Traditional homes are, for the most part, emission-pumping powerhouses that heavily contribute to the grave environmental problems that loom over global society. Fortunately, the residential landscape is starting to shift, as winds of change sweep across it. As a result, nowadays, construction processes have less impact on the environment. We are also making leaps and bounds in the area of home tech and systems. So, you can save a considerable amount of money by building a green home, while also helping the environment.
Starting from scratch
Unlike remodeling and renovating old structures, when building from the ground up, you have an incredible opportunity to put together a peerless green building. So, come up with a plan well ahead of time and do not neglect a single detail. You might have to initially invest more, but it will pay off in the long run. Besides, there should be tax breaks, incentives, and grants available from the local or national government.
It all starts with a location of the home. The orientation of the building impacts the amount of sunlight exposure and thus heating and cooling requirements that account for 50% of the domestic energy consumption. It is one of the crucial elements of a passive solar building design. Of course, there is much more to it. Bear in mind, for example, that in terms of energy consumption and carbon footprint, a smaller home is better. Likewise, the materials you decide to use play a huge role.
An empowering cycle of sustainability
Take every chance you can to adhere to the “reduce, recycle, and reuse” principle. Right off the bat, see if you can utilize some old materials, such as wooden floors, for your new home. Also, maximize the usage of recycled and renewable materials in the building process. Many construction sites are now filled with aluminum, recycled glass, reclaimed wood, and recycled plastic. Natural materials are a safe bet as well, so consider integrating bamboo, cork, and linoleum.
Next, turn your attention to the envelope of the building. Namely, insulation is another mainstay of a sustainable home. You need to keep a close eye on the weakest links, such as leaky areas around doors and windows. They are responsible for the heat loss and the bulk of the money you pour down the drain. Also, you can take advantage of many affordable, green, and innovative solutions, such as sheep wool, cotton, aerogel, and polystyrene insulation.
Furthermore, make a transition towards more environmentally friendly home products and systems. Focus on those that mitigate the impact on the environment and allow you to conserve energy. Note that in the area of energy-efficient home equipment, the ENERGY STAR label should be your guiding light. It is a guarantee that the product is deemed sustainable, judging by the highest standards. The good news is that even products like windows now feature ENERGY STAR labels.
In the electricity department, optimize the consumption with LED and CFL lighting systems. To tap into clean and renewable sources of energy, implement the staples of sustainability – solar panels. The upfront costs can be unpleasant, but in the long-term, panels save an incredible amount of money. It is estimated that a quality 5kWp Solar System saves up to $1,800 on an annual basis. The surplus of energy can be even sold back to utility companies.
Finally, water conservation is another great frontier of innovation. Make strides towards sustainability by investing in tankless water heaters and rainwater harvesting systems. And if you want to start small, you still have various options. Don’t miss the chance to lower the water consumption with low-flow shower heads and faucets as well as low-flush toilets. Small improvements can make a big difference and turn your home into a green sanctuary that nurtures a sustainable way of living.
Sowing the green seeds of change
Some people surmise that going green costs an arm and a leg and brings forth elusive benefits. Well, this notion and the actual truth are worlds apart. No matter how you look at it, a green home is a win-win. In the long run, it enables substantial money savings, spurs great health benefits, and lowers the carbon footprint. So, make an extensive green plan for your home and see it coming alive before your eyes. Reduce your energy consumption to trim utility bills and embrace a sustainable lifestyle at its purest.
About the Author: Derek Lotts writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and everything related to home improvement. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the Internet to achieve betterment.
Additional articles by Derek Lotts: Make Your Lawn Look Well Manicured On a Budget | How to Organize a Stunning Summer Party in Your Backyard