Leading a sustainable lifestyle goes beyond using an eco-friendly car, bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, and avoiding straws. If you wish to live sustainably, you should also consider following some green housing ideas.
Building your home with eco-friendly practices in mind is great for your community. You can be an example to others who also wish to live sustainably. By serving as their example, they now know where to start.
Green building also makes a lot of sense from a practical standpoint. Long-term, you can save a lot of money on home maintenance because you are not paying exorbitant utility bills.
Included in this article are several green housing ideas. Take them into consideration as you build or renovate your home and create something more sustainable in the process.
Keep Your Home as Small as Possible
The size of your home makes a significant difference in terms of resource utilization. Small homes are usually more eco-friendly than big houses because those more compact establishments do not consume a lot of resources.
Heating or cooling your home is less expensive if it is small. The hot or cold air only needs to fill up a small space, so the HVAC system does not need to stay on as long. Over time, that can lead to a lot of energy savings.
Building small also means you need less lighting. Strategically placed fixtures may be enough to provide light for multiple rooms simultaneously.
Of course, you should not feel forced to keep your home small. You should try to keep it as small as possible by minimizing the amount of space. Doing that can even save you some upfront construction costs.
Going small with your home is a fantastic choice not only because you have a cozy place to live in. It is also worth considering because it is good for the planet.
Be Selective with the Construction Materials You Use
Be mindful of which materials you choose to build your home with. Not all of them are equal in terms of being eco-friendly.
First off, you should prioritize using recycled materials. Everyone should know that recycled materials are not inferior to their brand new counterparts. Recycled materials are still durable, beautiful, and they provide other benefits too.
Build your bathroom, kitchen, and other parts of your home using recycled materials as much as possible if you are prioritizing sustainability.
Try to use local materials as well. Aside from being more affordable, you can acquire local material through more sustainable means. You do not need to transport them across multiple states with the help of a large truck.
It is not only about the materials you should use. There are also some materials you should avoid using while building or designing your home.
To be more specific, you should steer clear of using any paints or sealers with high VOC content. Those VOCs are harmful to the environment, and they should not be anywhere near your home.
Top Your Home with Energy-Efficient Roofing
Your roof could turn into a problem area for your home regarding energy efficiency. Some roofs struggle to contain air. Others are easily damaged, so they allow conditioned air to escape your home quickly.
When deciding on a type of roof to install on your home, you should strongly consider either metal roofing or tile roofing.
Both metal and tile roofs are highly durable. You do not need to worry too much about them springing leaks and rendering your HVAC system inefficient.
Speaking of energy efficiency, both metal and tile roofs also work well with other features to preserve home temperatures. You need that kind of energy efficiency from your roof, especially during the summer and winter.
With the right type of roof in place, the HVAC system you have will not need to work constantly. The HVAC system will not need to compensate for heat loss occurring near your roof.
Rely on Solar Energy
Some green housing ideas are well-known, but they warrant repeating anyway. For example, you should consider installing some solar panels if you want to build an eco-friendly home.
Solar panels will help you significantly cut down the amount of electricity you need from the local provider. Install enough of them, and you may not need any supplemental supply at all. You may even have solar power to spare that you could potentially sell to the electric company.
The reduction of your energy consumption should be reason enough for you to be interested in using solar panels. If that is still not enough, you should know that they increase your home’s value considerably.
Per this article from the Department of Energy, homes with access to solar power saw their value increase by an average of $15,000.
Work with a professional installer if you want some solar panels. They can identify the best spots for them on your property.
Make sure the contractor is involved in those discussions. Ask them to orient your home in such a way that it gets as much solar power as possible.
Illuminate Your Home with Natural and Energy-Efficient Light Sources
Light fixtures typically are not the biggest consumers of electricity inside the home. That said, they are still left on long enough that they can be significant expenses.
Conserving energy whenever possible is a must. With that in mind, you should consider a specific setup for your home’s lighting.
Start by thinking of how you can use natural lighting inside your home. Perhaps you can ask for certain features to be added to allow more natural light in. Some strategically located windows in your living room or kitchen can also cut down on the amount of time you need to keep the lights on.
Of course, natural lighting will not be readily available the entire day. You still need artificial light to illuminate your home at night. Given that using artificial light is inevitable, you should use more eco-friendly fixtures.
LEDs are way more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs. Install them instead of light bulbs and start running a more energy-efficient home.
