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Green Terminology: What Is 'Durable' & How Does It Relate To A Home?

These days, just about everybody is doing what they can to be more environmentally friendly. Sales of electric cars that use less fossil fuel are on the rise, and everyone's looking for ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The trend has even extended to home construction, giving rise to some terminology associated with green, high-performance homes that homebuyers may not be familiar with. In this series, we will look at some of the terms used to describe the benefits of an eco-home, beginning with 'durability'.

What is "Durable" & Why it is Important 

Durability is a feature that should be included in your home, and is a feature that won't show up in most new home listings. Many homeowners won't specifically demand it, but it's one benefit that anyone would be glad to have. In home construction, when you talk about durability, you're referring to the service life of the building or its components. Products and materials used in the construction of a house that is designed to last longer won't need to be repaired or replaced as frequently, which means a reduction in raw materials and energy consumption.

A home built with durable materials means that it will last longer. A home that will last longer will cost less to maintain and require less work over time, saving you both money and time. Materials that last longer stay in a home longer and not in a landfill.

Despite its importance, durability has only recently become a top priority for buyers, sellers, and builders, who previously favored low-costs and more disposable construction methods instead. Thankfully, today, durability and energy efficiency have become driving factors in new home construction. According to a blind survey of US architects commissioned by PPG Industries, durability is the most important characteristic of building products in general. Many buyers look at the cost of taxes and mortgage rates and wonder how to save money on these expenses but often fail to consider the potential disastrous cost of living in a home that has been built poorly. 

 

Why you should demand a durable home 

There are a few factors that can significantly influence the durability of a building including extreme temperatures, ultravoilet light rodents/insects, and pollution. But when it comes to durability problems in homes, moisture can be the most severe. 

It's estimated that as much as 80 percent of all durability problems in buildings are related to moisture. It's safe to say, then, that durability is largely a water management issue. Water intrustion and improper moisture management leads to mold growth as well as the degradation of structural compnonents of a home. Both those issues can wreak havoc all throughout a home and cause incredible amounts of expensive damage as well as numerous health issues. 

 

What to look for in a home 

  • Homes that come with certifications such as Energy Star, Zero Energy Ready, LEED, and/or EPA airPlus that are certified and guranteed to not only be more energy efficient but, durable and healthy
  • Basements built with water protection systems around the foundation
  • Proper ventilation in a home engineered as a system including correctly ducted bathfans and proper kitchen exhaust 

What to Avoid when looking at a new home

  • Homes with a 'musty' smell 
  • Homes built on old block foundations
  • New construction homes or gut rehabs without warranties or certifications 
  • Homes with windows that don't open and close properly
  • Paint flaking or bubbling near windows or doors 

 

If you're interested in reducing your carbon footprint and protecting your largest investment, your family, and your sanity be sure to look for a house that uses durable green home solutions.

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