First, some people think that buildings are hotels, stores, offices, etc. Well, buildings are also homes. When you hear me refer to buildings I mean all structures, even detached residential garages or sheds.
When I design green for most Montanans, they are concerned about cost and so I research and have developed some of my own wall systems based on the “Perfect Wall” theory of the 70s. It still holds true, but must be done thoughtfully so as not to end up in an EIFS situation as occurred in the 80s and 90s.
There are several means of Green Building, some certified, some not.
The most well-known program worldwide is LEED. LEED stand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and is recognized internationally. There are levels of LEED that can be obtained, each increasing the requirements to qualify if a person or company wants their building to get certified based on a points system.
Certified is the lowest level and requires 40-49 points.
Silver is the next level requiring 50-59 points.
Gold is second from the highest level and requires 60-79 points.
Platinum is the highest standard available requiring 80+ points.
I will continue this article and describe the points system as time frees up from my current work load. I may even try to do some YouTube videos on the topic as it applies to us here in Montana, but for now, here are a couple of great websites that also will help explain more…
It is a lot, so I will try to simplify it as time allows.
Also, just because LEED is the most widely recognized does not mean that it is the best. There is also Net Zero where the home produces as much or more energy than it consumes annually as well as The Passive House (Phius & Passivhaus Institute) and the Living Building Challenge. Any of these three exceed even the Platinum LEED Program.
This is not the future, this is now. Raging wildfires, unseasonal weather trends, extreme hurricane seasons, and right here, we are going to have to rename Glacier National Park fairly soon.
It is hard sometimes to see this as our problem where we live, but it is. The atmosphere is global and mixing all together, creating extremes that we are just beginning to feel in Montana. It is 2022, and I do not recall a worse snow season in my lifetime and it sure is nothing like it used to be when I grew up here in the 70s and 80s. When friends or relatives visit from out of state and I cross the centerline on the highway they sometimes get excited about that. Some of us intentionally drive the centerline because we can see oncoming cars a lot easier than we can see animals on the side of the road. I tell my friends and relatives that for months out of each year, there are no centerlines. That no longer seems to be true, but is only here for a matter of days at a time.