Green Building Practices that Integrate Pest Resistance

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Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are among today’s housing trends. At the same time, new housing builds that are “going green” strive to ward off insects and other pests from the start.  

While bugs are a part of life, today’s new builds and home improvement upgrades make it easy to build green and have bug-free homes. Components of a green home may include recycled steel, efficient windows, insulated concrete, and solar power.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is another practice commonly incorporated into “green” plans. It’s an eco-friendly plan that deters bugs, mice, and other pests. 


Integrated Pest Management 101

Preventing pest invasions before they become serious problems saves money, time, and the environment. Ensuring houses or buildings don’t have all the components for pests’ nests is step one. Installing covered gutters is part of the building process. 

Another aspect is using biological pest control instead of chemical pesticides. By allowing beneficial insects (like lacewings and ladybugs) to eat aphids and other destructive bugs, building companies help to preserve the ecosystem’s balance. 

Good IPM involves developing a pest control plan as part of the entire “green” building practice. Set a plan on paper before construction starts. 


Xeriscaping

Green Building Practices that Integrate Pest Resistance

Houses and commercial buildings that incorporate xeriscaping into landscape design cut down on outdoor maintenance while providing fewer places for bugs to play. Elements of xeriscaping — rocks, gravel, hardscaping, drought-resistant plants, and the like — need little to no water. No  water means no (or at least fewer) buggy or mousy invaders.

Include a xeriscaping layout in the blueprint before starting construction on the main building.  


Green Building Materials

What’s in a green home or commercial building? Here are some environmentally sound options.


Recycled Steel

Recycled steel is thought to reduce greenhouse emissions and preserve natural resources by reusing what has already been harvested. It produces fewer carbon emissions, reducing the need for mining in forests and wild habitats.  


Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

Insulated concrete forms are hollow, interlocking blocks of foamy material with inserted concrete. The combination of insulation and cement creates a barrier that keeps heat in and cold temperatures out. As a result, ICF keeps bugs and rodents out, too.


Bamboo

Bamboo grows quickly, making it a sustainable woody grass that can be harvested every 3 to 5 years. More than just a staple food for pandas, bamboo reduces the need for traditional hard lumber and is one of the strongest building materials available. Bamboo is generally bug-resistant, especially after pre-treatment.


Solar Panels

Using the sun’s energy, solar panels generate clean, renewable electricity while reducing dependency on fossil fuels.


Green Roofs

Have you ever thought of planting a garden on the roof? Green roofs cover the roof with oxygen-producing plants and greenery, providing insulation and a natural barrier to regulate temperatures.

Green roofs have drainage and root systems, filter cloths, growing media, and plants. But rooftop greenery does attract pests. Rodents, birds, ants, and stinging insects are just a few of the creatures that find easy access to roof grasses and gardens, so IPM must be used here.  


LEED

Green Building Practices that Integrate Pest Resistance

Infinitus Plaza by Zaha Hadid Architects - Certified LEED Gold - Photography by Liang Xue

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) determines if a building should be determined ”green,” and how green it really is. Builders get points for things like use of recycled and sustainable materials, energy efficiency, water efficiency, atmosphere, and indoor environmental quality. Buildings need (at least) 26 points to become LEED certified. 

LEED offers two points for Integrated Pest Management. Among other things, LEED’s IPM plan for the building and grounds must include a number of elements, such as:

  • identifying roles for contractors, management, and pest service providers.
  • ways to monitor and identify pests, how to report infestations, and non-chemical solutions to eliminate the problems. 
  • identifying “least risk” pesticide options, using a pesticide screening protocol.    

Another option for pest control is to use a fully licensed contractor for IPM service in the building. The builder’s chosen provider must have full certification from environmentally friendly companies like GreenShield, EcoWise, GreenPro, or a local equivalent.  


Like just about anything else, even environmentally sound and well-insulated buildings may attract insects and rodents. But modern architecture has a way of creating innovative and productive ways to keep things green and bugless. 

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