Discover Ideas for a Dream Green Home
With the concern over man-made climate change, many are considering a green home for their next house. A green building takes into consideration the entire life-cycle of a home, from the location to the eventual deconstruction. The main goals are to reduce energy and water usage from beginning to end and making use of sustainable building materials with the least environmental impact.
Over the years, there have been considerable advancements in green home building. This means you no longer have to compromise comfort, function, or livability. Technology has created better materials using less energy and resources for production. Home designs are also more energy and water efficient. Another factor is alternative energy sources which have even further reduced carbon and pollution emissions.
Nonetheless, every discussion about green home building must include cost. Going green is not just a moral decision, it is a financial decision. The good news is that all the advancements in technology and techniques that have made green homes more efficient have also made them more cost effective. While the initial costs are still higher than traditional construction, California’s Sustainable Building Task Force found the return on investment is tenfold over the first 20 years.
The ideal green home building has several main goals: reduce energy use, reduce emissions from energy, water conservation, and the reduction of waste. Therefore, the focus is on the use of sustainable materials, lowering home operating costs, and creating healthy buildings. With this in mind, here are some ideas for your dream green home.
- Location – When building a green home, consider the needs of solar energy. Choose a location that receives sun year round. Also, avoid environmentally sensitive areas like flood zones. Finally, factor in accessibility to public transportation and proximity to shopping areas.
- Build Smaller – Today’s green home building methods and materials have put an end to cramped green homes. Nonetheless, size does matter. A larger home requires more energy to operate. Build a home that more accommodates your needs than your wants.
- Energy Efficient Appliances – Ensure all appliances, from the kitchen stove to the HVAC system, has the best ENERGY STAR rating available. The U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency evaluate hundreds of products, from electronics to building products, for energy efficiency.
- Insulation – Approximately 40 percent of a home’s energy use comes from heating and cooling. Therefore, a home’s energy efficiency relies on closing the building envelope and creating a tight air seal. Home insulation is an important consideration for green homes.
- Repurpose and Recycle – One great way to lessen environmental impact is by avoiding the use of new building materials. There are opportunities using and repurposing old cabinets, flooring, doors, and more. Additionally, there are building products, such as composite decking, made from recycled materials.
- Programmable Thermostat – As stated above, home heating and cooling is the largest percentage of home energy use. A programmable thermostat ensures energy is not wasted heating or cooling an empty house. A change of just one degree can save up to 3 percent on your electricity bill.
- HVAC System – Today’s heating and cooling systems are 40 percent more efficient than just 10 years ago. However, you can take it a step further. A geothermal system uses energy from the ground to heat and cool a home.
- Water Conservation – Installing low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets are examples of ways to conserve water. Additionally, high-efficiency appliances, like clothes washers, will work to save both water and energy.
- Alternative Energy – No one serious about impacting global climate change is using energy generated by coal. You can choose an alternative energy provider. However, a better choice installing a solar, wind, or hybrid system. As a benefit, the extra energy generated is sold to your utility company.
- Landscaping – Often overlooked, landscaping can improve your home’s energy efficiency. With proper placement, trees and shrubs can reduce cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, well-placed trees can reduce energy consumption by 25 percent.
In summary, a green home reduces the consumption of resources and energy. While there is a higher initial cost compared to traditional buildings, the investment is much lower than even a decade ago and pays for itself over time. A green home saves money by using 40 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than a standard home. The ultimate benefit of a green home is a lower operating cost.