How can your new home save money, energy and the earth? By going green, of course.
Not only will you save trees and decrease pollution when you build your home with green materials, but you can be proud of the fact that you’ll be living each day with a lighter impact on the earth. Designing your small home with close attention to detail, a creative approach and green building materials will lead to more usable space without forcing you to sacrifice your commitment to the environment. Learn what building principles to keep in mind and how to incorporate green materials in every aspect of your design before you begin your small home build.
Principles of Green Building
One important principle is your decision to build a smaller home. A house that simply meets the needs of your family instead of one that offers the “luxury” of empty halls and cavernous rooms will save energy, material and money. But while a smaller house means fewer building materials and fewer materials mean less manufacturing byproducts, you can do even better by starting your build with green products.Recycling and reusing are key elements in green building, and you’ll find that it can be fairly easy to incorporate them into your small home design. Most home designs will work well with functional wood and metal taken from an old site, and in some cases you can actually use an existing steel shipping container as the basic structure for your home. Green building requires creative thinking and attention to detail – visit junk sites, old buildings, construction sites and local classified ads and garage sales with an open mind and you’ll be well on your way to creating a unique and functional space that’s perfect for your family.
Increasing Energy Efficiency
Perhaps the first and foremost element of a green home is the way it uses energy, and the way it uses energy will largely depend on the technology you decide to incorporate. Take the home’s lighting system, for instance: lights that operate on motion sensors or time controls to make the most use of the natural daylight are the best choices, and any daylight harvesting system will significantly reduce the energy that your home consumes.
Along with recycled content and locally-produced materials, green power and on-site renewable energy sources like wind turbines, biomass or low-impact hydro systems are important parts of a green home. However, the smaller elements are just as important to ensure that your house stays green: you’ll need automatic transfer switches to make use of on-site power sources, you can substitute cables with a more efficient energy distribution system and you can incorporate specialized fuses and transformers to protect the flow of electricity and help save energy. Begin by consulting a company that specializes in sustainable electrical solutions and look into the components of a LEED home to get started on your green build.
EBuilders.com is a great online resource for all things home renovation and home building. Read our guides covering topics such as green building and electrical work to improve your handyman skills and complete better home renovation projects. This is a guest post by EBuilders.