Sustainable (Green) Building Consulting

We help design and construction professionals understand the options and challenges to creating cost-effective higher performance buildings. We help improve the design, choose healthy and sustainable materials to make your projects more efficient and improve your clients’ satisfaction. We also help solve building science problems revolving around poorly performing buildings.

We assess in five basic categories:

  1. Climate Assessment
  2. Site Assessment
  3. Building Assessment
  4. Mechanical and Alternative Energy Systems Assessment
  5. Durability Assessment

Professional Services:

1. Climate Assessment

Climate assessments are the inventory of readily available information from resources such as local government, agricultural extensions, airport climate data, climate data websites, local climate action plans, etc. The elements of the assessment include but are not limited to location, historic setting, neighborhood context, zoning, infrastructure, natural physical features, flora, fauna climate, man-made features, circulation, utilities, human, and culture.

Climate information gives the design team the necessary information to design a truly climate-driven design with minimal impact to the site ecosystem and develop biomimicry concepts.

  • Provide written climate assessment

2. Site Assessment

When designing a sustainable building there are many items that must be addressed. In our opinion, site-specific design is the starting point for all responsible developments.  One must fully appreciate the complexity of natural cycles and existing relationships on the site to understand the full impact of introducing a new building to an existing ecosystem. 

For a building to be successfully integrated with the site, an initial site analysis should take into consideration the following:

  • The duration and angle of the sun:  Siting a building to accommodate solar access is of paramount importance when considering the comfort of the building’s inhabitants as well as lightening the load on heating and cooling systems. This not only creates a comfortable living environment, but can also result in significant savings on heating and cooling bills.
  • Existing site topography:  Desirable features located on the site, such as a clustering of trees, should be preserved and protected. Green spaces are beneficial as they filter and condition air as well as moderate harsh climate conditions. Clear cutting and site leveling destroys the natural microclimate and should be avoided.  This will create a healthier living environment and will also contribute to cost savings on energy bills.
  • Existing drainage patterns: Integrated landscape techniques, such as permaculture, should be used to impede water runoff and create a low-maintenance landscape. Natural drainage patterns of the site shall be respected, maintained, and enhanced, and on-site water retainage and/or reuse should be encouraged. Utilizing plants that are accustomed to local climate conditions and replenishing those with water that is naturally collected on the site will conserve water thus leading to lower water bills.
  • Provide written site assessment

3. Building Assessment

The next items that should be addressed when designing a sustainable building are the building layout and components. All of these components affect the energy efficiency of the building.

The following should be taken into consideration when designing a green building:

  • Building orientation: A building should be oriented on the site to maximize solar access and minimize site impact. 
  • Building size and shape:  Smaller buildings require less material, less land, and less energy. That’s why designs should not only fit the site but also avoid excessive building size. 
  • Building shell and Building Enclosure Assessment:  The most efficient building will have the least amount of surface area exposed to the elements. This will diminish heat transfer, which will result in an increase in cost savings on utility bills. The wall and roof structure can be made of many different materials.

These structural systems are reviewed using the following green building science concepts: 

  • thermal mass (conduction)
  • air barriers (air sealing)
  • insulation
  • vapor barriers
  • thermal bypass
  • vented vs unvented
  • drainage planes
  • Location of windows: The location, amount, and size of windows will also play a significant role in heat gain and loss.  Windows should be a balance between the need for daylight and the effect of heat gain and loss.  It is also suggested that each room have at least one operable window to allow for fresh air exchange and air circulation, which will enhance passive cooling which in turn decreases the desire to turn to an artificial cooling system to stay comfortable.
  • Room layout: The location of rooms should optimize energy performance while enhancing the beauty of the space and the needs of the building occupants.
  • Appropriate materials: Encourage the use of recycled, local materials and materials whose manufacturing process uses low embodied energy.  Materials should also be analyzed for the level of toxicity.  A knowledgeable green architect or builder will be able to specify healthy alternatives that are cost-competitive with traditional building materials and that will not compromise the health of the building’s inhabitants.
  • Controlling Pests: assess the risks associated with different pests. Define proper placement and installation of physical barriers to protect your project from termites, ants, mice, rats, and other pests
  • Provide written reports and recommendations
  • Create space diagram/layout (bubble diagrams)
  • Provide building science example details
  • Provide green building specifications
  • Mark-up drawings if requested

4. Mechanical and Alternative Energy Systems Assessment

The systems that we address after the envelope has been determined are the HVAC systems and then lastly the required alternative energy systems that are required to reduce the energy bill down to the homeowner’s determined yearly energy bill.

