If you’re trying to find ways in which you can reduce your environmental footprint when building a new home, then you should consider green building construction practices. Using green building materials for your home construction is the best place to start.

Benefits of green building

Source: Shutterstock.com

Building construction tends to use up a large quantity of natural resources. Around 60 percent of the raw materials, not counting fuel or food, used in the country’s entire economy are used for construction purposes.  By salvaging building materials, you’ll save energy as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to the fact that you’ll be reducing the need to extract raw materials, process them and then have them shipped.

There are many stores that now sell salvaged materials that you can use for your home construction project, including drywall, kitchen countertops, steel, carpeting, plastic lumber, insulation, glass tiles and more. Materials that have been salvaged for future use are required to have a “recycled” label on them so that you know that you are investing in green building materials.

If you are looking for a way to become more environmentally-friendly, then use green building materials for your construction. Contact us at Trilogy Partners for additional home building advice.

When designing their new home, homeowners are increasingly demanding the integration of environmentally conscious products into their home construction. Sustainability is a desired feature, because not only do they add beauty, they reduce a home’s carbon footprint. When it comes to your home’s design, consider some of these green home features:

Modern Exterior via Houzz

Solar Panels: Solar panel popularity is multi-faceted: Solar power installation can save you money, increase the value of your property and be a great investment that also helps the environment.

Flooring: When choosing your flooring, opt for natural, renewable, or recycled flooring sources. For example, bamboo flooring is a grass which, unlike trees, can be harvested every five years. Another option is floor panels. Look for floor panels which conform to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, which promotes responsible forestland management in North America.

Cabinetry: Green cabinetry that is certified by the KCMA environmental stewardship program assures you that stringent requirements for process resource management, air quality, community relations, and environmental stewardship have been met.

For more ideas about building a greener home, contact us at Trilogy Partners.

Zero-carbon buildings are buildings that produce no net carbon emissions. In short, these buildings produce carbon emissions because of their occupants, but the emissions are offset using methods ranging from reforestation to carbon credits, or even investments in renewable energy.

Benefits of Zero-Carbon building

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Please consider the economic benefits of zero-carbon buildings:

  • Since zero-carbon buildings are better insulated than their conventional counterparts, their occupants are better-shielded against changes in the price of energy.
  • Furthermore, operation becomes less expensive for occupants because zero-carbon buildings are so much more efficient. Over time, even small savings can build up into big sums.
  • Superior insulation results in even distribution of heat, which leads to a more comfortable environment.
  • Zero-carbon buildings are more in demand on the real estate market, meaning that their owners can resell them at a profit. Additionally, these buildings are becoming more and more popular as regulators move on the issue, meaning that their value is continuing to rise.
  • Although a skilled and experienced firm such as Trilogy can refit buildings for outstanding performance, it is more cost-efficient to build zero-carbon buildings from the ground up rather than refitting older buildings for the same results.

For more information on zero-carbon buildings, please contact us at Trilogy Partners.


Cities are now home to a majority of the world’s population and are on the front line in the battle against climate change.  While action at the federal level in the U.S. has been painfully slow, cities in the U.S. are starting to lead by example at a local level. Cities must take an active role in helping their constituents (starting with themselves of course) to mitigate their impact on climate change as well as begin investing in appropriate climate change adaptation solutions.

I felt that it was time to do some analysis on U.S. Cities which are positioning themselves to be leaders in climate capitalism. I have used proxies and a methodology for ranking the largest cities in the U.S. based on a range of factors including political commitment (as measured by number of commitments the city has made with the U.S. MayorsCarbon War Room Cities ChallengeClinton 40, and ICLEI membership), green buildings (LEED buildings per capita), university leadership (AASHE membership/capita), transit access and use (range of metrics on heavy and light rail usage per capita), clean tech investment (venture funds based in city with clean tech investments in 2010) and energy and GHG emissions (from a range of sources)*.

The Top 10 Metropolitan Climate-Ready Cities in the U.S. are:

10.) Chicago

My recent rankings of low-carbon politicians was in part a tribute to the recently retired former mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley.  Under his leadership Chicago made major strides in becoming probably the greenest metropolitan city in the Midwest.  Chicago now boasts more than 300 miles of bikeways, 7 million square feet of green roofs and currently has more green hotels than any city in the U.S. (13).

9.) San Jose
This may be among the most surprising cities to make the Top 10 as San Jose is not known (yet) for its leadership in climate protection.  However, in 2007, the San Jose city council approved a Green Vision which seeks to “transform San Jose into the world center of Clean Technology innovation” and to demonstrate that the goals of economic growth, environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility are inextricably linked.”  It didn’t hurt San Jose in my rankings that I counted the number of clean tech funds in each city that invested in 2010. Of course being near the epicenter of Silicon Valley San Jose ranked #1 in our list in this category.  Also you gotta love cities that take the bold step of setting big hairy audacious goals and transparently track their performance against them.

