|This checklist addresses a range of
residential building-related issues and offers low waste and/or low
impact alternatives and resources you may consider incorporating into
LAND USE: Siting and Impacts
the structure be developed on a previously disturbed site like an unused urban
or commercial lot?
consideration be given to potential impacts such as construction vehicles
and equipment, trailers, site access by workers and visitors, grading, surrounding
vegetation, and storm water runoff?
the site plan work with the landscape to minimize earthwork?
the site plan minimize road length and total ground area used for improvements?
the structure avoid stream channels, flood plains, wetlands, steep erodible
slopes, and mature vegetation?
the soil and groundwater at the site be tested for past chemical residues
from agriculture, industry, or other possible contaminants in the vicinity?
the structure will be placed along a slope, will extra measures be taken to
it be determined if the area is subject to natural hazards (e.g., flood plain,
high winds, swelling clays)?
the site be investigated for documentation of wetlands and endangered species?
the site configuration incorporate run-off, wastewater, and especially wetlands
in the planning and design process?
the construction plan preserve as much natural vegetation as possible and
use its protective advantages?
structure sited to place entrances away from high wind areas?
vegetation on the construction site is disturbed, does the design plan include
activities to restore native landscapes and vegetation?
the structure sited to minimize solar shadows by area vegetation or other
the structure be sited to use alternative energy sources such as wind or hydro
the plan position the structure to maximize the benefits of passive solar
for heating and utilities?
the building is sited near a roadway or other structures that may increase
external noises, can topsoil left from site excavation be used to create a
LAND USE: Utilities
the building site take advantage of other area structures or homes (clustering)?
utilities be consolidated along previously disturbed areas or along new roads
or sidewalks to provide service access and minimize unnecessary clearing and
the site utilize a gravity sewer system as opposed to a pump system?
determining the proper foundation for the building, will such factors as local
soil conditions (structure and compactibility) and geologic features be investigated?
a frost-protected shallow foundation be used?
the block or bricks used in the foundation be regionally produced?
the foundation be constructed with concrete containing waste flyash?
reusable aluminum forms or rigid insulation forms that provide permanent insulation
your concrete supplier recycle waste concrete and incorporate it into future
lumber is to be used, is the wood from sustainably managed forests?
lumber needs for the structure, does the design incorporate woods from fast-growth
forests versus such old- growth timber as redwood or cedar?
to purchasing building materials such as lumber, doors, windows, hardware,
and other fixtures, will sources for salvaged building materials be researched?
the structure use locally produced brick, indigenous stone, or synthetic stucco?
the structure include durable materials that can be reused or recycled in
the walls be covered with recycled-content sheathing and siding with a minimum
of 50% pre or post consumer content?
oriented strand board (OSB) made from scrap wood or faster growing trees be
the use of fiberboard for non-structural uses that is made from 100 percent
recycled newspaper or agricultural waste been considered?
in the community, consider adobe, strawbale, or rammed earth construction.
They are resource-efficient and inexpensive.
your community have incentives for builders to use recycled-content building
materials such as decking, fencing, and roofing (cost-savings through reduced
charges for trash removal or discounts on other public support services)?
the design plan optimize use of interior space?
the structure designed to maximize use of materials, reducing waste during
the house designed to run efficiently and effectively with a minimum use of
resources, i.e. open floor plan, centralized plumbing and electrical, etc.?
the structure plan avoid the use of large dimension solid lumber (2x10 or
larger) in floors and roofs?
engineered or composite lumber been considered for beams, joists, headers,
and other structural components?
steel studs and joists been considered in lieu of wood?
structural insulated panels be used for walls or roofs?
save energy expenses, will the exterior doors have proper insulation and infiltration
an insulated metal door with weather stripping been considered for outside
fiberboard insulation made from 100% recycled paper been considered for underneath
carpet or under roofing?
basement walls be insulated to at least an R-10 rating?
insulation contain a minimum of 25% recycled content?
energy-rated, toxic-free natural insulation such as cotton or cellulose (newspaper
fibers) been considered?
rigid foam insulation will be used, is it CFC (chlorofluoro-carbon) free or
made from less polluting HCFC (hydrochloro-carbon) or is it at least made
from recycled polystyrene?
the insulation that will be used formaldehyde-free?
reinforced foam-formed walls containing cement with waste flyash be incorporated
into the structure?
designers consider finishing a concrete slab as a floor?
the sub-floor and underlayment be constructed with recycled-content materials?
oriented strand board (OSB) made from fast growth material be used for sub-flooring?
urea formaldehyde-free sub-floor and underlayment be used?
the structure contains hardwood floors, will they be from 3rd party certified,
sustainably harvested sources?
carpeted areas, will recycled-content carpet pad and carpeting be used and
will it be tacked rather than glued?
recycled-content carpet is not used, will natural material carpet made from
cotton or wool be installed?
natural linoleum be used in place of petroleum-based vinyl flooring?
recycled-content ceramic tile containing broken light bulbs or windshields
be used, and if so, will it be secured with low-toxic mastic and grout?
STRUCTURE: Other Interior/Exterior
tropical hardwood trim, doors or cabinets are installed, will they be from
certified sustainably managed forests?
formaldehyde-free particle board be used for inside finishing work and cabinets?
water-based urethane and lacquer finishes be used on wood floors and other
the use of factory prefinished wood products be considered for the structure?
recycled-content paints and finishes been considered as an alternative to
new finish products?
paints and finishes containing minimal VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or
airborne toxics be used?
design avoid placement of carpet near main entrances?
the exterior structure design allow for use of resource saving recycled lumber
made from 100% recycled plastic or a combination of plastic and wood scraps?
minimum thirty year roofing material that includes concrete, slate, clay,
composite or metal be used?
