A home is considered sustainable if it has the lowest possible negative impact on the surrounding natural environment. It means conserving energy, avoiding the release of toxins into the environment, and making responsible use of materials and resources, all while having a beneficial effect, both physically and mentally, on the people who live there.
It is important not only what we build but also how we construct it. As a result, constructing a house with sustainability in mind ought to be the norm for a house built in the twenty-first century. In this piece, we'll go over some basic principles for creating a green home. Building homes that are friendly to the environment will, in the long run, save you money and reduce the amount of damage you do to the environment. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about some ideas for constructing a home that's good for the environment!
FAQs About Home Design
Dome-shaped homes are the most energy-efficient since they have fewer corners. In addition, this allows wind to travel over the home easily without air pressure changes, which reduces air penetration and thus maintains a more even temperature. Cube-shaped homes are another good option.
A true eco-friendly home features environmentally cautious features within its design, construction, siting, operation and maintenance. And although there are a ton of ways you can help make your house eco-friendly, the seven most common features include Rainwater storage. Solar power.
A green home has a water-conserving irrigation system and water-efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Look for a rainwater collection and storage system. There should be plenty of natural light and ventilation.
A sphere. It has the smallest ratio of Surface/volume. Since heat is dissipated by radiation or contact and both, depending on the outside surface. Sticking with normal 3D geometry, that would be a sphere, as it is the shape that minimises surface area to volume, and you can only lose heat from the surface of an object.
The triangle is the strongest as it holds its shape and has a strong base and support. Therefore, the triangle is common in building supports and trusses.
Location For A Sustainable Home Design
The first step in building a house that is environmentally friendly is to select a site. Take into account the following concerns whenever you can.
Transportation: If you want to have less of an impact on the environment, you should construct your home so that it is within walking distance of public transportation.
Infrastructure: The degree to which utilities and other forms of infrastructure are available will vary. If you are able to make use of the infrastructure that already exists, you will have accomplished a significant step towards lowering your overall impact on the environment.
Sensitive Or Hazardous Sites: It is best to steer clear of potentially dangerous areas such as flood zones. If you decide to build on a hazardous site, you need to ensure that the home can withstand the dangers that are present there. Can you think of something that isn't green? Constructing your home in two stages.
Size; Smaller Houses Are More Efficient
Despite the fact that not everyone who is interested in environmentally friendly home design will choose to go this route, houses that are noticeably smaller are noticeably more energy efficient. Building a home with less square footage will cut down on the amount of building materials and energy required. A larger home will require more energy for heating and cooling, as well as more materials, because of its size. Consider what you actually require, and make an effort to keep the size of your house in proportion to that. Houses that are naturally more efficient and produce less waste are smaller in size.
Orientation Of Your House For Natural Light And Heat
It is essential for environmentally friendly homes to have proper orientation. You can take advantage of the sun even if you live in a cold climate by positioning more of your windows so that they face south. The Northern Hemisphere is home to colder climates. In the winter, if you construct a long wall with windows facing south, you will receive the maximum amount of sunlight possible.
It will allow natural light to enter your home while also assisting in the heating of your property. However, you should avoid having many windows facing west, as this will lead to excessive glare and heat gain during the summer months. If your home has windows that face west, you might want to think about planting a large tree to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters your home through those windows.
You can further reduce your energy costs by planting deciduous trees in front of the south-facing windows in your home. The term "deciduous" refers to the fact that the tree sheds its leaves each fall. During the summer, the tree's leaves will be present to act as a shade, but during the winter, the tree will be bare, allowing more light to penetrate. It will help cut down on the amount of heat you use.
Shades and overhangs on roofs are two additional tactics that can be utilised. The capacity of a roof overhang to shield a room from direct sunlight increases during the warmer months due to the sun's position in the sky, which is higher in the summer than it is in the winter. Because of this, the sun will be at a lower angle in the winter, and as a result, the overhang will not be able to block it. These elements of passive design have the potential to make a significant impact on sustainability at relatively low cost.
Layout Affects Energy Use In A Home
Did you know that igloos are among the most environmentally friendly housing options? Igloos are constructed in arctic regions with a form that allows for the least amount of surface area possible. The smaller surface area results in less heat being lost within the building.
Building an outhouse that is very wide and spread out will result in more heat loss and less efficiency than building a house that is more compact. It's possible that building taller will result in greater efficiency than building wider.
The most space-efficient shapes are cubes and spheres, respectively. In the design of sustainable homes, compromises are an inevitable part of the process. On the other hand, you shouldn't feel obligated to give your house the appearance of an igloo unless you really want to! The premise of this argument is that a design that takes up less space is preferable to one that does not.