7.) Philadelphia (tie with New York)
Like San Jose, Philadelphia has taken the appropriate step to develop, track and transparently report its sustainability performance against forward looking targets.  Greenworks Philadelphia established 15 sustainability targets including energy, buildings, GHG reductions, waste, transit and agriculture among others.  Along with Seattle and New York, Philadelphia was listed by Fast Company, as a leading city in the U.S. for its aggressive GHG reduction targets.

7.) New York (tie with Philadelphia)
Conservative Mayor Bloomberg is a strong advocate for climate leadership and, once again, advocating setting targets and tracking performance. In a recent Clinton 40 Climate meeting, Mayor Bloomberg noted: “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.”  New York of course is the envy of most cities in the U.S. when it comes to accessibility and use of rail transit (ranking #1 on transit/capita in this study). It is also the most dense city in North America.

6.) San Diego
Another West Coast city less commonly ranked amongst the top 10 on these lists, San Diego has been making great strides in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.  San Diego intends to take advantage of its great climate and abundant sun by adding 50 megawatts of renewable energy by 2013 (much of it being new solar capacity) while achieving a 50 megawatt reduction in energy use through efficiency and demand side management measures.  San Diego also has a 3-line, 82 kilometers light rail trolley system which has 90,000 daily trips.

5.) Denver
One of the U.S. cities I have had the pleasure to live in, Denver Colorado is famous for its mountain views and big skies.  Denver has made great strides over the past 10 years towards becoming a recognized U.S. leader in the transition to a low carbon economy.  In 2009, former Denver Mayor Hickenlooper was awarded the US Mayor’s Climate Protection Award for Denver’s Fast Track light rail program.  According to a city press release, Denver’s Fast Track “is the most ambitious transit initiative in U.S. history… building 119 miles of new light rail” within just a few years.  Along with strong sustainability objectives, Denver is projecting a 37% increase in job growth by 2030, showing that the low carbon economy is alive and well.

4.) Washington, DC
While our federal law makers and senior political leadership based in Washington have seriously underachieved with respect to progress towards the low-carbon economy, the City, or District I should say, has earned this top 5 position.  Staying on the topic of public transit, DC residents are the 2nd most active users of rail transit in the U.S. and the 3rd highest per capita (behind New York and San Francisco).  The D.C. government has committed to reduce its emissions 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (over 2006 levels), has passed a strong green building code, is 2nd in the country in green roofs (behind Chicago) and is 3rd in the nation in purchase of renewable power.

3.) Portland (OR)
The perennial favorite in all sustainable city rankings, Portland has many admirable features that demonstrate a commitment to the low-carbon economy.  I have been to Portland dozens of times and I can’t get enough of it.  For a relatively small city, it has an impressive public transit system, several (4) universities actively committed to sustainability and an amazing number of LEED certified buildings (127).  With so much going on for them, it is no wonder Portland aims to be “the most sustainable city in the world by investing in high performance buildings and green streets, ecosystem restoration, businesses that create sustainable economic opportunities for all, green and healthy affordable housing, and social equity policies and practices.”

2.) Seattle
Seattle, another Pacific Northwest city used to being on sustainability city rankings, usually behind Portland, occupies second place in this ranking.  Former Mayor Greg Nickels actually launched the U.S. Mayors for Climate Protection (which earned Seattle an extra point in my system).  The Seattle area has 6 universities committed to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and is home to the Bainbridge Graduate Institute one of the first and best MBA programs in the world dedicated exclusively to sustainability education.  Seattle has among the most LEED certified buildings in the U.S. (132), has an active clean tech investing sector, and is home to the country’s first major utility to become carbon neutral.

1.) San Francisco
Where do I start?  I believe it all starts with political leadership and commitment. San Francisco is one of only three cities which made the final screening who are members of the U.S. Mayors for Climate Protection, Clinton 40, the Carbon War Room and ICLEI.  Like Seattle, it has a very proactive university community with 11 members of AASHE and is also home to Presidio Graduate School, another one of the first and best dedicated sustainable MBA programs in the world.  San Francisco also has the largest number of LEED certified buildings per capita in the U.S. and has an active clean tech investment community. It is home to probably the largest impact investment conference in the world, SOCAP.   San Francisco ranked in the top 3 in every category I evaluated and deserves to be crowned the “coolest” Climate-Ready City in the U.S. for 2011.

Here are the breakdowns of the ratings on each category for the top 10 cities.

