How to Incorporate an Eco-Friendly Design into Your Custom Home
Choosing a custom home gives you the opportunity to control every aspect of the design. Not only can you choose features that will make your home more enjoyable—such as huge, walk-in closets and garden tubs—but you can also choose features that will lessen the impact that your home has on the environment. Your choices can affect the kinds of materials that are used and how much energy your home will consume.
Here are a few choices you can make to ensure that your custom home design is more
Proper insulation is key to reducing the energy consumption of your home. With good insulation, your cooling system won’t have to work as hard in the summer nor will your heating system in the winter. Your home will naturally maintain a more consistent and comfortable internal atmosphere.
The fiberglass insulation that is typically included in new home builds offers only the minimum protection. Foam insulation will greatly improve the energy efficiency of your home. You can choose from options like spray foam insulation or foam blocks.
Choosing the right insulation will reduce your home’s demand for natural resources and will help you save a lot on heating and cooling costs.
Bamboo is considered an eco-friendly material because it grows quickly. Unlike hardwoods, which require decades to grow to the length required, bamboo can grow to a usable form within just a couple of years.
Bamboo is also a beautiful material. Bamboo floors create a clean, inviting look for your home. It is also very easy to clean, and it doesn’t require constant refinishing. By choosing bamboo, you’ll increase the value of your home and reduce your home’s environmental impact.
Vinyl windows are another all-star for energy efficiency. These windows feature double and triple panes, and they have a pocket of air between them for additional insulation. You can significantly lower your heating and cooling costs just by choosing vinyl windows.
Vinyl windows are also an eco-friendly choice because they do not require frequent maintenance or replacement. You won’t have to seal, stain or paint the windows, and they will last for 50 years or more. By choosing vinyl windows, you’ll reduce the overall demand for new materials, which consume natural resources.
You have multiple eco-friendly options for your roof. Clay tile, slate, metal and foam are all excellent choices. Clay, slate and metal are all recyclable materials, so they can be reused after your roof has to be replaced. Clay, slate, metal and foam all have longer life spans than shingles. Clay and slate can last 50 years or more; metal can last about 75 years; and foam can last 100 years or more.
All of these roofing options are also eco-friendly because they are highly energy-efficient. Installing any of these roof types will help you significantly cut back on the heating and cooling demands of your home.
Just about any of the materials used to build your home can be created from recycled or reclaimed goods. You can use the wood and windows from a structure that is scheduled for demolition. You can use metal roofing panels that have been recycled from scrap. Or you can use wood that is taken from a fast-growing and easily sustained resource, such as pine or bamboo (technically a grass, but dries to the hardness of wood).
Choosing recycled and repurposed material wherever possible will reduce the demand you place on new resources.
Where you choose to build your home will have a big impact on its energy consumption, as well. For example, if the majority of your windows face south, the house will absorb more heat from the sun during the winter and won’t put as much demand on your heating system. Overhangs prevent the opposite from happening in the summer.
Using the natural landscape can also have a big impact on energy consumption. If you build your home amongst a lot of trees, you’ll keep it naturally cooler during the summer thanks to all the shade. In the winter, the trees will lose their leaves, allowing the sun to shine in and warm your home.
Your home is your personal realm. You have power over it and, therefore, power over how it affects the environment. Do your part to save the world’s natural resources and keep the earth healthy for a long time to come. Talk about these eco-friendly choices with your custom home builder and get recommendations for other ways to make your home more green.