Learn how to make your kit home green using these helpful green building tips.
How to Make Your Kit Home Green
The best ways to "green" any kit home are to design and orient the home for maximum passive-solar heat gain, and to incorporate large south-facing windows and plenty of thermal mass such as concrete or ceramic tile floors, which store heat. (See "Build a Solar Home," August/September 2002.)
To complete your "green" design, choose environmentally friendly and energy-efficient building materials.
• For wood-frame kit homes, find dealers who use wood from sustainably managed forests.
• Insulate, insulate, insulate! For the best energy efficiency, select the proper R-value for your region, and insulate ceilings, walls and floors well. Weatherstrip and caulk around windows, and seal all cracks and crevices. Many green builders choose cellulose insulation, made from recycled newsprint and boric acid, but other "green" options, such as cotton and wool batts, are now available. (For more information, read "All About Insulation," December/January 2003.)
• Install double- or triple-pane windows with high-performance glass to save energy and cut your heating and cooling costs.
• Use low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes to minimize offgassing and to ensure better indoor air quality.
• Consider natural roofing alternatives, such as slate or tile, or high-tech shingles made with recycled materials. US Century's FIexShake is made primarily from recycled waste tires and carries a 50-year warranty.
• Feed your home's energy needs with power from photovoltaics, wind generators and microhydro systems. Heat it with renewable sources — solar, wood, pellet, corn, biodiesel or geothermal.