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Building a Greener Home: An Interview with Peter Waring of Healthier Dwelling

By Peter Waring

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Healthier Dwelling expresses the notion that the way human beings live on Earth can be improved for the sake of our own health and the health of other species and the eco-system, which sustains us all.

We are a full-service Green Building & Energy Consulting firm based in Marin County but active throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our web site goes into more detail about our projects and what we can do for you whether you are a home-owner, business owner, contractor, policy-maker, individual or organization interested in knowing more about the exciting advances in Green Building, Green Job Training, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy for today's economy.

What are the main differences between the process of green building and a regular building process?

Green building looks at the whole building: all its components and interacting systems, which together determine how much energy gets used up and how much comfort, health, and durability they provide. There is no one way or single product that maximizes this best result, but rather an understanding of how all the parts contribute to the whole.

What are some of the benefits associated with the concept of Green Building?

Truly green buildings last longer than others, and during their extended lifetimes they provide greater comfort and a healthier indoor environment for their occupants. Green buildings also put less of a strain on the rest of the environment and its limited resources.

What are some of the myths associated with the concept of Green Building?

One myth promoted by its manufacturers is that tankless water heaters are always better. The truth is that tankless water heaters can save energy if they are properly designed and sized to meet the demands placed on them. Under other circumstances, they can be an ongoing annoyance waiting for hot water to arrive and actually use more energy than other hot water systems. Not to single out tankless water heaters, since the same can be said of many new products. The trick is to select the appropriate products and materials which work together with the rest of the building to serve the specific needs of its occupants.

Do you have any quick solutions for someone who wishes his or her home were more green and energy efficient?

Among the most cost effective ways to save energy in homes is Air Sealing and effective Insulation. Air sealing requires finding all the places that air leaks into and out of our homes (taking energy with it) and plugging them up with an appropriate durable material (caulk, tape, rigid foam, expanding foam, sheetrock, plywood, sheet metal). Thorough air sealing needs to take place before the holes are hidden behind insulation. Often, it is worth vacuuming out the old, spotty & soiled insulation from an attic in order to get a clean shot at finding and sealing all the holes that are not visible. Then new insulation can be blown in which will perform well. When using fiberglass batts or denim, buy materials with high post-consumer recycled content if possible, and take the time to make sure they completely fill the void without gaps or compression.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Call my cell 415-717-5697 or send me an email: Peter@HealthierDwelling.com.
Try to tell me about your home and what concerns you, so I can respond to your particular needs. However, I often recommend a Home Energy Audit to assess your overall home to discover things you may not be aware of. Many homeowners can take advantage of rebates offered by Energy Upgrade CA, and I can help you qualify for these.

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