If you’ve built a home in the last few years you probably know that green construction is a hot trend in the home building industry. Building green involves utilizing the concepts of sustainable design and recycled material. Here are other ways builders are going green.
Have your new home designed for energy efficiency. This means having windows strategically placed for maximum ventilation, sun warmth and shade. Include beautiful awnings over sun-facing windows for summer use to cut down on air conditioning. Use this time to add spectacular skylights to the interior of your home as a way to reduce electricity use.
Many building products can be recycled including lumber, which is ideal for studs. Stone and brick, as well as cement board siding, seam and stand metal rooting materials and even insulation can be recycled. Did you know that insulation made from recycled jean material makes ideal wall insulation? It’s a whole new way to look at your old Levi’s.
Design your house with rain barrels in mind. Implement barrels to catch rainwater, instead of allowing rainwater runoff. Have this water directed towards your garden and lawn area. Have your builder install low-flow toilets. Don’t forget to make the most of your gray-water. For outdoor use in the garden, you can recycle gray water from showers and sinks.
Ask your builder about installing alternative energy sources in your new home. Common systems include photovoltaic or solar electric and other self-generators, such as wind power. Include solar hot water and geothermal options for hot water, heating and cooling.
Every house will eventually be painted, so to stay with your green-theme, choose low VOC paints. Instead of using traditional paint, which is loaded with adhesives, hardeners, plasticizers, biocides, solvents and drying accelerators, (referred to as Volatile Organic Compounds), opt for a lower VOC paint choice. You can even choose green paints, which are premium-grade zero VOC paints, free of toxic biocides.
Many home builders are using eco-friendly products, such as brick, to finish homes. Brick is made from clay and although non-renewable, clay rich areas means no transportation. This method can offset the energy and emissions that would be required to transport the bricks. You can also choose reclaimed bricks. Certain companies make bricks from ash, instead of clay.
Although natural stone is beautiful, it is a nonrenewable resource. Mining stone also destroys wildlife habitats and the ecosystems, so turning to manufactured stone has become popular amongst builders.
There is the old form of plaster stucco, then there is the modern form of acrylic stucco, both offering a weather proof seal over foam insulation, drastically reducing indoor energy use. With increased durability, acrylic stucco is painted on the surface only once, as it lasts a lifetime and never requires additional painting.
Most builders will be able to tell you about the advantages of eco-friendly appliances. This can include everything from heaters to dishwashers. An energy efficient dishwasher can save up to 5,000 gallons of water a year and useds half the energy.
It is common for green builders to incorporate as many local materials as they can into a new home to avoid transportation pollution. Green builders also opt for renewable resources rather than non-renewable, helping to reduce the overall impact of processing, material disposals, fabrication and transportation.
Blog sponsored by Construction Reports
Photo courtesy of Inha