A one-story home with a lot of open space is going to be less efficient than a compact home with two stories. If you want to construct a house that is 2,000 square feet in size, for instance, it is likely to be more cost-effective to construct a home that is two stories tall and each story is 1,000 square feet in size than it is to construct a home that is 2,000 square feet in size.
Use Local Materials For A Sustainable House
Your new environmentally friendly home will require less shipping if you construct it from materials sourced locally. It is better for the environment to purchase locally milled wood as opposed to placing an order for it from across the country. However, it is difficult because depending on where you are located, you might not have as many choices available to you. Where you choose to build your house will have a significant impact on the kinds of materials that are available to you.
Why not use stone from a nearby stone quarry for your patio if there is a quarry nearby? Additionally, investigate the availability of products and materials made in the vicinity. For instance, if you live in Pennsylvania, we advise you to purchase kitchen cabinets from a local retailer rather than importing designer cabinets from Europe. It is significantly more environmentally friendly, and you may even find that products sold by small local businesses are of higher quality.
Recycled Materials For Sustainable House Construction
Recycling is a very significant practise. It will be necessary to strike a balance with the available resources. The types of materials that are easily accessible will change depending on where you are. The terms "recycling," "reclaiming," and "reusing" can refer to a wide variety of different materials. When you are designing and constructing your eco-friendly home, you may want to consider using some of the following recycled products and materials:
- Glass from recycled bottles can be repurposed into countertops, and steel originates from scrap metal.
- Recycled or Reclaimed Wood It has the potential to be lovely! The old wood products that are salvaged during the demolition of a building or the renovation of that building can frequently be repurposed for use in other construction endeavours by the contractor. There are lumber yards out there that concentrate solely on the buying and selling of reclaimed wood.
- Bricks and other types of masonry have been reclaimed. In addition to bricks, stones, and pavers, one can reclaim and reuse pavers.
- Reuse the excavated soils in the new landscaping that will be created.
- Shingles for roofs can be made with recycled materials.
- Products made of plastic that contain recycled material.
- Materials pertaining to drywall that are recyclable.
Almost every item in your brand-new house could have been constructed using recycled materials.
You can also cut down on waste at the construction site by requiring the contractor to recycle the materials that are discarded during the building process.
Insulation Is Essential For Sustainable Homes
Insulation is a significant factor. Check out another article that we have written about the use of spray insulation in newly constructed homes. The first order of business is vocabulary. R-value is a term that is utilised in the process of evaluating the insulation value. R-value = Resistance A higher R-value indicates a greater amount of insulation. You will want to check that the R-value of your house is adequate for the environment in which you live.
Insulation can be done in a variety of ways, and there are many different types. When we are designing a home for a client, we go over all of their available options with them. It is helpful, in my opinion, to provide an overview of the significance of insulation and the various options that are available.
Insulating your home properly is the most important thing you can do to ensure that warm air stays in during the winter and cool air stays in during the summer. Insulation for newly constructed homes is essential. If there are energy codes in effect in your region, you are required to at least meet the minimum requirements for insulation. When we build homes that are environmentally friendly or sustainable, our company typically exceeds the insulation standards that are required by code.
One of the most important things that can be done to make a house more energy efficient is to insulate it well. The cost of your energy bill and the amount of energy used for heating and cooling accounts for the largest percentage. The more effective your insulation is, the lower your overall energy consumption will be.
Air Sealing For Energy Efficient Home Design
Insulation is not complete without air sealing, also referred to as draught stopping. It is one of the less well-known ideas for making a home more energy-efficient, and it is also one that people frequently overlook. The process of air sealing stops air from escaping through cracks and gaps in your home. You need to check to see that the air that has been conditioned in your home is not escaping.
What is the point of installing so much insulation if your walls are riddled with holes and fissures through which cold air can enter?
All of the openings and penetrations in your roofs and walls need to be sealed in order to prevent air and water leakage.
It encompasses holes and penetrations in the form of windows, doors, vents, electrical conduits, and other openings. Each of these needs to be adequately sealed using caulking or one of the other methods.
Insulation spray with closed cells is a product that we frequently recommend. In addition to providing insulation, it also expands to fill in and seal any openings, cracks, or small holes in the structure. It is one aspect where the importance of quality construction cannot be overstated. Utilizing reliable construction contractors is absolutely necessary when constructing environmentally friendly homes.
The effectiveness of a home's air sealing can be evaluated using a blower door test. The purpose of this test is to determine whether or not your home is leaking air and, if so, how.
