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Building envelopes, air handling and filtration and efficient heating and cooling equipment, while not as sexy as solar panels, are the most cost-effective methods of building green light commercial structures, according to Ted Clifton, of Clifton View Homes Inc. in Coupeville, Wash., who is a member of the board of trustees of NAHB’s Commercial Builder Council.
Clifton earned Builder of the Year honors from the Building Industry Association of Washington in 2009 and has been honored for his green building contributions to residential and commercial construction in Washington and for creating energy-efficient designs.
NAHB recently discussed the keys to successful commercial green building with Clifton:
When building green, what are the basic things a builder needs to know in commercial and mixed-use construction?
Clifton: Storm water management is a very big issue for commercial, mixed-use and multifamily developers in most parts of the country because of the large amounts of parking required. Consequently, a thorough knowledge of low-impact development techniques is a must.
What are the top three green building trends in construction?
Solar panels are sexy — and there are great tax credits and other incentives available right now for them — but building a more efficient building envelope is still the most cost-effective way to achieve energy efficiency. Efficient heating and cooling equipment and good air handling and filtration probably would round out the list.
Can you receive a tax-credit for green building efforts?
Most states offer at least some incentives for energy efficiency, but there are no specific incentives available for green building as a whole.
Do you have a suggested green building checklist to help builders involved in commercial and mixed-use construction?
I created a project checklist that can be used throughout the entire construction process. It includes details that extend beyond the National Home Building Standard for commercial and mixed-use buildings that I developed through Washington’s BuiltGreen program.
(To read Clifton’s commercial green building checklist, click here.)
Do you have any other general thoughts on green building for commercial and mixed-use builders?
Yes, green building is really about using good sense and building better homes and buildings. Most of the same principles that apply to building green single-family homes apply to commercial, mixed-use and multifamily projects as well, but the scale is different, especially regarding heating and cooling commercial buildings.
In addition, mixed-use buildings often offer significant advantages when building green. Because parking areas can be used both day and night, heat developed in the commercial areas by day can benefit the residential levels at night. Also, travel to and from work can be completely eliminated.
For more information, e-mail Kisha DeSandies at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8455.