer to the Resources for a more detailed understanding of how window technologies perform in various climates.

Increase the efficiency of your cooling system:
Select HVAC equipment bearing the ENERGY STAR label or check manufacturer’s literature for efficiency information. Look for an HVAC system with at a 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), or higher. Energy efficiency investment dollars may be better spent elsewhere in cooling-dominated climates*

Increase the efficiency of water heating:

Install equipment that provides the same amount of hot water for less energy than standard water heating equipment.

The hot water heater energy rating that is used to compare different water heaters is the Energy Factor (EF). EF represents the percentage of purchased fuel (electricity, gas, propane or oil) that is useful for heating water; it includes losses through the tank as well as flue losses. Electric tanks have a higher EF than fuel-fired heaters since they do not have flue losses. However, electric tanks can be more expensive to operate than fuel-fired tanks.

To select high efficiency water heating equipment, compare the yellow Energy Guide labels of similar equipment. Review manufacturer’s literature for Energy Factor information, the EF is not usually prominently displayed on the unit.

Insulate hot water piping. By Insulating hot water piping, benefits can be gained in two ways: 1) losses are reduced as hot water moves through the lines to the point of use, and 2) losses are slowed and may be reduced when hot water sits in the lines between draws. Foam pipe insulation is relatively inexpensive and easy to install. In addition to offering some energy savings, insulating the hot water lines is also likely to add convenience, comfort, and water savings. Hot water will get to the tap more quickly – a benefit for the user and less potential to let water run down the drain waiting for it to get hot.

Use an ENERGY STAR Advanced Lighting Package:

ENERGY STAR fixtures use about 2/3 less electricity than standard fixtures to provide equal light. Although, on average, an ENERGY STAR fixture may cost about $30 more than a comparable standard fixture, the fluorescent bulbs will last longer (on average about 7 years) and cost less to operate over their lifetime than incandescent bulbs. Placing 20 ENERGY STAR fixtures in a home in which electricity costs are 10.5 cents per kWh will reap almost $100 in annual savings to the homeowner in energy and bulb replacement costs, after accounting for the increase in the mortgage due to higher initial cost. Today’s fluorescent bulbs are dramatically improved over the old technology: not only are a wide variety of styles available, but the light quality is high and there is no flicker, hum, or delayed start. ENERGY STAR fixtures also carry a two-year warranty. The fixtures may be easily identified by the ENERGY STAR label.

Minimize outdoor lighting energy use by activating outdoor lighting when it is needed, rather than operating it continuously:

Install motion sensors on outdoor lighting. Motion sensors activate outdoor lighting only when it is needed, for instance to light an entry as one returns home after dark or to maintain security by illuminating outdoor areas when motion is detected. Many fixtures come with motion sensors, but motion sensors can also be installed separately. Not all outdoor ENERGY STAR fixtures have built-in motion sensors.

Reduce energy use in the home for appliances: Install ENERGY STAR labeled appliance: Refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine. On average, ENERGY STAR labeled appliances use at least 20% less energy than standard appliances to perform the same duties. ENERGY STAR labeled dishwashers and washing machines also use less water, which contributes to added resource efficiency. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when selecting major appliances or use the yellow EnergyGuide label to compare efficiency of similar appliances*

Resources: For a list of appliances meeting ENERGY STAR criteria and list of local stores that sell ENERGY STAR appliances: http://www.energystar.gov

Tool to estimate lighting energy savings of Advanced Lighting Package: https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/manuf_res/ALP_Energy_Bill_Savings_Charts.pdf

Reduce the need for artificial lighting by providing natural light when available.

Install tubular skylights in rooms without windows: Tubular skylights provide natural lighting to interior spaces while minimizing the inherent energy losses of standard skylights. Tubular skylights have a smaller diameter roof penetration than most skylights and have an additional layer of insulating glazing at the ceiling level.