Window And Door Selection For Energy Reduction
You are required to instal energy-efficient doors and windows. They have to have the appropriate weather stripping installed so that the elements are kept out. To successfully close and seal the gap, they must do so with sufficient force.
The insulation value of the material as well as the type of glass used is also very important. Windows and doors cost a lot of money, so you need to make sure that they won't end up costing you even more money in the long run because they aren't energy efficient. Additionally susceptible to air leakage are a building's windows and doors.
Check to see that these areas have adequate air sealing all around them. You don't want to spend money on high-quality windows only to have them installed improperly.
In my opinion, windows with two panes are the bare minimum that should be installed, but having three panes is preferable.
Sustainable House Materials
We want to make sure that the materials we use don't emit any volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. The use of paints and glues with low volatile organic compound (VOC) content is a couple of examples.
Make use of materials that have already been recycled or can be recycled again in the future. Utilizing local resources is a good first step towards achieving sustainability.
There are many renewable and certified sustainable materials found in nature, such as wood, which is an example of one of these materials. In addition to this, you need to make sure that the materials you select are long-lasting! To continually replace materials every few years is not a sustainable practise.
Energy Star Appliances & Equipment
The most straightforward approach to implementing these ideas for energy efficiency in the home is to do so through the use of equipment and appliances that are energy-efficient. Use only appliances that have earned the Energy Star rating as a bare minimum requirement.
This article is being written on a computer monitor that has been awarded the Energy Star rating. Did you know that there is such a thing as an Energy Star TV? Keep an eye out for the Energy Star label because the appliances in your kitchen can consume a significant amount of energy. The heating, air conditioning, and water heating systems in your home should all have the Energy Star rating.
Led Lighting For Energy Efficient Home Design
As a component of environmentally responsible and energy-saving home design, LED lights are quickly becoming the norm. They are considered standard in our projects. Every one of our customers is interested in LED lights. Because they consume less power, your overall energy costs will go down, and you won't have to worry about replacing the bulbs for a good many years.
Although the upfront cost might be slightly higher, just think of the money you'll save on electricity and how much less often you'll have to replace the bulbs! It is simple to incorporate energy-efficient lighting into a home that prioritises sustainability.
By the way, LED stands for Light Emitting Diode; these are the best option for energy-efficient lighting and for designing houses that are energy-efficient.
Water Conserving Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures, such as toilets and other fixtures, have evolved significantly over the years. Dual flush toilets allow the user to choose either a slower or faster rate of water removal from the bowl.
The amount of water that is used by each of your plumbing fixtures, including faucets and showerheads, can be lowered or reduced. These fittings are quickly gaining a lot of popularity. You won't have any trouble locating plumbing fixtures that have lower flow rates for the water they consume. Being wasteful is not required at any point.
Efficient HVAC Design For A Sustainable House
The abbreviation HVAC refers to "heating, ventilation, and air conditioning."
Your home's heating and cooling system will almost always account for the majority of its total energy consumption. Because of this, you will want to make use of a system that is both effective and well-designed. Because heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) account for such a large portion of your overall energy consumption, choosing the appropriate products and systems is essential to the design of an energy-efficient home. The following are some choices that may be of assistance to you:
Utilizing a smart thermostat is one of the most straightforward recommendations for creating a more sustainable home. Your smart thermostat can learn your habits and adjust itself to provide you with the optimal level of comfort while simultaneously lowering the amount of energy it uses.
Zones: We have a strong preference for zones. Have you ever shared a home with someone who prefers it warmer, despite the fact that you prefer it cooler? If you divide the house up into zones, you'll have the ability to set different temperatures in each individual room. Additionally, you do not have to run the heating and air conditioning system in rooms that are not frequently used, such as the basement or the laundry room.
Equipment that is Efficient No matter how you decide to design the system, you need to make sure that the equipment is both energy efficient and installed correctly.
The Mini-Split System: The ability of mini-split heating and air conditioning units to control a home's temperature in distinct zones has contributed to their widespread adoption in recent years.
These systems consist of a condenser located outside the home and at least one unit placed inside the home, one for each room. Learn more about ductless mini splits and the energy-saving advantages they offer by perusing the information on energy-saving mini-splits that is provided by the Department of Energy.
Recycle Your Energy With An ERV
Put in an Energy Recovery Ventilator, also known as an ERV. If your home already has exhaust fans and ducts, for example in the bathroom, the ERV can use the heat from the exhaust to either pre-heat or pre-cool the air that is brought into your home. In order to cut down on the amount of energy that your HVAC system consumes, you can use an ERV to either pre-heat the air during the winter or pre-cool the air during the summer. You don't need to be concerned because it doesn't combine the exhaust air with the fresh air! The heat from the exhaust is all that is utilised.
