Green Building Tips for Your Custom Home
Everyone’s talking about “going green” these days. If you’re considering building an eco-friendly home, you probably already know that it’s more than just good for the environment. A green home will also save you money through durability and energy efficiency.
Building an eco-friendly, energy-efficient home is about more than choosing the right appliances (though they’re important, too). These tips will help you make environmentally sound decisions when building your custom green home.
You can start going green before construction begins by choosing an efficient building site. If possible, build on a lot that is within walking or biking distance to the most frequent places you travel—such as school, work, and shopping. This helps cut back on the greenhouse gas emissions created by your vehicle.
Smart and thoughtful design
The layout and positioning of your home can have a tremendous impact on energy efficiency. Strategic window placement can help improve ventilation and capture the warmth of the sun in colder weather, reducing heating and air conditioning usage. Skylights for interior rooms also cut back on electricity consumption, and shade trees can assist with cooling in the summer.
Green building materials
A wide variety of eco-friendly building materials are available to help improve resource efficiency. Some of them, such as plastic wood products made from recycled material, are more durable than conventional construction materials.
Salvaged or refurbished materials promote conservation by reducing landfill waste. You may also choose “lifetime” materials like stone, brick, or cement board siding, saving the resources that would have been used to replace them.
Interior energy efficiency
Choosing energy-efficient appliances with Energy Star ratings is a great way to help the environment and save money on utility bills. You can also use energy-efficient lighting, such as compact florescent (CFL) lightbulbs, to further reduce energy use.
Other steps for interior efficiency include choosing appropriately sized heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) units, double-pane or protective coating windows, and insulation made from recycled materials, such as denim.
Many people overlook water management as a component of green home building. There are several ways to conserve water in your new home, such as installing low-flow toilets.
Outside, you can install rain barrels to catch water runoff from your roof. This water can be reused for lawns and gardens. You can also have a gray-water system installed to recycle sink and shower drainage for outdoor use.
Harnessing alternative energy
Many green homes use alternative energy sources to cut back on utility bills through natural power. There are systems that directly generate electricity, usually through wind power or solar power. Geothermal and solar hot water systems can heat or pre-heat water for use in sinks or showers, or even to supplement heating and cooling.
Be sure to work with a custom home builder who is experienced with green home design and construction. Ultimately, you’ll save money—and the environment!