Political Commitment (1-4 points) University Rankings Transit Rankings Investment Rankings Green Building Rankings GHG Rankings Cumulative Rankings
San Francisco, CA 4 1 2 3 1 1 1
Seattle, WA 4 3 3 3 3 3 2
Portland, OR 3 2 6 None 2 2 3
Washington, DC 4 8 3 5 5 8 4
Denver, CO 2 5 8 None 4 4 5
San Diego, CA 3 4 7 None 6 6 6
New York, NY 2 9 1 2 10 5 7
Philadelphia, PA 3 7 4 6 9 7 7
San Jose, CA 4 10 10 1 8 9 9
Chicago, IL 2 6 5 None 7 10 10


In a previous post I highlighted some of the politically elected leaders, conservative and liberal, who have been taking bold measures to transition their countries and communities towards a low-carbon future.  Some of my top 10 included previous and current U.S. Mayors who are active in theU.S. Mayors for Climate Protection initiative.  This is a group of mayors which now number more than 1,000 who have committed their cities to be leaders in the “war” on climate change as my friends at the Carbon War Room would say.

What is most important about this quest is that if we refocus our efforts on the right solutions soon enough, we can mitigate the worst of climate change while actually improving our city economies and growing corporate profits.  Hunter Lovins and I recently published a book entitled Climate Capitalism to share stories of cities and companies around the world who are profiting from that transition to the low carbon economy.

Just last week, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) announced the launch of its CDP for Cities Program.  At the launch, London’s Mayor Johnson commented: “Cities are firmly at the vanguard of the global charge to deliver large scale carbon reductions and energy efficiencies. In seeking to set the pace and work together, cities have immense clout to stimulate low carbon world markets to unleash economic opportunities for their citizens.”

*No ranking is perfect and I hope to improve on this in coming years and also to do separate rankings for small and medium sized cities.  Of course it would be ideal to find or to generate standardized baseline GHG emissions for each city which hopefully the CDP for Cities will eventually generate.  Also ICLEI and the C40 just announced plans to create a city-based global standard for reporting GHG emissions which should make comparisons in the future much easier.

Please provide us comments on our rankings including suggestions for cities not ranked or new variables we should include for the next iteration.

Source: Triplepundit.com

Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.


Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes is on a mission — a mission to teach people about green homes and high-quality homebuilding.

Holmes, host of Holmes on Homes and Holmes Inspection on HGTV, talked about his drive to create a ripple effect in the homebuilding industry that makes top-quality, energy-efficient green homes the norm when he delivered the opening keynote session Monday at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City. The conference was at the Salt Palace Convention Center May 1-3.

Holmes began by talking about his childhood in Canada and how as a young kid he watched his dad, Jim Holmes, a self-proclaimed “jack of all trades” working on homes.

“I thought he was superman. He took down walls,” Holmes said. “He cared and I think that was the difference. Every family on the street said, “hire Jim, hire Jim.”

Holmes began working with his dad early on.

“I was six when I rewired the entire second floor of the house under his supervision. I was 12 when I finished the entire basement,” he said.

At age 19, he started his own contracting company and, at age 21, founded his own renovation company. During that time, he kept finding mold in the walls that he tore down and wanted to know why.

Holmes told the audience of about 200 people, the majority home builders, along with some architects, that he is determined to educate people about green homebuilding because he’s seen so many homes built so badly. Going back to some of the old ways and combining them with new technology is the way to build a home.

In discussing passive solar in response to a question from the audience, he said, “this is old technology, this is not new technology.”

He compared it to canopies used over windows in the past and how people used the canopies in the appropriate seasons to either block or allow the sun to shine into their homes.

Education is the key to making green homebuilding widespread, he said.

“How can we incorporate old technology with new technology? Using solar passive, this is old stuff. But we threw it out the window a long time ago and I don’t know why. Solar passive design is brilliant, and we should be using it more.

“We’re all seeing green. We’re all talking green. I was talking to the [Canadian] prime minister a few years ago and I said, ‘but who’s teaching green?’ It’s not being taught. We’re still teaching the same things in school – minimum code and minimum code sucks.’ What I said to him was, ‘we need to start changing the education.'”

As a result of his need to create homes that meet more than the minimum building codes, Holmes’ company, The Holmes Group, launched a quality-control program in Canada called Holmes Approved Homes that gives approvals to builders who go beyond industry standards. Calgary is the first Holmes community.

By creating his own program and working on high-profile projects such as reconstruction in Haiti, New Orleans and other locations where disaster has struck, Holmes said he hopes to create a ripple effect by throwing the first pebble into the pond. He said he’s already looking to Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and Alabama, the site of where tornados plowed through the state.

“Tornados wipe out Alabama. This is opportunity, isn’t it? I know, people got killed and that’s a shame. But this is an opportunity for people to get together and say, ‘we can build tornado proof homes that tornadoes can’t tear down. Round homes that winds go around,'” Holmes said.

Holmes talked about struggles he’s had with city governments in trying to get homebuilding codes to change.

“I’m not going to give up,” Holmes said. “Let’s work together, let’s make this great together and let’s not give up.”

Source: ProudGreenHome.com

965 N Ten Mile Dr. , Unit A1 Frisco, CO 80443
Phone: 970-453-2230

Email: information at trilogybuilds dot com
Facebook: TrilogyPartners
Twitter: @trilogybuilds
Instagram: trilogybuilds
Youtube: The Trilogy Partners Channel
Houzz: trilogy-partners