Homebuilder - Lawrence KS

"Building Green"

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Update September 29, 2013 

In today's environment of the IRC (International Residential Code) we HomeBuilders face increased requirements for insulation to a point where it will soon be hard to build a house with 2x4 exterior walls. The 2012 IRC code our city of Lawrence will be adopting January 1, 2013 will cause this situation. Insulation and house tightness requirments are well beyond the Green Homebuilding Certificate shown below. I have elected to drop my Membership because not one person has requested a "Green Home" to be built. They elect to spend their money on other things in the house because they are already getting a well insulated house from RLCC, Inc.

The people that are continuously writing our code books that our cities adopt are continuously increasing the costs of new home construction to a point where us builders cringe every 3 years when they adopt the newest code. Most is all for the good but some is not. I look at the code writing people as pit bulls that are off their leash and do whatever they want and are sometimes influenced by large companies that stand to sell lots of new product. No one tells them NO. Then our City is then quote "Trained to Adopt all the New Codes" regardless of what is costs the American people. The City of Lawrence does at least nullify and amend some code things out but not that much. Required sprinkler systems have been amended out by our City the past 3 years and now an option on our new upcoming 2012. Estimated costs to consumer per house varied from $3K to $6 estimates. Enough said about new regulation...

2009 Update - RLCC, Inc. is now a Certified "Green Home Builder"

"What is green to You" 

"Green", it's a simple good concept we will all have to address in the future, but it can get complicated the more you learn and the learning can be endless.

A Bit of Information:
After the world has bumped into maximum energy use creating a huge expense for our energy, "Thinking and Being Green" has become a new wave of thought.
Being "Green" is more than just Building a House Green. It's about saving the planet we live in.
It's about:
  • Saving the environmental impact we have on our mother earth. We can't just change the water in our fishbowl (earth) we live in.
  • Saving energy however possible, whether its fuel usage on our homes and cars or recycling when or if possible
  • Trying to live in an environment that is "safe" to live in, whether it's the air we breathe or the things we eat. 
  • If all we do is think about ourselves and our families impact (carbon print) each day, one day at a time, there are little things we can start doing that can grow and expand into more things, adding up to make a huge difference globally.
"Building Green" 
I've been doing research on green building and the more I dig into it, the more complicated and difficult it gets. Someone has to give us a measure to use so we can have a gauge, label, or certification to be "this much Green". To be totally green would be to live in a mud hut with no power or water. In todays world of living, building a home we want to say is totally green could triple the cost of a new home depending on how you gauge "Green".
I attended a seminar Jan. 29th, '09 at the KCHBA (Kansas City Home Builders Association) and have learned to focus my attention on 2 "Green Type" certifications that I'll outline below. There will be many organizations to give certification to come, but only a few actually exist today for homes (NAHB & LEED). To obtain a "Certified Green Home", you have to pay a certified 3rd party inspection company to continuosly look and verify each step you do to obtain a "level or gauge of green label". There are only a handful of these 3rd party certified inspectors in the Kansas City area and none in Lawrence, KS. This certifier can cost $2,000 +/-.
If you were to pick 2 certifications to try to build to, I would recommend these:
  • The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) has done a tremendous job of creating a way to measure a home built to be able to grade, through a point system, how green your home is and what type of "Green" certification you can obtain. They have 3 levels of certification: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Here is a great link to learn more http://www.nahbgreen.org/WhoIsGreen/homeowners.aspx
  • "Energy Star" Homes certification is another way to be green without the "Green House Label". They focus on energy use and there are tax credits possible for some items purchased. You would have to hire a certified 3rd party inspection to gain their certification also. Learn more at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=new_homes.hm_index

The more you dig, the more you learn that being "Green" is going to be a big and not an easy task, but one we will all have to focus on, more and more, in the future to come. One step at a time.

In Closing:

Some "Green Concepts" are just that, concepts. Some do not have any common sense or just are not economically affordable to do. Just remember, it's easy to take little green steps that can get bigger and bigger in time. If everyone would take little steps in todays world, it could have a huge impact on our mother earth today.

Rod Laing

2009 Update - RLCC, Inc. is now a Certified "Green Home Builder"

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Call Us Today 785-842-6215 
RLCC, Inc., Rod Laing President * 1835 Foxfire Drive * Lawrence, KS 66047

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