Thinking about buying a new home and want to be sure it’s as “green” as possible?
When you have your home custom built, by an Earth-conscious builder like Sustainable 9, you are freed up to not only make it uniquely “yours” but also to have it built in a way that is truly eco-friendly.
How you build your home will have a much bigger impact on the environment, for good or ill, than simply recycling pop cans and reusing old milk cartons and the like (as important as that is!), so it only makes sense to focus your eco-friendly activities where it will count most.
But how do you make your new home “greener?” What are some practical steps to take to ensure it has as little negative impact as possible on our environment? Well, here are 5 key strategies to that end:
Get LEED Certification
If you get a builder to build your home who can make it in such a way as to qualify for LEED certification – then you know it is eco-friendly on multiple fronts.
LEED is the most widely recognized building system that promotes energy efficient, sustainable, low environmental impact new construction.
Ask if your builder can make your home LEED compliant. If not, think about finding another builder.
Install Solar Panels!
Solar panel technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years, to the point that there are far more reasons to go solar than to not.
In short, you can drastically shave down or even eliminate your electric bill – and it’s even possible to make money off a net surplus of power put on the grid versus taken from it!
Most people are able to own their solar panels within 5 to 7 years, and they keep on saving you money for 25 years or longer. And solar panels are also a big selling point should you ever put your home on the market.
Maximize Energy Efficiency
There are many ways to max out your energy efficiency with a new home. First, the builder can “build it tight” so that conditioned air is not escaping out through numerous air leakage points.
In conjunction with that, however, an excellent ventilation system needs to be installed. Controlled ventilation means energy efficiency AND avoidance of moisture, mold, and mildew build up.
Be sure to put in an efficient HVAC system too, and to use highly efficient light bulbs and fixtures.
How you arrange the floor plan, where you put windows and which ones you install, using effective, eco-friendly insulation and use of retractable or fixed awnings will also help reduce your energy usage and bill.
Reduce Water Waste
Water waste is as big a problem as electric waste, and there are ways to reduce it to a minimum.
First, you can install low flow faucets and shower heads and a modern, efficient flush toilet that will use around 3.5 gallons per flush instead of 5 gallons.
Next, you can install a timed, automated sprinkler system for natural grass areas and your garden; and you may want to use artificial turf in some areas.
Drought-tolerant plants and collecting and utilizing rainwater are additional ideas for reducing water waste.
Recycled & Earth Friendly Materials
Anytime you can find a way to use recycled or salvaged building materials, that’s a plus for eco-friendliness.
But even where you can’t, look for materials that don’t contain harmful toxins that can leach out into the air. This is going to help your indoor air quality as well as the planet – so it’s a double win!
These are only five out of a long list of ways you can make your new home environmentally friendly. Use a building contractor who is willing to customize and is concerned himself about the environment, and you will find many other ways as well.