5 Steps To Sustainable House Building
A sustainable home makes the best use of natural resources and energy with a low impact on the environment. To achieve this sustainability, you need to focus on reducing waste and maintenance, increasing re-use of materials, minimizing construction costs. Here’s a list of ideas that can help steer you towards creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly home.
Build A Small Home
Smaller homes have a lower environmental impact than larger ones, even if they both have the same energy efficiency. This does not imply that you must restrict yourself to a very tiny house. With creative design ideas, you can still build a home with adequate space and have a small environmental footprint.
Small housing units allow you to lower your maintenance costs and they can fit into both rural and urban areas. To enjoy the benefits of a small home, you need to design it to suit your lifestyle. You may also use an open floor plan that will not waste precious space that will be taken up by hallways and wall partitions.
Use Eco-friendly And Reusable Materials
Virtually all sections of your home can be constructed with sustainable, eco-friendly materials, from the frame to the brickwork, to the roof and flooring. Some of the sustainable materials you should consider include:
HempCrete: This material is made from the inner hemp plant fibers and it is lighter than concrete. These fibers are bonded with lime to produce concrete-like shapes that are light and sturdy. The lighter weight of these HempCrete blocks affords you the opportunity to save on transport costs.
Bamboo: This renewable building material has been used for construction for thousands of years (especially in Asia). It is well known for its strength, durability, lightweight and rapid growth. You can use bamboo as a framing material for buildings and shelters as an alternative to concrete.
Wood: Wood is a preferred choice for many buildings today. Apart from absorbing carbon dioxide while it is still in tree form, it requires far less energy to process into framed timber or logs used to construct buildings. Wood can be used to build log homes or log cabins, which are made from logs that have not been converted into framed wood. As long as the wood is obtained from well-managed and sustainable sources, it is more eco-friendly than most industrial construction materials.
Recycled plastic: Researchers who are committed to preserving the environment have started making a new type of concrete mix that includes ground recycled plastics. Instead of stuffing up land-fills with old plastic containers, it is possible to use them to make blocks for building homes. This helps to reduce the level of CO2 emissions during cement production.
Buy Local Products
Sourcing building materials locally will eliminate the cost and the energy consumed and the associated carbon emissions while transporting the materials. When you purchase locally made building products, you will also save money since the cost of shipping will not be added to them. It is also a way to support local manufacturers and develop your community's economy.
Maximize Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
When you are constructing a new building, you have the opportunity to choose fixtures, appliances and components in a more economical way than owners of older homes. Some of the best ways to reduce the cost of energy in your home include:
Install Energy Star windows: Energy Star rated products, such as windows are certified and approved by the government just like other well-known appliances. These windows are energy efficient and they also reduce the transfer of sound into or out of the home as well as being incredibly efficient at regulating temperature, be it hot or cold.
Use a programmable thermostat: With this device, you can reduce the workload on your HVAC system, reduce heating and cooling bills and reduce the impact on the environment. During winter, for instance, you can reduce the temperature when you are out and set the thermostat to raise the temperature gradually before you return home.
Use solar energy: Plan to use this renewable energy source before you build your home. You need to position your home and design your roof to make the best of the sunlight during the day. The roof angles, landscape, and the positioning of the solar panels determine the amount of solar energy you can collect daily. You can even generate enough energy to send into the grid and get a rebate from your utility company (although this varies from country to country, so its best to consult local government for details).
Reduce Construction Costs
After you've chosen the area where you want to build your dream home, you need to work toward building your home in a cost-effective way. Learn all you can about the items that make up the total cost of construction including the cost of the building plan, obtaining approval, building materials, finishing, overheads, labor, and the home loan. You can save costs by using a stock plan, choosing green low-cost building materials and obtaining a home loan at a low interest rate.
Your home construction loan will cover the cost of the plot of land as well as the necessary funds to build on top of it. The loan will be provided in stages to your builder from foundation to completion. You need to ensure you get approval for your loan, select a reputable home loan provider or broker, review and clean up your credit history and start saving toward your loan deposit.
These are some of the most effective ways to build a sustainable home. With the growing interest in green homes across the globe, investing in a sustainable building today is a smart investment that can result in higher resale values in the foreseeable future.
Bethany Seton is a recent economics graduate from Melbourne. Before settling in an office, she decided to follow her passion for writing and traveling. Currently, she travels with her laptop and writes for various blogs, hoping one day she will gather all the experience she gets in one book.