Sustainable Materials and Practices
Sustainable building practices and materials are those that encourage environmental responsibility and resource efficiency throughout the life cycle of a building.
Sustainable materials are generally low-energy materials. “Low-energy” means that producing the material and delivering it to the job site took less energy than conventional building materials.
For example, aluminum, by contrast, is high-energy material requiring extensive energy to mine, refine, combine, and otherwise turn into building products and deliver them to a job site. An example of low-energy building material, on the other hand, is the soil found on the job site that is used to build a rammed-earth home.
Another sustainable material is the wood from fast-growing trees where forests harvested for construction materials are replenished at a rate equal to or greater than the harvest rate.
An example of a sustainable practice would be the use of water-conserving devices in a home, such as low-volume flush toilets and water-conserving showerheads.
Although home inspection training typically does not address these practices and materials, it is possible for an inspector to identify the fact that they exist in a home.