Ever-increasing green building practices have resulted in the mainstreaming of green building codes. And this is not only in the United States, the growth of green building design and construction can be seen throughout the world. Throughout 2012, the number one trend we have seen on the Home Expert Network is the staying power of green. Our experts are constantly providing us with useful information on what going green really entails.

“With state incentives found in California, New York and elsewhere, I can’t stress enough how beneficial it is to capitalize on them! Financial incentives for energy improvements will only increase the return on investment. Even without incentives, investing in comfort, efficiency, and health and safety benefits the homeowners now,”

says Jason Todd of Green Homes America. With financial incentives throughout the country to decrease energy use, homeowners and business owners are frequently employing green practices and products.

How Homeowners and Businesses are Going Green

Businesses are also looking to go green on an affordable basis. In years past, there was a movement towards throwing any and all money at green features. But now, the focus has shifted toward determining how to go green and stay within a modest budget on construction projects. Because after all, going green should save money in the long run (Builder Magazine). This concept applies to homeowners as well, who are joining the green movement by making cost-efficient green changes to their homes and lifestyles.

Innovative Ways to Join the Green Movement

With the green movement gaining momentum again, it is an exciting time to employ green practices in your business and home. Buildings are striving for zero-net-energy. This works best in 2-4 story buildings. Going for net-zero energy should only add 3-5% of the building cost, according to Builder Magazine.

But decreasing energy use and pollution can also be made through very simplistic changes in both homes and businesses. Changes like using green products to clean can make a huge impact.

“All the cleaners you use should be green and toxic free,”

says Tanya Stock of Vida Verde Build. You can also make your own products out of household items like vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol.

Some of the biggest positive green changes you can make surround your use of water. Homeowners can save by making easy changes like shutting off the water while you wash dishes or using irrigation systems for your landscaping. An irrigation system is more effective at keeping the lawn moist and uses far less water than an unattended hose. Some businesses are also using less water through innovative utilization of rain water which can be used as toilet water, radically reducing water bills and the use of water.

Businesses are also reducing energy by simply using less. In Hong Kong, at the headquarters of Star TV, News Corp’s Asian broadcasting subsidiary, they realized that if they simply removed one out of every three fluorescent tube lights, they could trim their CO2 emissions by 18,000 pounds a year, according to Fast Company.

Companies are encouraging their employees to take public transportation or ride their bike to work. More and more companies are even compensating their employees for this practice with some going as far as rewarding their employees who purchase hybrid vehicles.

On to the Future

It’s true, the green movement is here to stay. Businesses are leading the way through encouraging alternate forms of transportation, and employing new tactics to reduce, recycle, and reuse. Homes are being built greener and homeowners are making small and steady changes to reduce their carbon footprint.

But the most compelling sign that going green is not going anywhere, is that it pays to make this change.

“In our opinion, there are many different ways to improve the resale value of your home, and going green is a great avenue to venture down,”

says Grand View Builders.

We look forward to learning more from our experts in 2013 about green practices.