Our Commitment to Green Building Practices

Green Building Council

Burke Construction is committed to responsible interaction with the environment.

Environmental stewardship and responsible construction practices are priorities of our company.  Our environmental policy is to identify every opportunity to pursue green building principles in our work.  We do this by fulfilling construction goals through identification of environmental impacts and integration of balanced solutions.

We provide green building consultation using the standards and principles created by the nationally recognized US Green Building Council.

What is Green Building?

Green building is the practice of using environmentally responsible and sustainable concepts or standards in the built environment.  For instance, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) created an integrated rating system, LEED, for green building that has served as the national benchmark since its inception in 1998.  The rating system, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), transforms best practices and highest standards into a certification process for rating green buildings.  LEED is “…a tool that helps create high-performance, more sustainable built environments by providing a framework for design, construction, and evaluation.” [i] As members of the USGBC, and integrating a certified LEED Green Associate into Burke Construction, we are dedicated to using the LEED framework to help guide our company’s environmental policies.

In addition to the USGBC’s framework, California has transformed its commitment to environmental preservation into a new set of laws that came into effect in January 2011.  California’s Green Building Standards Code, CALGREEN, is the first set of statewide mandatory green building codes in the country.  CALGREEN establishes a minimum green building standard for most new construction projects.

Click here to view the press release from the governor’s office outlining the new laws.

Click here to learn more about CALGREEN.

Local Municipal Green Building Policies

Several local Monterey Peninsula cities have adopted green building codes and ordinances.  Click here for the City of Monterey’s Green Building Program, and click here for the City of Carmel-By-The-Sea’s Green Building Program for some examples.

Why Is Green Building Important?

Buildings, whether residential or commercial, impact the environment in a variety of ways; energy use, water consumption, waste, carbon dioxide emissions, and raw materials use.  Here are some statistical comparisons between conventional and green buildings: Green buildings use 26% less energy, have 13% lower maintenance costs, have 33% lower carbon dioxide emissions, and can contribute up to a 70% reduction in solid waste (through reusing, repurposing or recycling).

Americans spend, on average, 90% of their lives indoors!  Green building emphasizes the necessity of healthy indoor environments for people to live and work in.

Does It Cost More Money?

Green building in and of itself does not translate into higher costs.  Many cost analyses have been conducted on this subject.  A study by the firm Davis Langdon concluded that there was no difference between conventional and green building costs.  The study concluded that there are expensive conventional buildings and expensive green buildings, there are less expensive versions of both, and that following green building guidelines was not a significant predictor of cost.  On the contrary, green building practices can actually save money, particularly in regards to lower operational costs.  Since much of green building focuses on high-efficiency materials, some savings come in the form of lower electricity, gas, and water bills.

How Can I Green My Remodel Or New Construction?

Generally speaking, green building is an integrative, holistic effort.  However, green building practices can be employed at any level, in any phase of remodeling and new construction.  Green building is as simple as using low-/no-VOC paint or carpets, installing energy star appliances, using low-flow faucets, planting a drought-tolerant garden, trying to reuse or repurpose construction materials, sourcing materials locally….There are countless ways to successfully green your remodeling or new construction project.  Switching to LED is also important. Why is LED lighting better for the environment? LED lights last ten times longer than regular incandescent lights and are four times more efficient. LED lights use almost 80% less energy than an incandescent bulb does. Our approach, whether simple or all-encompassing, is tailored to our client’s needs.  Our resolution is to offer options, and allow our clients to make the decisions.

For further reference, click here to view the USGBC’s Green Home Guide.  Or go to the Build It Green site for more green building resources.  Better again, contact us for a free, no obligation estimate!

[i] Green Building and LEED Core Concepts Guide, First Ed., USGBC, p.1