Building a New Home? How to Keep It Green

Reader Contribution by Megan Wild
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 Photo source: Pixabay

‘There are more and more options on the market to make your life easier when going green. Growing research shows that the choice of greener buildings is becoming more mainstream and less of an alternative choice.

Dodge Data & Analytics conducted a survey with the National Association of Home Builders in 2015, which shows that over a third of house builders are involved in green projects for over 60 percent of their clients. That also means contractors will be more willing to engage with sustainable house builds and for a more reasonable price. Let’s take a look at the most revered and well-known options available for green house building.

Location Is Still Everything

You will have heard this time and time again, so all the more reason to take heed. Avoid building a west-facing house as the sun-exposure may overheat your home and incur major air-conditioning electricity bills. Unfortunately, the elements are a serious consideration in real estate given the suspected effects of global warming, therefore do your research into any flood risk areas, hurricane or earthquake potentials within your chosen vicinity.

Green living tends to extend to how we travel and as such while you’ve probably already thought about it, do keep aware of local transport links and public transport options when building your house. Taking advantage of a train line to handle your daily commute could reduce your carbon footprint majorly as well as decreasing your travel time!

Keep It Size Appropriate

Oftentimes, right-sizing a home reduces its environmental impact — regardless of how green you make a large house, smaller homes always come up as more environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, this does not mean you need to resign yourself to a cupboard under the stairs for eternity. It means being conscious about what space is necessary and appropriate. This consciousness could actually do your interior aesthetics well in the long run. Townhomes come in all shapes and sizes, for example, and new townhomes generally are greener in the building process because you can choose eco-friendly materials or discuss with your contractor how to tailor it exactly to your needs.

Recycle Right

We all enjoy a bargain and what could be better than a bargain that’s good for the environment? If you’re in it for the hunt, visit car trunk sales, auctions and even dumps to pick up reclaimed wood, recycled glass and soda cans to use in counter tops. If you prefer it ready-made, there are many recycling craftspeople out there.

When it comes to insulation, be sure to source it from recycled materials, e.g., clothing scraps or newspapers. While this will increase your initial costs for brand new insulation, over time you rake in the savings by effective insulation keeping energy bills low!

Play It Cool With That Roof

Research scientists and teams of experts have discovered that similar to how wearing white on a summer’s day keeps you cool, painting your roof with a reflective coat keeps your home cooler and saves on air-conditioning bills!

Asphalt dark roofs typically reach up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun on a summer’s day — even if it’s only 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the atmosphere. A simple coating could bring down that heat by 50 degrees. This would also help decrease the severity of an urban heat island.

Photo credit: Burst

Water is King

Water is one of the scarcest resources on our planet, and luckily home builders in developed countries are also more and more aware of their own personal water consumption and the effects of careless waste. Building your house is an important opportunity to prevent water wastage through fixtures and appliances which conserve water. Think low flow faucet aerators and Energy Star rated products.

While there are incentives for engaging in LEED certification, building a green home will not only save you money in the long run, it is also a thoroughly rewarding opportunity to ensure you’re contributing to our world’s sustainability. There are excellent resources out there for green home building, with a vast range of suggestions to make your life easier when going green, so get involved and enjoy it!

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