Why should all of that collected rainwater be wasted? Put in water-collecting gutters and downspouts on the roof so that the water can be used again later. This water can be used to water the garden as well as flush the toilets in your home. If it has been filtered and purified, you may even be able to drink rainwater, although this will depend on where you live.
The use of collected rainwater for gardening and irrigation is by far the most common application of this practise. A concrete underground detention tank could be used to store the water, along with a pump to keep the water moving through the tank. Sustainable housing requires a sophisticated approach to the management of water.
Solar Hot Water Or Tankless Hot Water
A system that heats water by utilising the sun is referred to as solar hot water. It has the capability of heating your water and can be installed on your roof. Solar water heating can be broken down into two primary categories. The passive system does not have pumps, in contrast to the active system which does. Your energy costs will go down, and it's a great feature to have in homes that are designed to be energy efficient.
If you don't want to use solar energy to heat your water, you can also choose to use tankless water heaters or instant hot water as an alternative. Because these require less energy to operate and can reach the desired temperature almost immediately, you won't have to wait for the water in the shower to get hot before getting in.
Build To Last For Sustainable Homes
Created with Durability in Mind! This point cannot be emphasised enough by me. If you want to build a house that can withstand the test of time, you have to construct it properly. Durability is a crucial component of environmentally friendly housing. It is not a sustainable situation if your house is constantly in need of repairs. It is not a sustainable practise for your roof to require repair or replacement every six years. Make sure that your house is built to last! The quality of the craftsmanship ought to be such that it can withstand the test of time and of toil. Construct using materials that require little in the way of upkeep. Construct using your brainpower.
If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes and you construct a deck out of recycled wood, and then the deck is destroyed by the hurricane, then the project was not sustainable. The deck should not be constructed, but if it is, it should be constructed with the appropriate hurricane ties and strapping, and it should be constructed out of wood so that it can withstand the elements. Following Superstorm Sandy's devastation, several homes in New York were torn down and rebuilt, but this time they were constructed of concrete to better withstand future storms. Construct a house that satisfies your requirements with regard to the environment and the climate, and do so skilfully.
When you live in your house, give it the care it deserves, and then design it so that it takes care of you. You will not be able to design a home that is environmentally friendly if you do not give careful attention to the materials and methods of building it to be durable. For this reason, it is imperative to employ construction methods and materials that are long-lasting.
A house is said to be sustainable if it has the least amount of an adverse impact on the natural environment that surrounds it as is humanly possible. This entails not releasing any toxic substances into the atmosphere, limiting the amount of waste produced, and making efficient use of all available resources and materials. Investing in environmentally responsible home construction will, in the long run, save you money and cut down on the amount of damage you inflict on the surrounding natural environment. Houses with smaller square footage are by their very nature more energy efficient and generate less waste. Building a house with a smaller footprint will require less wood, concrete, and electricity than constructing a home with a larger footprint.
If you live in an area that experiences a colder climate than others, you can still reap the benefits of the sun by orienting more of your windows towards the south. You should seriously consider growing a sizable tree in your yard if your house has any windows that face to the west. Because the sun is higher in the sky during the summer months, the ability of a roof overhang to protect a room from the sun's rays is enhanced. Igloos are traditionally built in arctic regions with a shape that maximises the amount of interior volume while minimising the amount of exterior surface area. There is a possibility that constructing buildings that are taller will result in greater efficiency than constructing buildings that are wider.
Cubes and spheres, in that order, are the shapes that make the most efficient use of space. Construction of environmentally friendly homes using recycled materials. Recycling is an extremely important method to implement. It will be necessary to find a happy medium with the resources that are at one's disposal. Depending on where you are, different kinds of resources may be readily available to you at different times.
You might want to take into consideration making use of some of the recycled products and materials listed below when you are planning out the design and construction of your eco-friendly home. Insulation can be achieved through a variety of methods, and it can take on a number of distinct forms. Your overall energy consumption will be reduced in direct proportion to the efficiency of your home's insulation. You are required to meet the minimum requirements for insulation if there are energy codes in effect in your region and you want to sell your home. You can further reduce the amount of waste produced at the construction site by mandating that the general contractor recycle any materials that are thrown away during the course of the building process.
Air sealing, also known as draught stopping, is an essential step in the insulation process that cannot be skipped. It is one of the less well-known ideas for making a home more energy efficient, but it is definitely worth considering. The process of air sealing prevents air from leaking out of your home through crevices and holes in the structure. Windows and doors are expensive, so you need to make sure that installing them won't end up costing you even more money than you originally anticipated. Materials for Sustainable Construction: It is important to us that the materials we work with do not give off any volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs.
