Are you planning on building or renovating a home this year? If so, have you considered doing what you can to make it eco-friendly? Not only will making your home environmentally friendly be doing your part to help our environment but it can also cut construction time, save you money, and ensure your family lives in a healthier home. Luckily, there are many ways to make your new or already existing home eco-friendly!
Building a new home
If you’re planning on building a new home this year, your possibilities are endless!
- Start by thinking about materials. Contractors have taken great strides in using materials that last longer, sustain more damage, and can make better use of the environmental factors around the house. When picking out materials, consider these options:
- Insulated concrete frames – this insulated material will help keep unwanted air and moisture from entering your home by creating an airtight barrier. Not only does this material assist in a consistent temperature for your home but also will save you money on energy costs.
- Using smart glass for larger windows – the larger your windows, the more natural light your home will receive, thus cutting energy costs. However, many homeowners worry about windows making their house too hot in the hotter months. This is where the smart glass comes in. The glass has a translucent function built into it that allows it to block the heat in the summer and then once again becomes transparent in the winter, allowing the heat to come in.
- Choose composite shingles for the roof – plain and simple, these shingles are built to last. Unlike traditional wood and asphalt shingles, those made of composite materials guarantee to weather the damage and wear that leads to continuous maintenance costs and frustrations.
- Install solar panels – What used to be considered an anomaly has, over time, become fairly aesthetically pleasing for those who wish to become less dependent on nonrenewable energy. If you’re really looking to decrease your carbon footprint, installing solar panels is definitely a good place to start!
- Insulate your home using eco-friendly materials – Insulating your home properly will automatically help reduce energy costs, many materials used aren’t considered eco-friendly themselves. Consider having your builder use insulation that is sustainably sourced and isn’t full of toxic chemicals.
- Strongly consider how big you need your home to be. We often think about building a dream home and it automatically becomes much larger than we need it to be. Keep in mind, the larger your home is, the larger the eco-footprint your home will have. Remember that you can still have a luxury home without the square footage to maintain!
- Make certain that all of your ductwork is accurately sized and also sealed to maintain maximum efficiency.
- Consider using efficient and alternate water sources like rain barrels.
- Make sure your home is built in a direction that utilizes both the sun and wind.
If you’re renovating or looking to update your home
- Start by switching out your appliances. Making sure you have energy efficient and up-to-date appliances will be one of the quickest and most effective ways to save money on your energy bill as well as decrease your home’s energy footprint.
- Use reclaimed material. When renovating, consider looking into reclaimed materials such as wood! Not only is this an environmentally conscious choice but also keeping up with trends. Reclaimed wood is beautiful and not expected to slow in popularity anytime soon.
- Use no VOC paints. These paints have no volatile organic compounds, making them both a more environmentally friendly option and healthier for your family.
- Replace your toilets, sinks, and showerheads if they were made before 1994. They are not part of current federal standards that require them to use less water.
- Choose an alternative for your new deck. Instead of traditional hardwood, consider composite material made of repurposed wood. This is more sustainable for the environment as well as a strong choice for you. Composite decking has been proven to outlast traditional hardwood and is less likely to chip, warp or rot!
- Use high-efficiency lighting. This goes for updating the lighting both inside and outside of your home. Stick with LED bulbs and compact fluorescent floodlights. If you get plenty of sun in your yard, you can also switch out the floodlights with solar versions!
It’s also important to remember that, whether your building new or renovating what already exists, most of these ideas apply to every situation! If your family is looking to go eco-friendly throughout other aspects of your life, consider switching out your cleaning and hygiene products to those that are environmentally conscious, cut your paper products usage and wash as much laundry as you can with cold water!