Conserve Water by Installing Some Ingenious Features
No list of green housing ideas would be complete without some suggestions for water conservation. Water is a precious resource. In some parts of the country, water shortages are fairly common, so conserving when possible is good for your household and the community.
So, how do you go about building a home that conserves water effectively? You can start by putting more thought into the water fixtures your purchase.
Not everyone may be aware of this, but there are low-flow water fixtures that are now widely available. Homeowners can purchase low-flow faucets, toilets, and even showerheads to use in their bathrooms.
Speaking of the bathroom, you should also consider installing a shower instead of a bathtub if you want to conserve water. Bathtubs waste plenty of water so they are not the ideal choice for eco-friendly homes. A walk-in shower with a low-flow showerhead would be so much better for water conservation.
You can also install more features that will help your home conserve rainwater. Position your gutters to funnel rainwater into a container of some kind. The water in that container is not fit for drinking, but you can still use it in numerous other ways.
Make a habit out of using rainwater instead of tap water whenever possible if you want to conserve as much water as you can.
Properly Insulate and Seal Your Home
The job of your HVAC system is to keep your home comfortable no matter the conditions outside. You can counter the cold weather of winter with your furnace, while the air conditioner can provide relief for the sweltering heat of summer.
After some time, however, you may notice that your HVAC system is not providing the comfort that you are used to.
Is that due to the system itself having problems? That is certainly a possibility. Another potential explanation for your uncomfortable home is poor insulation.
Insulation is responsible for maintaining your home’s temperature. It prevents potential heat loss during the winter and heat gain during the summer.
Talk to an installer if you do not have adequate insulation.
Ask them about your options and choose the type of insulation that suits your home best. While choosing your insulation, remember that those with higher R values are better at regulating temperature.
Crucially, installing new insulation may not be enough if your goal is to optimize your HVAC system. Leaks along your windows or doors could also be contributing to unwanted heat transfer. You need to seal those spots up if you want your HVAC system to do its job.
Replacing damaged doors and windows with more energy-efficient options is another option worth considering.
Pay Attention to All Parts of Your Home
Green housing ideas can double as useful home building or maintenance reminders.
While designing your home, you may not pay attention to the attic, basement, or crawlspace. If you do not intend to visit those areas often, you may not bother with spending time or money on them.
That would be a huge mistake on your part.
Even if you are not planning to stay in those parts of your home, they still matter. To be more specific, they can contribute to heat transfer. Homeowners can lose a lot of conditioned air through poorly designed attics, basements, and crawlspaces.
Consider this as a reminder to design those segments of your home thoughtfully. The rest of your home will benefit from that.
Shop for Energy Star Appliances
Building an eco-friendly home is not done once you complete the structure. Now that your home is ready, you must consider which appliances to buy.
This is the part where we draw your attention to Energy Star appliances.
Energy Star appliances have to meet high standards to earn that distinguished label. That label is an indicator that you are looking at an appliance that excels in energy efficiency. The appliance in question would be a fantastic fit inside any eco-friendly home.
You can find different kinds of Energy Star appliances for your home. Purchase Energy Star appliances that will be components of your eco-friendly HVAC system.
Other useful appliances that may come with the Energy Star label are water heaters, windows, and even televisions.
Stocking your kitchen with different kinds of Energy Star appliances is also possible. Refrigerators and dishwashers with the Energy Star label are especially great purchases because you can use them all the time.
Searching for Energy Star appliances does not have to turn into a chore. You can use this handy product finder they provide to identify the items you need. Use that online resource to shop for your new appliances while working on your new home.
Do not Forget About Your Outdoor Landscape
To round out this list of green housing ideas, we offer a simple suggestion. That suggestion is to not forget about your outdoor landscape.
You can do so much good for your household by giving genuine thought to your outdoor landscape.
For example, you can recycle some rocks you have lying around. Pulverize them and use them to line your driveway or your patio.
Organic material that ended up on your lawn can also be included in a compost heap. You can then use that compost as nourishment for your plants. You can also use the rainwater you collect to water the plants you are growing.
When it comes to choosing plants to grow, it is best to stick to the ones that are native to your area. Those plants can grow in your location and are low-maintenance additions to your yard.
You can also plant some trees to boost your property’s eco-friendly profile. Make sure the trees are not in the way, so you will not need to cut them down.
Green building principles are well worth following for the sake of your household, your community, and the planet. Building green homes are our specialty here at Eco Minded Solutions. Reach out to us today and let’s work together on your eco-friendly home!
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