In the last couple of years, people have become concerned about what impact their actions can have on both the environment and climate change. A lot of the decisions and activities performed by people appear to harm the structure and composition of the Earth; hence the destruction of wildlife, the ozone layer etc.
The idea of ‘going green’ is a way for people to have the type of life they want without negatively affecting the world at large. Deciding to go green is a decision everyone should make, as your decision not to will have a resounding effect on other people and future generations. If you have plans of becoming a homeowner and you would like to jump on the ‘going green’ wagon, there are a couple of things you should incorporate into your build to give you your dream green home.
Below are a few steps you should follow to build your dream green home.
Use Sustainable Building Materials
The most important aspect of building a green home is purchasing sustainable materials, as it is the foundation of everything. There is no material in particular that is generally accepted as durable; instead, you need to look at the pros and cons of a bunch of different materials – the more pros you find, the better!
- Recycled or Reused Materials
The word recycle means reprocessing. Recycling any material for your green home means reprocessing that material. Materials like rubber tyres can be reprocessed into flooring or plastic bottles into fences and benches.
While reused materials are not processed but refurbished, some of the materials you can reuse for your green dream home can create items such as windows, doors, cabinets, flooring and plumbing fixtures.
- Sustainably Harvested
Purchasing a sustainably harvested material means the material comes from a well-managed and transparent production line; it also means the supply chain is well documented and certified. An example is any certified wood obtained from the Forest Stewardship Council.
- Easily Renewable
Some of the materials that are quickly renewable with a fast turnaround growth cycle include; bamboo, cotton, cork, natural linoleum, wood, wheatboard and strawboard.
- Locally Sourced
Why order your sheets of plywood from Indonesia, which is thousands of miles across the ocean, when you could support your local building industry instead? One of the tips for building your green dream home is to be aware of your local natural resources and put them to good use.
Be aware though, that not all items will tick this box, as some items cannot be locally sourced and would require importation.
Incorporate Water and Energy Efficiency into your Plan
In earlier times, homes used energy (gas or electricity) and water unwisely because both items were seen as infinitely renewable resources – but today, a lot of people know better. Below are some of the ways you can build, fix or remodel your dream green home to use these resources with care.
- Make use of a timer for your outside light, so that it’s only turned on when needed.
- Insulate your attic.
- Make use of a timer thermostat.
- Keep your blinds drawn in both winter and summer to boost your window’s insulating effect.
- Replace windows that lack insulating gas with new ones.
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- If you cannot do away with your lawn, consider replacing natural grass with newer, ultra-realistic artificial turf.
- Replace your toilet with a low-flow toilet.
- To avoid running your tap to bring hot water from a remote water heater, install tankless water heaters that heat water at the source.
- Install a low-flow showerhead.
- Explore xeriscaping as an alternative to water-hungry landscaping.
Emphasise Indoor Air Quality
The air you breathe should never be compromised, as nothing is more important than air. Before the invention of green homes, a few architects and designers gave little thought to the quality of air within the home.
With the introduction of more chemical substances in the house, you should consider these critical areas when building your dream green home.
Most latex or acrylic paints out there contain little to no VOC; oil paints, on the other hand do contain VOCs and should not be used in your green home.
- Floor coverings
You should avoid the use of carpet for flooring as it ranks low when it comes to improving air quality in the house. If you must use carpeting in your home, go for natural materials like wool.
When we talk about moisture in the house, we are referring to mold, which can be toxic to your health. When building your dream green home, install ceiling fans that do not allow water to settle on the walls in your bathroom and laundry room.
Take Note of the Direction for Energy Efficiency
When building your house, opt for west facing if possible, as it reduces sun exposure into your home which in turn, encourages you to use less energy in the summer months to cool your home.
- Solar Panels
Solar panel installation is a costly upgrade from the traditional power supply; it’s one of the main renewable and clean sources of energy; it’s benefits more than outweigh the initial cost of installation.
Practicing eco-friendly electricity usage might seem tricky, but it’s doable. Install LED and compact fluorescent lighting and always use the least amount of electricity possible in your green home.
A smaller house with energy-efficiency and eco-friendly construction techniques will have a minimal impact on the environment compared to a bigger house, irrespective of how green it is. Smaller homes are currently on trend because of their efficiency, affordability and low maintenance cost.
Cool Your Roof
The type of material you use for your roofing will have a drastic effect on your home’s energy efficiency. You should consider materials that deflect the solar energy from your roof and cool faster at night.
Building your dream green home is something that you can easily accomplish with some research and planning; it’s not rocket science.
Jade owns a small business and is a freelancer writer. Her passions include the environment, healthy living, and travel.