How to Plan Your Green Home-Building Project
When we decided to make our new home green-friendly, my wife and I were curious whether we'd be able to balance a sustainable building with a visually attractive and cohesive home plan. Although it took navigating through some obstacles, we eventually came up with a plan that featured the perfect fusion of environmental responsibility, resource efficiency and a flat-out good-looking home. We couldn’t be happier.
Green building is a very buzzed-about topic for good reason. As nonrenewable energy sources are depleted and energy costs skyrocket, homeowners pursuing green building are not only thinking for the present, but also for the future. The future of nonrenewable energy sources is bleak, so it’s best to prepare. Building a green home is far from a straightforward task, though, so the tips below are well worth keeping in mind:
Location Your House Correctly
Your house’s position to the sun is very important in regard to being as energy-efficient as possible. Make sure the main living areas in your house face south, so the maximum amount of daylight is emitted through the interior, preferably through a large wall of glass. In the spring and fall, this glass acts as a heat source, while in the summer the addition of exterior overhangs will keep rooms from getting too hot.
Look Into LEED Certification
Getting LEED certification for your home is not mandatory, but it provides a very useful basis for quality green building, with an eight-category system that covers all the nooks and crannies. These categories include water use, air quality, green materials, energy efficiency and more, which can be explored in depth here. Certification can cost anywhere from $150 (for members) to $1,050, depending on the size of the home, but it’s worth it, especially to those new to green building and concerned they aren’t covering every facet possible.
Value the Small Stuff
Yes, positioning your house relative to the sun and looking into sustainable water use are huge components of green building and your new home, but small touches matter as well. For example, low-flow showerheads, faucets and dual-flush toilets are some energy-efficient ideas for the bathroom, while choosing locally manufactured building materials can lessen the carbon footprint of your home's construction process significantly.
Other seemingly minor yet potentially significant tips are to use compact fluorescent light bulbs over standard ones, take advantage of motion detectors to cut down on outdoor lighting costs and to use power strips for electronics, since they aid in energy waste prevention. Also, do not be reluctant to purchase used equipment to aid in general landscaping. Being green-friendly means making the most of renewable materials, even if it involves machinery.
Be Patient, Because it Will All Be Worth It
Even if you’re familiar with building a home, the extra features of green building means that it may take longer than usual. The time and expense is worth it in the long run, especially if you’re heeding the tips above and wish to balance environmental responsibility, resource efficiency and an attractive design. Our home’s green-friendly layout will make us happy for many years to come and, despite the somewhat lengthy planning process, it was all well worth it.