From our experience on previous projects, we give alternatives and options to achieve the desired energy goals:

  • Cooling Systems: Different mechanical systems such as typical split, mini-split, water and earth coupled geothermal, etc systems are evaluated for project effectiveness and appropriateness. Furthermore, the location of ducts and equipment are also assessed.
  • Ventilation Systems: Investigate options to reduce occupant exposure to indoor pollutants by bringing in fresh air. Also, investigate options to reduce interior moisture levels in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Moisture Load Control: Investigate options and appropriateness of dehumidification equipment to enhance indoor/outdoor living environment
  • Photovoltaic System: the location, type, and size of the photovoltaic system are assessed to understand the amount of energy produced and how many years it takes to pay back the system
  • Thermal Solar Systems: the location, type, and size of the solar thermal system are assessed to understand the amount of energy produced and how many years it takes to pay back the system. The type of cooling equipment the system could be attached to is also evaluated to determine any waste streams that can be leveraged to increase energy efficiency
  • Provide written reports and recommendations
  • Solar Diagrams

5. Durability Assessment

The main concept of our durability assessment is to promote durable buildings that require less maintenance and promote good indoor air quality through appropriate design, material selection, and construction techniques.

These include:

  • Drainage planes: All exterior cladding passes some rainwater so controlling rain is one of the most important challenges in the design and construction of your project to control mildew and mold especially in a hot humid climate
  • Exterior materials: materials are evaluated for susceptibility to ultraviolet damage, rot, corrosion of metal, passing of water through materials, etc.
  • Interstitial condensation: sections are reviewed to control the dew point in the wall or roof structure so that condensation doesn’t happen within the structure or insulation
  • Hurricane Mitigation: We review and discuss the fortified home recommendations because different types of structural systems differ in their susceptibility to windstorm damage
  • Provide written reports and recommendations
  • Provide specification if requested
  • Mark-up drawings if requested

 

Ready to Discuss Compliance?

Contact us to ease the burden and clearly understand the most cost-effective way to achieve energy code compliance. Contact us for a quick and easy project assessment followed by a free quote.

See For Yourself

Our portfolio is full of clients we have partnered with over the years to create the energy-efficient building they hoped for and needed. Take a look at some of the successful projects we have been proud to be consultants for.

Our Results in Numbers

Green Insight has a mission that drives us: Reduce our carbon footprint while helping our clients obtain their energy efficiency goals. But don’t just take our word for it. Our results speak for themselves in both our goals of sustainability and how we help our clients do the same while saving them money.

9,822.2

Tons CO2 per year *

Annual reduction of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in tons per year

13,812.6

Pounds SO2 per year *

Annual reduction of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) in pounds per year

9,469.75

Pounds NOx per year *

Annual reduction of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) in pounds per year

1,205

Trees Planted

Number of trees planted on our clients’ behalf

$17,534,063

Rebates and Incentives

The dollar value of all tax and cash incentives we have helped our clients earn

*Compared to base case code building. Numbers represent 2017 and forward.

What our clients are saying

“Green Insight is always available on-site and in real-time. Their ability to turn things around and keep a project on track distinguishes GI from competitors. They are also creative and willing to roll with the punches. In my world, things don’t always work out perfectly but the team at Green Insight is always open to finding creative solutions to figure out the most timely, cost-efficient way to resolve issues.”

Casey Cameron

Casey Cameron
Project Manager, Pavilion Construction

“Green Insight’s team is responsive, available, and provides a tremendous sense of security. We recently had a project where the goalposts changed quickly and often during the approval process. We were able to get our project approved, but I honestly don’t know how that would have gone if we didn’t have the backup and knowledge that Green Insight provided.”

Chris Beabout
Director of Development, Landmark Homes

“When it comes to green energy consultants, Green Insight takes the stress away like no other. They bring an unbeatable combination of value-engineering, industry knowledge, and out-of-the-box creativity for solutions that work. What I value most about working with Green Insight is the relationship – which is more like a partnership that has been one of the key drivers in our success. They take the stress away. And frankly, this has been the best relationship that I’ve had with somebody in this business.”

Ceri Jones

Ceri Jones
Owner, Trailhead Homes

Improve your green building performance

You can stop dealing with the pain of code compliance and green building programs. And instead, work with an expert team that will help you achieve your green building goals. Get in touch with us so we can start a fast and easy project assessment followed by a free quote.

Where We Work

Green Insight serves clients throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, West Texas, the entire Mountain West, and beyond. Over the years we’ve grown to service many cities in the mountain states and southwest and our primary service areas are listed below. Our footprint has quickly expanded to other cities and states within the U.S. and internationally. Our continued growth is powered by word-of-mouth marketing from hundreds of happy clients who love our dedication to detail and customer service. 

Green Insight has completed or is currently working on projects in the following states and countries:

Arizona
Arkansas
Cayman Islands
Chile
Colorado

Florida
Georgia
Mexico
Montana
New Mexico

Saudi Arabia
Texas
Virginia
Washington

Certifications