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Sawatzky Builders, Inc.
830 Camino Diablo
Brentwood, CA  94513
(925) 354-9419
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   Home      Grenn Building ABC's
The term and philosophy "green building" can be very cumbersome and confusing.  There are endless possibilities, certifications and products that could be used in green building.  There are even business whose sole purpose is to sell you their green building program/process/etc.
We like to break the idea of green building into three categories: re-use/recycling, generation and conservation.  By categorizing green building into these categories it seems to simplify the the whole philosophy and decision making process.
One of the first things to know about green building, regardless of what some may say, it does cost more money.  The hope is the money spent upfront in construction will be paid back over time in energy cost savings (don't forget the benefit of knowing you are doing your part for the environment).  The key is to balance the up front costs versus the over time payback and decide what level of costs you are willing to absorb up front and how long it will take to be "paid back".
With those thoughts in mind here are som very basic ABC's for green building:

Site Considerations:

  • Start by selecting a site well suited to take advantage of mass transit. 
  • Protect and retain existing landscaping and natural features. Select plants that have low water and pesticide needs, and generate minimum plant trimmings. Use compost and mulches. This will save water and time.
  • Recycled content paving materials, furnishings, and mulches help close the recycling loop.

Energy Efficiency: 

  • Think about building shape and orientation,  solar design, and the use of natural lighting. 
  • Use natural lighting as much as possible.
  • Install high-efficiency lighting systems, motion sensors tied to dimmable lighting controls.
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate.
  • Use high efficiency heating and cooling systems. 
  • Consider wiring all "vampire power" devices to a switch (or switches) that will allow you to easilly turn the off.

Materials Efficiency

  • Select  materials and products by evaluating several characteristics such as reused and recycled content, zero or low off gassing of harmful air emissions, zero or low toxicity, sustainably harvested materials, high recyclability, durability, longevity, and local production.  Such products promote resource conservation and efficiency.  Using recycled-content products also helps develop markets for recycled materials that are being diverted from California's landfills, as mandated by the Integrated Waste Management Act.
  • Plan the building to utilize materials as efficiently as possible, reducing wased materials entering the landfills.
  • Reuse and recycle construction and demolition materials.     

Water Efficiency

  • Use high water efficiency, low flow fixtures.
  • Consider recapture of gray water for other uses..
  • Install point-of-use hot water heating systems for more distant locations.
  •  Utilize water resistant plant species in landscaping. 

Remember, each and every building is unique and, if your desire is to go green, a customized plan will need to be developed. 

We are here to assist you in GOING GREEN!

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 All of  Contra Costa County, CA, including:
All of Alameda County, CA, Including:
Alameda, CA / Berkeley, CA / Dublin, CA / Emeryville, CA / Fremont, CA / Hayward, CA / Livermore, CA / Oakland, CA / Pleasanton, CA
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All of Sacramento County, CA, Including:
Sacramento, CA / Elk Grove, CA / Galt, CA / Rancho Cordova, CA / Folsom, CA
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