Thinking about building your own home? Why not go green? Not only is it good for the environment, but green construction can also benefit your health and well-being. Lower energy and utility bills also add to the advantages of building a green home. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), home builders expect to be doing 60% or more of their homes green by 2020.
Here are a few points to keep in mind as you plan.
Smaller is Better
A small home built on environmentally friendly ideologies is going to have a smaller impact on the environment as compared to a large home, which costs more to heat and cool. Construct a home that reflects your lifestyle while keeping costs manageable and predictable. If you are considering growing your family or bringing in a few friends or relatives, put appropriate resources and accommodation in place.
It takes a lot of energy to heat or cool a home — roughly 50% of your total energy consumption. Proper insulation helps a home stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so your heating and cooling systems don’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature comfortable. Watch out for potential leaks around windows, doors, and duct work. It’s good for the environment, but the savings on your utility bill aren’t a bad perk, either.
Focus on Water
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, population growth in the United States is straining water supplies. Because of this, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of freshwater consumption and conservation, and they are taking the necessary measures to reduce its consumption. Consider appliances and fixtures that conserve water such as tankless water heaters, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators, and Energy Star-rated washers and dryers. Also, consider installing a rainwater harvesting system. You can use the rainwater to water your landscape, irrigate the garden and fill water features.
Use Sustainable Materials
When building your green home, using sustainable materials can significantly reduce the impact of your construction on the environment. Use natural or otherwise eco-friendly products, such as linoleum, cork, or bamboo for flooring. These products are eco-friendly and ideal for home insulation ratings and efficient climate control.
Reuse your old materials, like wood floors, windows, and doors, to build your green home. You can also use recycled materials, such as reclaimed wood, recycled steel or plastic composite, and countertops made from recycled aluminum and glass. Recycled materials also tend to be more cost-effective.
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that does not produce any pollutants. Combined with other green construction techniques, solar power can reduce your energy consumption and supply excess energy, if any, to your utility company. If that is not good enough, there also are tax breaks, grants, and other government incentives related to the use of solar power in your home.
Ready to go green? Consult your landscaper, architect, builder, as well as your local home builders’ association. They will help you build your dream home.