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What do Eco Builders do?

By Vicki Hogue-Davies
Updated May 17, 2024
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Eco builders build homes, offices and other buildings to sustainable, or "green," standards. They also renovate homes and buildings to make them more environmentally friendly. These builders are experts in green building technologies and sustainable building practices, products and systems. They often work with "green-educated" architects, landscape designers, engineers and other building professionals to design sustainability into projects.

A major goal of eco building is to reduce the amount of materials needed to build and maintain projects over time. Using fewer materials saves energy, reduces waste in landfills and more. Eco builders often seek to build homes and buildings that are of timeless design, so that they do not have to be updated every few years to keep up with changing trends. Eco builders might focus on building clean, contemporary styles that require fewer materials to build. They sometimes try to use materials that can be found locally to project sites, to reduce energy consumption and other effects of transporting the materials.

Some examples of materials and systems that eco builders work with include bamboo and reclaimed woods for flooring, cabinets and elsewhere. They use systems such as photovoltaic roof panels; smart technologies that monitor and turn off computers, lights and other items when not in use; and high-resistance insulations to help conserve energy. Eco builders also might add water capture and reclamation systems to homes and buildings and incorporate hot water solar systems.

Eco builders not only build in a sustainable way, they also seek to tear down old structures that way. For example, if existing buildings on project sites must come down, eco builders will deconstruct them to green standards. They might pulverize the wood from existing buildings for mulch and grind up and recycle concrete and other materials.

Many eco builders seek to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification for their building projects. This internationally recognized certification is awarded through the United States Green Building Council. Eco builders are certified in different categories and at various levels, including silver, gold and platinum, the highest achievable level. To achieve certification builders must demonstrate that their projects were designed and built to reduce energy use, save water, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and more. Being able to say that a project is LEED certified is the pinnacle of success for many eco builders.

Professional LEED credentials and certifications for individuals are also awarded. Individuals can test for credentials specializing in green home building, neighborhood development, interior design and construction and other areas. Professional certificates in residential and commercial building sectors designate a complete understanding of LEED building principles.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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