Three Green Resolutions For New Mexico Homes in 2010

Las Cruces New Mexico Green Build Exhibits at Picacho Mountain

Photo by Beth Sitzler, Las Cruces Bulletin

There have been some confusing reports in the news recently concerning global warming. Several reports have called into question the severity of climate change and its causes. Personally, I am going to leave it up to the scientists to determine the full extent of global warming. In the meantime, these reports may have left you asking whether green building in New Mexico would still be worth it, even if there wasn’t a climate change problem. After reflecting on this issue, I have personally come to the conclusion that green building is the right choice regardless of the debate about global climate change.

My decision to implement green building and green development techniques in my company in Las Cruces, NM and my own home in New Mexico actually has little to do with global warming. I like making decisions that are good for the environment in the long term, but I am passionate about making changes that make good economic sense and can improve the quality of life today.

As the new year approaches, we all begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions and making better choices. Here are three green New Year’s resolutions that will improve your quality of life.

Green resolution No. 1 Save money

Given the recent recession from which our country is recovering, making good economic decisions is probably at the top of everyone’s list this new year. Today, more than ever, building green provides a good return on your investment.

As companies respond to the overwhelming demand for green products, new sustainable technologies are constantly being released. New technologies in solar panels, faucets and shower heads, heating and cooling systems, insulation, appliances and windows are safer, greener and save more money than ever.

Home consumers are rapidly becoming aware of the benefits of green homes and technologies. This increase in awareness and consumer demand has led to lower prices and more availability of green products. Increased demand and volume sales continue to drive down technology prices even further.

Green Building Tax credits are the final reason that going green makes more economic sense. Federal, state and local tax credits are becoming more available and easier for which to qualify. We are especially lucky living in the state of New Mexico. New Mexico has one of the best qualification and build green tax credit programs in the country through Build Green New Mexico.

Green resolution No. 2 Get clean air

The California Air Resource Board (CARB) recently released a study reporting most new homes in California have too little ventilation and too much formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

If you’re like me, you associate formaldehyde with high school science projects. The reality is that it can come from many commonly used materials including household products, gas stoves, glues and adhesives, clothing and draperies, paints and coating products, pressed wood products, hardwood, plywood paneling and much more.

Formaldehyde can cause asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, headaches, and it is a carcinogen that has been linked to leukemia.

Green-certified homes use materials that are certified low-VOC, meaning that they have reduced amounts of toxic compounds including formaldehyde. Additionally, green certified homes are required to have an air recirculation system that prevents the buildup of formaldehyde and other potentially harmful chemicals in your home.

If you aren’t living in a green certified home, have your home tested. Formaldehyde est badges can be purchased online. If you find that your home does have high levels of formaldehyde, you can install a air recirculation system or contact an industrial hygienist to locate the materials in your home that are emitting the toxin.

Green resolution No. 3 Conserve water

I have discussed water conservation in the past. This is one of the best ways that each of us can save money while improving our daily lives and our natural environment. The easiest way to conserve is to install low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets.

Replacing older washing machines with energy efficient models can also make a significant difference. Finally, remove your traditional grass lawn and replace it with xeriscape landscaping and an automated drip system.

My final New Year’s resolution is to continue debunking the myth that a green home in New Mexico has to be a more expensive home. These New Year’s resolutions might not save the world or give us world peace, but they can save you money and improve your health. Green is the future and it’s something that each of us can achieve in many small ways.

What are your green resolutions for 2010?  Leave a comment and let us know what step you think you might try this year!

Happy New Year!

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