Over the years, the need to reduce our carbon footprint on Planet Earth has increased. This is because, with civilization, human activity has continued to place Mother Nature in her peril. From the cutting down of trees to burning coal for energy and manufacturing processes that release CO2 and other gases that destroy the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere, we’ve attracted problems like global warming and climate change. Sea levels are rising, the air we breathe is becoming more polluted, and some rare plant and animal species are being driven towards extinction. All this calls for adopting environmentally friendly solutions, and home construction is not an exception. But how exactly do you go about building an eco-house? Well, it all depends on the materials you use during construction and the features you include.
Considering going green with your next home construction?
Here are some tips on how to build an environmentally friendly house.
Go for Eco-Friendly Materials
The impact your home’s construction creates on the environment will largely depend on the building materials you choose to use, and that’s for sure. Of course, modern buildings use a wide range of construction materials before getting the completed structure. One of the best ways to support the planet is to use recycled, renewable, and sustainable materials for various parts of your home. For instance, you could go for recycled wood for your flooring or rubber roofing made from recycled products.
Instead of using the normal concrete for your floors and walls, you can opt for modern micro cement designed from recycled material. Simone Murrin from Carr Restoration Ltd says that “if you’re looking for ECO friendly microcement products our polished concrete effect veneers will give you beautiful and structurally sound walls or floors while ensuring you’re a friend of the environment.” In addition to this, you’ll need less material than normal concrete and it will also require less water.
Another eco-friendly option is a prefabricated or modular home. Not are they made from eco-friendly materials, but manufactured homes are also smaller than conventional homes. This lowers their carbon footprint while increasing their energy efficiency and reducing labor costs, not forgetting that the manufacturing process takes place in a controlled environment. We’ll discuss size later, but some popular material options to consider may include:
- Rubber roofing
- Microcement products
- Composite flooring
- Recycled cork/plastic carpeting
- Composite countertops
- Structural insulated panels
- Low VOC and non-VOC materials
Opt for Renewable Energy Sources
We heavily depend on electricity to power our homes. It’s one of the most important factors to consider when building a house. From household appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and electronics, to high-consumption units like water heaters, cookers, air conditioners, heat pumps, and dry cleaners, household consumption of electricity can be alarmingly high, leading to huge utility bills at the end of the month. Not only this, the production of conventional sources of electricity, such as hydro exerts a huge toll on the environment. To make your home greener and gentler on your wallet, you could consider investing in renewable and sustainable energy, like solar power or wind power during construction. Actually, installing solar power comes with many benefits in many places, including tax breaks and grants, not forgetting you’ll always have a backup energy plant whenever the main grid experiences power interruption.
Ace It On Energy Efficiency Features
Another important factor to consider when building a green home is the features. For starters, an environmentally friendly house needs to prevent energy loss or wastage. To build an energy-efficient home, some things you’ll want to consider include:
- Sealed doors and windows
- Energy-efficient lighting
Go for sealed doors and windows:
During the cold months of winter, windows and doors can be a huge pain in the back as far as energy consumption is concerned. If they aren’t properly sealed, a lot of hot air provided by your heating system escapes through the spaces to the outdoor environment. Cold air from outside may also leak in. This forces your heating and cooling systems to work harder, thus decreasing their energy efficiency. For this reason, it’s only noble to consider investing in quality windows and doors that are properly sealed during the construction of your house.
Just like in the case above, poor insulation can also make your home less energy-efficient. This is because, without proper insulation, your home gains or loses heat more easily from and to the outside environment, forcing your HVAC systems to work harder and consume more energy to keep your interior comfortable. During construction, therefore, you’ll want to make sure your new house is properly insulated to make it environmentally friendly. To further reduce your heating and cooling costs, installing an efficient air duct system can be a brilliant idea.
Watch your lighting:
With the majority of homeowners being the “working class”, it’s safe to say that most of the hours we spend in our homes require lighting. The majority leave their houses at dawn and return at dusk. On this note, the lighting fixtures you install in your home during construction can have a huge impact on the environment as well as your finances. To be on the good side of your budget and protect Mother Nature, you’ll be better off investing in EnergyStar-rated light bulbs, which also last many times longer in addition to consuming less energy than conventional bulbs.
Create A Roof Garden
Especially during the day, plants produce oxygen and take in CO2. They purify our air. For this and other reasons, a green roof is one of the best ways you can make your new house environmentally friendly during its construction or later. What’s more, roof gardens also act as an extra layer of roof insulation, helping your home beat the heat and reduce your heating and cooling needs. They add immense value and beauty to your home as well, if properly designed and maintained.
Include Features That Conserve Water
Your plumbing is part and parcel of parts to consider when building an eco-house. Water is one of the most important elements of our environment, and conserving water should be any green builder’s priority. To minimize water wastage, some features you may want to include in your new house include:
- A dual flush toilet – reduces water consumption
- Professionally done plumbing – minimizes the chances of leaks
- Quality pipes and faucets
- Low water consumption appliances – like dishwashers, clothes dryers, etc.
- Water-saving bathroom shower heads
Last but not least, you may also want to rethink the size of the house you’re about to build. While bigger is better as far as comfort is concerned, the same may not be said to environmental friendliness. Larger homes often have a larger impact on the environment, especially since they’re more demanding when it comes to energy requirements. All the same, the above are just a few tips on how you can build your new beautiful home without feeling so much indebted to the environment.