Resources: Tubular Skylights (NAHB Research Center technology fact sheet)http://www.toolbase.org/Techinventory/TechDetails.aspx?ContentDetailID=945&BucketID=1&CategoryID=14

**Any procedure, or product not marked as “Included”, may be included at additional cost if available or feasible.

2. Water Efficiency:

Water heater located within 30 feet pipe run of all bathrooms and kitchen*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES (as possible, per plan)

ENERGY STAR® water-conserving appliances installed: (e.g., dishwasher, water heater, etc.)*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Water efficient showerhead: using conventional aerator or venturi technology for flow rate <2.5 gpm*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Water-efficient sink faucets/aerators: <2.2 gallons/minute*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Water Efficient toilets: Ultra low flow, (<1.6 gpm/flush) toilets with Vacuum-assist (if requested)*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Water Efficient Landscape Sprinkler System:Low-volume, non-spray irrigation system installed, e.g., drip irrigation, bubblers, drip emitters, soaker hose, stream-rotator spray heads*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES


3. Indoor Environmental Quality

Safe Ventilation of Heating & Cooling Equipment:Install heating, cooling and water heating equipment in isolated mechanical room or closet with an outdoor source of combustion and ventilation air*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Air Filtration: for HVAC and forced air conditioning and heating systems

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Provide mechanical ventilation at a rate of 7.5 cfm per bedroom + 7.5 cfm bathroomand is controlled automatically or continuously*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Vent kitchen range exhaust to the outside*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES, as per plan

Install a tightly-sealed door is between the garage and living area: that provides continuous air barrier between garage and living areas*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Ensure particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and hardwood plywood substrates are certified to low formaldehyde emission standards: ANSI A208.1, ANSI A208.2 and ANSI/HPVA HP1, respectively. Composite wood/agrifiber panel products must either contain no added urea-formaldehyde resins or must be third party certified for low formaldehyde emissions.

Use “Green” Flooring Material:such as Cork, Bamboo, Engineered Wood, Concrete, Carpeting made from recycled materials, etc.



Install carpet, carpet pad, and floor covering adhesives that hold “Green Label”: from Carpet and Rug Institute’s indoor air quality testing program or meet equivalent thresholds verified by a third party.

Install moisture resistant backer-board: under tiled surfaces in wet areas*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Keep plumbing supply lines out of exterior walls*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Install vapor retarder directly under slab: (6-mil) or on crawl space floor (8-mil)*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Insulate hot water pipes: in unconditioned spaces and with ½” insulation or other coating that comparably prevents condensation*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Mask HVAC outlets during construction: and vacuum ducts, boots, and grilles before turning on central heating/cooling system*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

**Any procedure, or product not marked as “Included”, may be included at additional cost if available or feasible.

4. Resource Efficiency

Build your home with Concrete Walls.*

Concrete is a “Green” productmade of natural & recycled ingredients, thus conserving our natural resources (i.e. trees). In addition, there isn’t any scrap wood, wasted byproducts, or debris left at the construction site. The concrete forms are also re-used thousands of times during their life span.

* Included in our SMARTHOMES

Use advanced framing techniques that reduce the amount of home building material while maintaining the structural integrity of the home.*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Use building dimensions and layouts that maximize the use of the resources:by designing your home in way that minimizes material cuts.*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES (designed as requested)

Opt for a covered entry (e.g., awning, covered porch): at exterior doors to prevent water intrusion and subsequent rotting of joists, sills, and finishes. Use recommended-sized roof overhangs for the climate you’re building in*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES (as per plan)

Install gutter and downspout system: to divert water 5 feet away from foundation and from there into the overall on-site drainage area

Minimize impact of drainage systems: by minimizing or eliminating impervious surfaces and designing driveways, walkways, and patios that allow storm-water runoff to infiltrate into the ground. Un-compacted gravel, crushed stone and open or porous paving blocks can be used for walkways and other light traffic areas

Install continuous and physical foundation termite barrierin areas where subterranean termite infestation is locally problematic*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Install enhanced foundation waterproofing*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES (if needed)

Dedicate & provide onsite area for the sorting and reuse of scrap building materials*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Use recycled-content building materials and conduct onsite recycling efforts*

