How to Go About Building a house?
Contractors and builders can help with making sound environmental choices.
No time is better to think about a green home than at the beginning of the construction process. Many decisions can be made with the environment in mind. Saving resources and energy is easier now that green materials and products are readily available to the typical homeowner. Although completely green construction projects are not yet mainstream, many homeowners are already taking steps to use energy-efficient options in the construction process. Even implementing a couple of ideas can make an important impact.
Think about the size of home you need. Consider each unit of square footage to determine if it's necessary. If you have a large family, of course, several bedrooms are necessary, but if there are only a few people in the home, eliminate extra bedrooms and rooms that you don't need. Each room built uses precious resources, has to be lighted, heated and cooled and needs furnishings. If you can use one room as an office and an occasional guest room, you'll eliminate an extra room that may not be used except for a few times a year. Maybe you don't need a den and a living room but can cater the size to do double duty.
Use multiple strategies to ensure your new home is energy-efficient. Install solar panels on your roof and a solar-powered water heater to gain independence from the energy grid. If you choose an electric or gas water heater, insulate it with a blanket to save energy. Add insulation to all walls and the attic space. Make sure the house is well-sealed to prevent costly heat and air from escaping through cracks and gaps in the walls and windows. Install an energy-efficient cooling and heating system with a programmable thermostat.
Use the sunlight to your advantage. If you live in a cool climate, situate your home so that the sun will help heat rooms you'll use frequently. Likewise, in a warm climate, don't have the setting sun pouring into a room that will heat up in the afternoon, necessitating the use of an air conditioning unit. Situate the building near shade trees to help with climate control. Use double-paned windows to assist in saving energy and controlling the air temperature.
Use recyclable, recycled or sustainable materials for the construction. Bamboo comes from an easily renewed resource and is an excellent flooring product. Use wood from certified sustainable forests. Linoleum, concrete and insulation made from plant fibers are all responsible choices. Check salvage yards for recycled items such as chandeliers, light fixtures, doors and hardware. These items have an extra benefit of adding charm to your new home.
Indoor Air Quality
Implement ideas that create healthy air quality inside the home. Choose paints with low or no volatile organic compounds, which can cause health problems. Eliminate plastics in favor or natural products when you can. Synthetic carpets off-gas toxins that are unhealthy for the respiratory system. Choose natural-fiber carpets, such as wool, or stick with tile and wood floors. Install kitchen cabinetry made without formaldehyde, another toxic substance.
If possible, choose a site for your home that eliminates the need for continuous car trips. A nearby community area, convenient bus stops, shopping and schools help eliminate driving the car. Instead of cutting down trees, build the new home around trees that are already on your property, move the trees to a new site or replant a tree for every one that is cut down. A lot on a flat, natural clearing already designated for residential housing won't destroy natural vegetation or create the need for new roads or electricity.
Choose low-flow toilets and aerated shower heads for your new home to save water. Install an energy-efficient washing machine and dishwasher. Look for the Energy Star sticker when you buy to see the savings. Landscape with drought-tolerant plants and irrigate responsibility. Consult a landscape architect to determine how many sprinklers you need and how often they need to be turned on.