Green Building – Landscape

What is green building?  Briefly stated it is: building according to specific parameters to minimize the negative impact on the environment.  Green building therefore addresses energy, water and resource conservation, both for the home and its larger impact, world-wide.  Green building also has an education component to ensure that the Homeowner understands how to maintain the green features built into the home.

Green building concepts can also be utilized in remodeling projects.  Saving resources and improving the living environment within the home are some of the easiest to include.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Installing additional insulation
  • Choosing high-efficiency appliances
  • Utilizing water-saving faucets, shower-heads or toilets
  • Selecting low-VOC paints (Volatile Organic Compounds contribute to ozone and smog problems as well as being associated with respiratory problems)

Incorporating Green principles into a project may not have appeal for everybody, but saving money usually does.  We in the Great Lakes region may not be as sensitive to water conservation as those in other parts of the country, but we have all seen substantial increases in the cost of municipal supplied water.

Perhaps its time to consider an alternative to the traditional American front lawn as the cost to operate an irrigation system continues to escalate.  There are other alternatives that can be employed, at least in part.

People who live in desert communities in the SW United States embrace the natural desert environment as their home landscaping.  In fact, many communities require it.

Michigan has its own native landscape environment.  Why not take advantage of it?  Whether you are building new, remodeling or just trying to spruce up your home, consider reducing your lawn area in favor of native, Michigan plantings.  Here are a few reasons to using them:

  • The plants are naturally adapted to the growing conditions and climate in Michigan
  • Using them can save money because native plants require little care or water. You may want to save even more money by reducing or eliminating the size of lawn irrigation if you are building new
  • If planted in the proper locations, native plants do not require fertilizers
  • They provide food and habitat for birds and beneficial insects such as butterflies and dragonflies
  • Deep root systems of native plants provide a path for storm water to seep into the ground.  These roots system prevent erosion from storm water runoff
  • Using native plants helps reduce pollution from pesticides and fertilizers.  There is also reduced noise and air pollution from less use of mowers, trimmers and blowers.
  • Plants are available for all locations and conditions: dry or wet, sunny or shady.  There are native plants for any soil condition.  They come in all sizes and colors.  If you select carefully you can have blooming plants all summer long

For more information on Michigan native plant material, you can read more HERE

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