For instance, one could make use of paints and glues that have a low volatile organic compound (VOC) content. Make use of materials that have been recycled in the past or that have the potential to be recycled once more in the future. Appliances and equipment that have earned the Energy Star. As a bare minimum requirement, you should only utilise home appliances that have been awarded the Energy Star rating. You are able to cut down or lessen the amount of water that is used by each of your plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, by adjusting the settings on them.
The user of a toilet equipped with a dual flush mechanism has the option of selecting either a slower or a faster rate of water removal from the bowl. You can teach a smart thermostat your preferences, and it will adjust itself to provide you with the highest possible level of comfort while at the same time reducing the amount of energy it consumes. The air that is brought into your home by energy recovery ventilators, also known as ERVs, can be pre-heated or cooled. The use of solar energy to heat water can be divided primarily into two different types. A sophisticated approach to water management is required in order to achieve sustainable housing goals.
The collection of rainwater for the purpose of using it in gardening and irrigation is by far the most common application of this method. If you don't want to heat your water with solar energy, you also have the option of using tankless water heaters or instant hot water as a backup plan in case you run out of solar power. Housing that is more conscious of its impact on the environment should prioritise durability. If your house is constantly in need of repairs, this is not a situation that can be maintained for very long. Due to this fact, it is absolutely necessary to make use of methods of construction and materials that are long-lasting.
- The first step in building a house that is environmentally friendly is to select a site.
- Constructing your home in two stages.
- Consider what you actually require, and make an effort to keep the size of your house in proportion to that.
- Houses that are naturally more efficient and produce less waste are smaller in size.
- If your home has windows that face west, you might want to think about planting a large tree to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters your home through those windows.
- You can further reduce your energy costs by planting deciduous trees in front of the south-facing windows in your home.
- If you want to construct a house that is 2,000 square feet in size, for instance, it is likely to be more cost-effective to construct a home that is two stories tall and each story is 1,000 square feet in size than it is to construct a home that is 2,000 square feet in size.
- Your new environmentally friendly home will require less shipping if you construct it from materials sourced locally.
- Where you choose to build your house will have a significant impact on the kinds of materials that are available to you.
- Additionally, investigate the availability of products and materials made in the vicinity.
- When you are designing and constructing your eco-friendly home, you may want to consider using some of the following recycled products and materials:
- There are lumber yards out there that concentrate solely on the buying and selling of reclaimed wood.
- Almost every item in your brand-new house could have been constructed using recycled materials.
- You will want to check that the R-value of your house is adequate for the environment in which you live.
- The process of air sealing stops air from escaping through cracks and gaps in your home.
- All of the openings and penetrations in your roofs and walls need to be sealed in order to prevent air and water leakage.
- The effectiveness of a home's air sealing can be evaluated using a blower door test.
- You are required to instal energy-efficient doors and windows.
- The insulation value of the material as well as the type of glass used is also very important.
- Additionally susceptible to air leakage are a building's windows and doors.
- Check to see that these areas have adequate air sealing all around them.
- You don't want to spend money on high-quality windows only to have them installed improperly.
- The most straightforward approach to implementing these ideas for energy efficiency in the home is to do so through the use of equipment and appliances that are energy-efficient.
- Use only appliances that have earned the Energy Star rating as a bare minimum requirement.
- Every one of our customers is interested in LED lights.
- It is simple to incorporate energy-efficient lighting into a home that prioritises sustainability.
- "Your home's heating and cooling system will almost always account for the majority of its total energy consumption.
- Because heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) account for such a large portion of your overall energy consumption, choosing the appropriate products and systems is essential to the design of an energy-efficient home.
- If you divide the house up into zones, you'll have the ability to set different temperatures in each individual room.
- Equipment that is Efficient No matter how you decide to design the system, you need to make sure that the equipment is both energy efficient and installed correctly.
- The ability of mini-split heating and air conditioning units to control a home's temperature in distinct zones has contributed to their widespread adoption in recent years.
- Sustainable housing requires a sophisticated approach to the management of water.
- A system that heats water by utilising the sun is referred to as solar hot water.
- It has the capability of heating your water and can be installed on your roof.
- If you don't want to use solar energy to heat your water, you can also choose to use tankless water heaters or instant hot water as an alternative.
- If you want to build a house that can withstand the test of time, you have to construct it properly.
- Durability is a crucial component of environmentally friendly housing.
- It is not a sustainable situation if your house is constantly in need of repairs.
- Make sure that your house is built to last!
- Construct using your brainpower.
- Construct a house that satisfies your requirements with regard to the environment and the climate, and do so skilfully.