Green building is the wave of the future and with the fluctuation of heating and cooling costs, it’s the wave of the present, too. Sustainable homes can help you save on everything from construction costs to upkeep and maintenance. Remodeling sustainably-built homes is easier too, as materials are readily available within the construction industry and building industry best practices include sustainability as an important asset.
There are numerous ways to increase the sustainability of your home as you build it. Here are ten of our favorites!
- Recycle from the very beginning. Many home building materials including plastics, metals and other construction components are easily recycled. Partnering with a local industrial recycler might even net you some extra cash for those project leftovers, especially metals. Furthermore, you can work with your builder to secure recycled materials to use in building your home.
- Create a home with a passive design.Passive design and structural engineering works with the exterior climate norms of your home — its orientation based on the sun’s movement, ventilating for atmospheric conditions, and the like. This type of design uses your location’s climate to help heat and cool your home. If the climate is doing the work, that’s lower heating and cooling costs for you!
- Use drought tolerant plants in your landscaping.Landscaping makes a big difference in terms of sustainability and efficiency in your home construction. Using drought-tolerant plants will not only present a lovely aesthetic effect, it will considerably lower the amount of water you need to use for their upkeep, too.
- Use sustainable flooring materials.Sustainable flooring materials, like bamboo, are incredibly attractive and, because it is quickly regenerative, incredibly eco-friendly. Other materials, such as marmoleum, cork, and certain composites are great sustainable materials as well.
- Install skylights throughout your home.Skylights not only bring beautiful, diffuse daylight into your home, they are energy-savers. The materials that make up skylights are reflective while also allowing for sunlight to come in passively, providing gentle solar insulation of your home.
- Create built-in water tanks to collect rainwater.Rainwater collection has numerous uses. You can use it in your bathroom, for watering your garden, and more. Using rainwater is an excellent way to cut your water costs significantly, as you won’t have to use piped water so much around your home. Check your local regulations though — rainwater collection is illegal in some municipalities. Your architectural design or structural engineering firm should also have this information.
- Compost!Building an effective composting system into your home has myriad helpful uses. It cuts down on your organic waste that ends up in a landfill, lessening your garbage fees. It also creates a nutrient-dense medium that makes a wonderful soil additive for any kind of gardening application. Plus if you work to integrate composting into your new home or remodel early on, your sustainable home structural engineer can assess the property’s optimal solution for making it easy and fulfilling to do.
- Use local materials.Local materials will help cut down on the cost of transportation, both to you and to the environment. While the cost to you personally may not be as much in terms of paying for materials to be transported, the cost of their actual transportation is staggering to the environment.
- Use double-glazed windows (and blackout curtains). Double-glazed windows increase your home’s efficiency by cutting down on the amount of heat that can escape your house. Blackout curtains can help keep rooms from admitting too much sunlight and create an even, moderate temperature.
- Plant spider plants around your home.Spider plants are easily-propagated container plants that are especially effective at cleaning indoor air. To keep your home’s air at its optimal quality, spider plants may be used throughout the home.
Of course, all of the sustainable home tips in the world aren’t too helpful if you don’t have an architect and structural engineer coming from the same perspective. At Crown Jade Design & Engineering we pride ourselves on our commitment to green home building and alternative material usage. We’re experts on insulated concrete forms, rammed earth, alternatively built structures and more to maximize your home’s efficiency and create your perfect green dwelling. We’d love to hear from you!