*Included in the construction of our SMARTHOMES

Use certified wood for wood and wood-based materials and products: from all credible third-party certified sources

Use materials manufactured from renewable resources: (e.g., agricultural byproduct based products such as soy-based insulation; bamboo; wood-based products)

Use locally available, indigenous materials:If practical and/or available

**Any procedure, or product not marked as “Included”, may be included at additional cost if available or feasible.

5. “Green” Site Selection and Site Development

Select the site to minimize environmental impact: Avoid environmentally “sensitive areas” as identified through site foot-printing process or third party by:

  • Contacting Wetland Institute
  • Checking Local jurisdiction’s guidelines
  • Site foot-printing process results
  • Set of site plans

Choose an Infill Site: Vacant or underutilized land served by existing infrastructure that includes road, electrical power, sewer, and water.

Choose a Greyfield Site: Previously developed land with at least 50% of the surface area covered with impervious material including abandoned or derelict former commercial sites, such as shopping centers, that are not significantly contaminated.

Minimize slope disturbance:

  1. Complete a hydrological/soil stability study for steep slopes and use this study to guide the design of all structures onsite.
  2. Limit development footprint on steep slopes (slopes greater than or equal to 25%).
  3. Align road or extended driveway with natural topography to minimize its grade and reduce cut and fill.
  4. Reduce long-term erosion effects through the design and implementation of terracing, retaining walls, landscaping, and re-stabilization techniques.

Minimize soil disturbance and erosion:

  1. Use alternative means to install utilities, such as tunneling instead of trenching, use of smaller equipment, shared trenches or easements, and placement of utilities under streets instead of yards.
  2. Schedule construction activities to minimize exposed soils.
  3. Demarcate limits of clearing and grading

Manage storm water using low impact development:

  1. Develop and implement storm water management plans that minimize concentrated flows and seek to mimic natural hydrology.
  2. Preserve and use natural water and drainage features.
  3. Minimize impervious surfaces and use permeable materials for driveways, parking areas, walkways, and patios

Devise landscape plans to limit water and energy demand while preserving or enhancing the natural environment:

  1. Select turf grass and other vegetation that are natives or regionally appropriate species.
  2. Formulate a plan to restore or enhance natural vegetation that is cleared during development. Within this plan, phase landscaping to ensure denuded areas are quickly vegetated.
  3. Limit turf areas of landscaped area, selecting native and regionally appropriate trees and vegetation in a way that complements the natural setting.
  4. Group plants with similar watering needs (hydro-zoning).
  5. Specify planting of trees to increase site shading and moderate temperatures.
  6. Design vegetative wind breaks or channels as appropriate to local conditions.
  7. Require onsite tree trimmings or waste of regionally appropriate trees to be used as protective mulch during construction or as a base for walking trails.
  8. Establish an integrated pest management plan to minimize chemical use of pesticides and fertilizers.

Maintain wildlife habitat.

Conserve existing onsite vegetation:

  1. Prepare designated existing trees and vegetation for the impacts of construction through pruning, root pruning, fertilizing, and watering.
  2. Minimize disturbance of and damage to trees and other vegetation designated for protection through installation of fencing and avoidance of trenching, significant changes in grade, and compaction of soil and critical root zones.

Minimize onsite soil disturbance and erosion:

  1. Create construction “no disturbance” zones using fencing or flagging to protect vegetation and sensitive areas from construction vehicles, material storage, and washout.
  2. Demarcate limits of clearing and grading.
  3. Install and maintain sediment and erosion controls.
  4. Stockpile and cover good soil for later use.
  5. Reduce soil compaction from construction equipment through laying mulch, chipped wood, or plywood sheets.
  6. Stabilize disturbed areas within the EPA recommended 14-day period.
  7. Improve the soil with organic amendments and mulch.

***Note: Site Selection is the sole responsibility of the customer. Those interested in a “Green” site are responsible for researching the feasibility of the location, for their specific needs. Cogdill Builders of Florida will increase the “site-clearing” and “landscape” portion of the construction budget (if required), to comply with the any of the guidelines listed above.