Building a new family home: sustainability in focus.
Image by Harry Strauss from Pixabay
Anyone who plans on building a dream home for their family in 2019 should ensure that the design includes sustainable and eco-friendly features. Apart from environmental responsibility, these considerations are also economic, since amounting energy bills are already signalling that we need to find alternatives to traditional, grid-supplied power. Here are the top seven methods you can use to introduce resource-saving features in your new family home design.
Roof-mounted solar panels
Harnessing the power of the sunis often considered the ultimate renewable energy, and certainly the most convenient with suburban homes in mind. Initially available as solar water heating that reduces the workload of electrical or gas water heater, today’s photovoltaic panels reach the efficient of 20%, with minimum maintenance costs. Sunlight is a truly sustainable natural energy source which allows homeowners with solar systems installed to “sell” the excess energy back to the grid, which only increases the savings bonus.
Through the use of the indigenous and drought-tolerant plants, eco-friendly mulch, and recyclable materials whenever possible, new homeowners can make their home’s exterior truly sustainable. Long gone are the days of lush green lawns and backyard sprinklers. Prolonged droughts in many areas of the world have prompted landscaping designers to turn to native grasses, flowers, and shrubs that have an increased tolerance for both drought and pests, which reduces the need for chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Through expert counsel, you can grade your soil for better drainage, so that the higher levels of your garden are occupied with more tolerant species.
Skylights and glazed walls
Skylights are probably the most effective way of letting natural light filter through every nook of your home. Often called windows for the roof, they face the sun directly for maximum light gains. Their price might be a drawback to some since the skylight itself is just one part of an entire system of wells and tunnels that lead the light to your celling. Alternatively, you can reduce the use of electric white by replacing sections of your exterior wall with glass blocks, which may swing your family home in a wholly different stylistic direction.
Insulation all over
State and local building codes in Australia regularly include minimum insulation requirements, but with sustainability in focus, you need to exceed those mandates. For optimal energy-efficiency, you shouldn’t consider only the insulation, but also the interaction between the insulation another building components. For example, home and land packages in Melbourne show us that on top of standard deals, contractors offer energy-efficiency inclusions like ceiling bats at R4.0 to all roofed areas, sisalation foil wrap to external walls, as well as weather seals for external doors and aluminium windows.
Since heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25-30% of a home’s heating and cooling energy use, it’s important to choose the most effective type of windows for your climate. In warmer climates, such as Australian, you need winnows low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) to reduce heat gain in the summer. As materials are concerned, vinyl is an affordable option that offers budget-wise energy efficient, if installed properly. Wood windows, on the other hand, offer superb insulation value but need more maintenance than vinyl and aluminium, which is recommended in humid and hurricane-prone areas.
Althoughincandescent light bulbs with tungsten filament are getting banned in more countries every year, their successors, compactflorescent lights (CFLs) are still being accused of low sustainability, primarily due to resource-demanding manufacturing process and lead and mercury content that makes their disposal questionable. LED bulbs, on the other hand, contain no heavy metallic vapours, while lasting up 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. On top of it, they use at minimum 75% less energy than old-style bulbs, which accounts for dramatic cost savings alone.
Sustainable buildings are today regularly delivered with plumbing solutions that either reduce the use of water in the bathroom or systems that separate potable and processed or so-called greywater. About 30% of a home’s water is flushed though the toiled. By choosing a low-flow model, you can reduce the amount for 30 to 60%. Aerating shower heads and sink faucets mix air into the water stream, reducing the amount of water is wasted every second.
These tips are only the tip of the iceberg of family home design strategies that can raise its sustainability level. While some of them include solutions that reduce the use of resources directly, others generate savings from higher efficiency or longer lifespan of the materials that are used.
If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out LinkedIn.