Green building, also called sustainable design, promotes environmentally responsible and efficient building practices that create healthy and comfortable places to live and work.
There are five common sustainable design principles that are incorporated into sustainable building practices. These design principles include:
The most effective way to incorporate these sustainable design principles is by utilizing a whole building approach. This means designing, understanding, and integrating all factors of a building to work together for optimal efficiency. Steps to making a building more sustainable and efficient include: optimizing the building’s site potential; optimizing the floor plan potential; protecting and conserving water; utilizing energy efficient strategies; incorporating renewable energy sources; using environmentally preferable products; enhancing indoor air and environmental quality; and optimizing operational and maintenance practices.
Sustainable design tips for homeowners, designers, and contractors are provided below. These tips include design suggestions and strategies for incorporating sustainable design principles into home renovations and future building projects.
Funding Opportunities, Incentives, and Additional Resources
Funding Opportunities & Tax Incentives
Department of Energy (DOE)
DOE provides information about renewable energy, energy saving strategies, rebates and tax incentives.
- Energy Star
Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and DOE which provides energy ratings for products, appliances, residential and commercial buildings and others.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA provides information about green building principles, programs, and funding.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Creators of the Leadership for Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system which includes ratings for Homes, Neighborhoods, Interiors, Existing Buildings, and others.
- Whole Building Design Guide
Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences, provides a comprehensive overview of whole building design principles and provides extensive resources and publications related to sustainable building design.
- NC Energy Division, Department of Commerce
The NC Energy Division provides information about the NC Energy Office, the Weatherization Assistance Program and the Office for Green Business Development.
- NC Green Building Technology Database
Database of projects and case studies across the state that have implemented strategies and technologies related to green building. Also provides additional links to green resources.
- NC Green Power
NC Green Power is an energy program designed to supplement NC’s existing power supply with renewable energy sources.
- NC Healthy Built Homes Program
NC Healthy Built Homes is a certificate rating system for homes in North Carolina meeting specific green building guidelines.
- NC Solar Center (NC State University)
The NC Solar Center provides information about alternative energy, sustainable design, provides technical assistance and resources.
- Cape Fear’s Going Green Magazine
Provides articles about sustainability and green topics throughout the Cape Fear region and also provides a comprehensive overview of green and sustainability-related resources.
- Cape Fear Green Building AllianceLocal non-profit that advances education regarding sustainable building practices for industry professionals and the public through monthly meetings and a variety of workshop training sessions. The CFGBA also publishes a comprehensive “Green Directory” of local professionals in green building trades.
- Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA)
The consolidated authority which provides water and sewer services for the residents of the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County. CFPUA provides water conservation tips and resources for the public.
- New Hanover County – Environmental Management
The Environmental Management department provides information about the landfill, recyclable materials, locations of recycling centers, and links to the recycling webpage for the City of Wilmington, Town of Wrightsville Beach, Town of Carolina Beach and Town of Kure Beach.
- WAVE Transit
Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, operating as Wave Transit, provides information about alternative transportation (buses, shuttles, trolleys) and also about their Breathe Easy initiatives which includes the Green Wave.
Disclaimer: These design tips are guidance materials to aid homeowners, designers, and contractors that choose to incorporate sustainable design principles into their projects. For homeowners: while many of these tips may be do-it-yourself projects, you may need a contractor for others. For all projects: permits and inspections may be required depending on the degree and scope of the project. All projects are required to meet all applicable North Carolina State Building Codes and New Hanover County ordinances. All products must be third-party verified in the United States and must meet North Carolina code requirements. For more information, and to determine if a project requires permits or inspections, please call the Inspections Division.
Building & Plan Review: (910) 798-7450
Electrical Section: (910) 798-7205
Plumbing & Mechanical Section: (910) 798-7206