How to build a green, sustainable home?
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
With the risk of global warming and changing weather patterns around the world, the importance of sustainable living has increased multifold. Sustainable living starts from the construction of a sustainable household. This doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get your dream house, but it would have a few adjustments.
What is a green home?
A green home is such a building that uses materials and devices that do not harm the environment. These materials and devices help to cut down your carbon footprint, increase your home’s energy efficiency, and make it a safe environment for your loved ones and surroundings.
Thus, you prevent your house from becoming a burden on natural resources. Building a sustainable house is a gateway for decreasing the expense of utility bills and minimizing wastage of resources.
Practically, a green home is one that focuses on utilizing reusable materials in the construction and décor of the home. Moreover, it focuses on sustainability at all frontiers i.e., home design, floor plan, insulation, construction, and design.
Select a suitable size
Before jumping right into the construction step, think about the outline of your home. What would be the appropriate size? If you belong to a joint family system, then you might need to make enough space to accommodate all of your relatives.
However, don’t make your house unnecessarily large, as that would require various resources for construction and increase electricity consumption for cooling and heating.
If you’re family consists of only 3-5 members, a small-sized home would be appropriate. Smaller homes produce less waste and are more efficient.
Find the right location
Location is of top priority when building your home. Whether you’re a daily commuter or not, make sure that you’re choosing a well-populated area with the following facilities available.
- Medical and Shopping Centers: Medical centers are of high importance, and you must have one close by for emergencies. A shopping center nearby for groceries is a great plus point.
- Public Transportation: A bus stop near your home can help you to sufficiently cut down your carbon footprint, as you wouldn’t depend on your car frequently to travel to city centers or other locations.
- Infrastructure: If your selected location has all the basic utilities such as gas, water, and electricity supply, then it requires lesser materials and resources for the construction of your house. However, if your location doesn’t, then it requires resources for connection of gas, water pipelines, and even power lines, setting up additional costs.
- Risk Prone Areas: It’s better to avoid areas that are more vulnerable to natural disasters such as hill slopes, flood-prone areas, etc. However, if you’re left with these options, then construct your home with the appropriate materials and structure that will help in withstanding the dangers of those areas.
Make a compact designed home
Why do experts recommend building a compact designed home rather than one that’s spread out over a large area? The physics behind it is that it reduces the surface area exposed to heat radiation in the winter and heat absorption in the winter, i.e., lower costs for warming and cooling of your home. It would also help in requiring fewer materials and resources for the roofing and flooring of your home, as compared to a traditional ranch-style house.
For instance, making a one-story house that is 2000 ft square wide would cost you resources up to a 4000 sq ft home, whereas a 1000 sq ft one-story house would cost you resources of only a 2000 sq ft home. This is why small-sized homes are more efficient.
Choose the best structure for sunlight and warmth
While making the blueprint of your house design, make sure it takes advantage of the climate of your chosen location. If it’s in a colder climate, make sure that enough windows are placed in the direction of sunlight for sufficient natural heating and lighting. This will decrease the dependency on heating devices, cutting down electricity or gas bills.
Only add enough windows that will prevent outsiders from looking into your house. If excessive summer sunlight enters into any one of your rooms, a deciduous tree can provide enough shade during that time. This type of tree sheds leaves during fall and winter, so you don’t have to worry about sunshine not entering your home.
Another way to prevent the strong summer sun is by making a roof overhang or even a sunshade. People living in warmer climate regions can take advantage of these structures or even plant trees near their windows. This will help you to reduce the use of air conditioning, sufficiently decreasing your carbon footprint, and achieving eco-friendly goals.
Make use of locally available materials
Making use of products and materials made locally is another efficient way of cutting down fossil fuel emissions. Rather than depending on imported material, focus on using materials available in your area or nearby city.
If your home is in a location with fewer options available in the local market, search for markets in your nearby city or town. If there is a local tiles market, choose the best tile option for the flooring that fits the color theme of your home.
Take use of energy rated appliances
After the construction step comes the placement of electric and gas devices. Using energy-efficient appliances is one of the most important ways of attaining sustainability. Though they may be a bit pricey, they can help you to deduct electricity and gas bills.
While setting up gas heaters, stoves, or water heaters, it’s essential that they are placed and assessed by a gas safety engineer. This is essential for the prevention of any kind of gas leak mishaps or production of toxic emissions into your home.
A gas safety engineer issues the gas safe certificate after all of your appliances have been examined and pass the check.
You’re ready to build a green home
To provide a positive impact to your loved ones and the environment, make a sustainable, green home. Take advantage of the climate of your area and set the orientation of your house accordingly.
Build a compact designed home rather than the traditional ranch style. Select the right location which has access to basic infrastructure, medical facilities, and public transport. Reduce shipping imports and use locally manufactured resources.
By following these steps, you can build a sustainable home that will help in the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.