ENERGY USE: Structural
energy-efficient lamps and equipment be used during construction?
you offered your potential buyer a 30% more energy efficient home as certified
by EPA's new Energy Star Homes Program (http://yosemite1.epa.gov/estar/homebuyers.nsf/HomePage?OpenForm)?
your utility provider offer billing credits for installation of energy efficient
support utilities (e.g., solar or wind), lighting, and appliances?
a photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electricity been considered
for the structure?
the south glass area of the structure be between 5-7% of total finished floor
the structure receive advanced sealing in addition to basic sealing (advanced
sealing adds protection to top and bottom plates, corners and between cavities
at penetrations for plumbing, electrical, and ventilation)?
solar-rated/energy efficient double-paned or extra glazed windows and doors
be installed to reduce heat loss and minimize external noise?
an alternative to double-pane windows, will Low-E windows be considered to
provide greater insulation values?
ENERGY USE: HVAC
a furnace or air conditioner with a high energy efficiency rating be installed?
the heating and cooling system being considered sized appropriately for the
a combination gas water/space heater be considered for the structure?
improve indoor air quality, will a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler, and
water heater be installed?
a programmable thermostat with a switch for a furnace fan be installed?
the HVAC system accommodate 2 or more heating and cooling zones?
the structure include return air ducts in at least every bedroom?
a whole house fan or several ceiling fans be installed to improve air circulation
and heating and cooling efforts ?
bathroom fans be installed to minimize indoor air pollutants?
the kitchen range be vented to the outside?
ENERGY USE: Appliances
the structure been planned for current or future solar hot water heating?
the gas water heater planned for the structure have an energy factor greater
the hot water heater be installed within 20 pipe feet of dishwasher and clothes
hot water pipes be insulated to conserve heat?
a gas range and oven with electronic ignition be installed, and if not, has
the buyer been made aware of the energy and cost saving benefits?
a refrigerator rated with estimated annual electric costs under $66 be installed?
appliances are not included in the structure, will a list of energy efficient
appliances be supplied?
an energy saving gas clothes dryer with electronic ignition be installed?
ENERGY USE: Lighting and Interior Design
warmer regions of Montana, will light colors be used for exterior walls and
roofing materials to reflect heat?
windows and skylights be positioned for maximum day lighting or natural light?
the interior be decorated with light colored carpet, wall and ceiling coverings
to reduce artificial lighting needs and creating of heat during the day?
the structure incorporate use of compact fluorescent or halogen (on a dimmer
system) light fixtures?
can lights been eliminated from insulated ceilings?
light occupancy sensors and dimmer controls be installed to save power when
rooms are vacant?
trees are cut at the building site, will they be mulched and used on-site?
the structure protected from wind and severe weather by evergreen trees (e.g.,
pine, spruce, and fir) on the windward side (often the north)?
topsoil be set aside during excavation and be reused for fill and landscaping?
you offer ideas for xeriscaping or minimal landscaping?
you provide a list of native, drought-resistant plants?
your community have tree planting and preservation programs that can be recommended?
WATER USE: Outside
the structure been sited to utilize existing water lines, sewage, and septic
a sprinkler system be installed?
the site be graded to direct rainwater towards plantings?
a system been considered that will capture rain and snow melt to be used for
watering and other outdoor tasks?
permeable materials such as gravel be considered for walkways, patios, and
landscaping planned that uses native vegetation, and will not require excessive
lawn areas be planted with water-saving grasses such as fescues (check with
WATER USE: Inside
water-conserving showerheads (2.5 gpm), faucet aerators (1.5 to 2.0 gpm),
and low-flow toilets (1.6 gpf) be installed?
water saving appliances such as a front loading, horizontal axis clothes washer,
or dishwasher (maximum water use 8.5 gal./load) be installed? If not, will
a list of available equipment be supplied to the buyer?
SOLID AND HAZARDOUS WASTE
your community offer opportunities for construction and demolition recycling
or a reusable waste exchange program?
the work site have recycling bins for lumber scraps, cardboard, etc. that
can be either recycled or reused?
your company reuse construction site waste? If not, can the usable materials
be donated to local recycling programs?
you created a process to re-use smaller scrap lumber on-site as landscaping
wood chips or mulch?
you requested that your contractors and suppliers minimize packaging and reuse
the design include kitchen space for temporary compost storage, and an outside
system for household and yard waste composting?
the kitchen design include built-in recycling containers (for plastic, glass,
and aluminum/tin) or space for containers in common areas, garages, or carports?
convenient access to public transportation considered when siting a new house
or development? Or is the development close to walking and bicycle paths that
connect to support facilities like schools, grocery stores, etc.?
you instituted an incentive program that encourages your employees to car
pool and minimize trips to work sites?
your company or organization purchasing retreaded tires for company vehicles?
your county or community offer any pollution prevention technical support
and educational programming?
you have a checklist of environmental product questions to ask your suppliers?
there an effort in your county or local community to promote green building
of the ideas in this checklist were adapted from "Build for the Future"
a publication of the Colorado Pollution Prevention Program.
(Fact Sheet 12 of 12)