While the talk of building “Green” homes has cooled off in recent years, it is still on our minds. The reason being is that sustainability is still a big concern for builders. As materials continue to get used up and costs rise, we want to see more growth in alternative products to keep new homes affordable.
In addition to sustainability, we are also on the lookout for products that are more durable or will perform better over a longer period of time. Many of those types of products are considered Green or Eco-Friendly, and we are all for that.
Building A More Eco-Friendly Home created by Donald A Gardner Architects
Here are some tips we have discovered to building a more eco-friendly home:
- Positioning is Key – Before spending money on products, set the home up properly. This means orientating the home to take advantage of sunlight and the possibility for adding solar power, either now or the future. The correct position of the home also helps ensure you have sunlight in the rooms when you are most likely in them and taking advantage of the natural views on your property.
- LED Lighting – Utilize LED lighting wherever possible. LED lights not only save you money because they last longer, but they`re brighter than traditional light bulbs and do not generate as much heat, which is an added benefit during air-conditioning seasons.
- Building Efficiency – It doesn’t matter how much you spend on eco-friendly products, if your home is not sealed up properly or built correctly all those savings will go to waste. A builder who takes a second look through a home before it is insulated or getting a 3rd party energy verifier at your site can save you tons of money in the long run.
- Certified Products – Choose Energy Star or Focus on Energy rated products. Appliances, furnaces, air conditioners, and windows often carry Energy Star or Focus on Energy certifications. These products are tested and meet the high standards of these programs. Windows are also built differently for each region of the country, so it is important to make sure you have the right type of window for your local climate.
- Invest in Technology – Using simple innovations like programmable or smart thermostats can save you a lot of dollars and limit the load on the environment. Why have the heat cranking on your home when you are not there to enjoy it?
- Save Our Important Resources, Such As Water – We use a lot of fresh water and it takes a lot of time and cost to re-treat water. Many municipalities are spending millions of dollars creating solutions for water treatment and passing those costs on to homeowners. Using less water will protect our environment and offset the increasing costs municipal of water treatment. New technologies in toilets allow them to flush more material with less water through design engineering. Faucets can use less water and deliver more pressure to clean faster. These simple changes equal big savings in some areas.
- Last But Not Least, Invest in Renewable Energy – Most people jump to this first when building eco-friendly, however this is probably the last area you should tackle. If your home is not efficient to begin with, it makes no sense investing in a $30,000 or $50,000 system, does it? You must also consider how long you will plan on living in the home. If it is less than ten years, you will likely not see all the payback of renewable energy.
- Geo-Thermal – Using the consistent 60-degree temperature of the earth makes a ton of sense and will help you heat or cool your home without the use of natural gas. These systems are pricey but could pay back quickly in rural areas that require LP tanks. With natural gas prices lower right now, the payback on these systems has decreased with it taking nearly 30% longer to pay back than 5 years ago. If natural gas prices climb again, the payback on these systems will accelerate and you will see more of them again.
- Solar – Solar power not only will provide you electric but can also heat your water heater. When set up properly and some creativity with your utility company, you can save tons of dollars and possibly get paid back from the utility for extra energy you generate. These systems typically have a longer payback but will save you money over the long haul.
With this information you too can build an Eco-Friendly home. For more information, please contact us and we would be glad to show you ways to make your new home more Eco-Friendly. Special thank you to Donald A. Gardner for sharing this helpful info-graphic.