Former president Barack Obama once said, "We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last to do anything about it."
These wise words resonate today as the world faces climate change's consequences. So, it's crucial to take quick action, and one way to do so is by building an environmentally friendly new home.
Building an eco-friendly home not only helps you go green but also helps you save some green. So, it's a win-win situation. If you are thinking of building an eco-friendly home but don't know where to begin, don't worry. This article will help you with some valuable tips. So, let's get started and make a positive impact on the world that we call home.
Location of the House
It's crucial to choose an eco-friendly location before building your home. So, what is an eco-friendly location? It's a place that aligns with environmental values and does not impact the local flora and fauna. After all, eco-friendliness is about protecting the environment we live in.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for an eco-friendly location for your house:
- Select the location designated for residential purposes that don't interfere with local flora and fauna.
- Choose a place close to public transportation and other amenities that can reduce your reliance on vehicles.
- Try to avoid hazardous areas like flood zones or landslide areas.
- Do not build houses on agricultural land.
Size of the House
When going green, the main idea is to use the minimum amount of resources possible. The same goes for houses as well. Smaller homes need fewer building materials and consume less energy than bigger houses. Thus, build a house that is just enough for you. This way, you can reduce your environmental impact and save money on heating and cooling costs.
Also, let's not forget that building a house significantly impacts the soil and kills its fertility. So, opt for the larger backyard and garden instead. This can have many benefits, from improved air quality to organic vegetables from your garden.
Optimize Your Home's Design
With some techniques and tricks, you can optimize your home's design in a way that helps in reducing overall energy consumption. Here are some tips to help you out.
- Increase the number of south-facing windows to maximize direct sunlight and warmth.
- Reduce the number of windows on the west side to minimize excessive glare and unwanted heat during the summer.
- Plant trees in front of your west-facing windows to block sunlight in summer and allow warm sunlight in winter when the trees lose their leaves.
- Use sun shades or a roof overhang that can block the sun during summer and lower it in winter to get warm sunlight.
- Build a square-shaped home that helps maximize energy efficiency. A broader house will have more heat loss and less efficiency.
- Use energy-efficient windows and doors to help maintain a consistent temperature inside the home.
- Use green materials like bamboo, reused wood, or recycled steel, which are sustainable, recyclable, and non-toxic.
Use Green and Local Materials
While building houses, it is important to use green and local materials. Green materials are made from renewable sources or recycled materials and have a low environmental impact. This includes bamboo, reused wood, recycled steel, and natural insulation materials such as sheep's wool or cellulose.
However, many people have a myth that green materials are of low quality and are not durable. But, in reality, green materials can be as stable and efficient as their non-sustainable counterparts. They are durable and provide extra benefits such as enhanced insulation and improved air quality. Thus, when building an eco-friendly home, using green materials is necessary.
It's essential to have the proper insulation in your house as it significantly impacts your energy consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and air conditioning account for more than half of total energy use in the home. That is why proper insulation is critical, as it keeps your home comfortable and helps with energy efficiency.
Several varieties of insulation are available in the market with each set of advantages. Here are some types you can consider:
- Fiberglass insulation is a popular choice as it's easy to access and install. Also, it has a high R-value, meaning it's excellent at resisting heat flow.
- Cellulose insulation is made from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly option and great at reducing noise.
- Spray foam insulation is a versatile option used in various spaces and provides excellent insulation and air sealing.
Despite which type of insulation you choose, its proper installation is crucial for maximum energy efficiency. Thus, it's essential to hire a professional to install your insulation.
When selecting equipment for your home, you should always consider its energy efficiency. Energy-efficient equipment is available that helps save energy and has a minimal environmental impact. So, how do you choose energy-efficient equipment? Here are some tips.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label: Ensure it has an energy star label whenever you shop for the equipment. It is a well-known, government-backed symbol that shows that the appliance fulfills strict energy efficiency criteria.
- Consider the size of the appliance: Larger appliances often consume more energy, so determine the device's size depending on your needs.
- Check the energy consumption rating of the appliance: Most appliances have an energy consumption rating that indicates how much energy they consume. They are classified from A through G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient. The products with the A++ mark are the most energy efficient.
- Consider the appliance's features: Some devices have energy-saving features such as timed or delayed start functions. Some even have intelligent features that allow you to monitor and control energy usage remotely.
The initial cost of energy-efficient equipment might be higher than others. But, comparing the cost over its lifespan can save you money in the long run by reducing your energy bills.
Lighting is another area where you can make eco-friendly choices. Who doesn't like well-lit, cozy homes? However, it's crucial to consider energy-efficient lighting that isn't just good for your planet but your wallet as well.
Here's how you can choose energy-efficient lighting:
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label: As said before, The ENERGY STAR label symbolizes that the appliance has met strict standards. Choosing lights with this sticker is highly energy efficient and reliable.
- Choose LED bulbs: LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs are today's most energy-efficient lighting option. They consume less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and are durable. They consume up to 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer.
- Dimmable lights: Dimmer switch allows you to control the brightness of the light as required. So, by installing these switches, you can dim the light when relaxing in the evening or watching TV and brighten the light when studying or cooking.
- Motion sensors and timers: You can look for lights with sensors and timers to automatically turn lights on and off as needed. This helps in reducing wastage and can save energy.
Invest in Renewable Energy Systems
Investing in renewable energy benefits the environment and can yield substantial financial gains in the long run. This includes investing in renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal systems. This way, you can harness the power of the sun, wind, and earth.
The initial cost might be expensive, but the truth is that these systems can pay for themselves over time. This will save on your monthly energy bills, and you may also be eligible for tax incentives to make your investment even more worthwhile.
Also read: How To Obtain Financing For Solar Panels?
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Water conservation is crucial while constructing an eco-friendly home. Installing a rainwater harvesting system is one way to accomplish it. This way, you will lessen your dependency on conventional water sources and help conserve water by collecting and reusing rainwater.
Rain barrels are a popular choice to get started with rainwater harvesting. These simple systems can be installed beneath gutters and downspouts to collect rainwater as it falls from the sky. You can use this water for various purposes, including irrigation, washing your car, or flushing your toilets.
Landscaping is an art form that can do much more than just enhance the exterior of your house. It may provide a natural shield against the intense summer sun and a warm embrace during the winter rays, making your home much more pleasant all year.
Planting trees strategically on your property's southern and western sides is a smart landscaping strategy. These leafy giants will effectively block direct sunlight from accessing your home's walls, resulting in a cooler inside environment throughout the hot summer months.
But that's not all. As the trees drop their leaves in the winter, they let more sunshine into your home, making it brighter and cozier. It's like having a thermostat that adjusts to the changing seasons naturally.
Not to mention, there are aesthetic benefits. A well-landscaped yard not only increases the value of your property but also offers a peaceful retreat for you to relax and recharge after a long day.
Check Out These Builders to Learn More About Building Your Environmentally Friendly Dream Home:
Building an eco-friendly home is a righteous initiative toward preserving our planet. However, accomplishing this goal requires several factors: location, home design, energy-saving, light system, water recycling, and renewable energy resources. These factors will pave the way for a sustainable, eco-friendly home, ensuring comfort and a better future. So let's step forward for a greener tomorrow with eco-friendly homes!