BUILDING SUSTAINABLE HOMES
A sustainable home is a home that is as eco-friendly and green as it is cozy, functional, and smart to live in. This can be done and the time can be now. There’s no need to compromise comfort in order to be environmentally conscious. We can begin these changes in that one area we all have the most control over, our home. Keeping green and staying on the right side of things with the environment is easy to do when you keep the following major ideas in mind:
Use Sustainable Building Materials
Recycled or Reused: A material that has been re-processed is a recycled one. The materials which can be used as a whole are windows, doors, and floorings.
Sustainably Harvested: The prime example of a material that is sustainably harvested is wood. This means it comes from well-managed forests and that the supply chain is documented and certified.
Quickly Renewable: A good example of a sustainable material that renews quickly is Bamboo, which is used for flooring, as it is a grass, not wood.
Non Toxic and Non-Allergic: Formaldehyde and black mold are two elements often found in toxic and allergenic building materials.
Locally Sourced: Whenever possible, materials are best sourced within a roughly 100-mile radius, rather than being freighted great distances. This helps in reducing the carbon footprint.
Build Water and Energy-Efficiency into the Plans
Intelligently built green homes are not water and energy hogs, instead, they sip both resources. Water efficiency can mean collecting rainwater and reusing greywater, such as dishwasher, laundry, and sink run-off, or it can mean simple measures like installing low-flow showerheads and toilets. Energy efficiency is all about installing energy-smart appliances, insulating to the max, and installing plenty of skylights and windows in the house for increased natural light.
Emphasize Indoor Air Quality
Using sustainable building materials is the first step in ensuring Indoor Air Quality by minimizing or eliminating materials that contribute to toxins and allergens to the air. Choose paints with low Volatile Organic Compound. Pick floor coverings made of natural materials like wood for hard flooring and wool for carpeting, rather than vinyl or man-made carpet.
Green homes need to be water and energy misers. Here we have 9 ways to be energy and water efficient, implement these features when building your green home or when remodeling:
1. Purchase only appliances that are Energy Star rated.
2. Install exterior lights that have motion-activated sensors.
3. Collect rainwater in cisterns and reuse in your garden.
4. Make sure that all toilets and shower-heads are low-flow.
5. Install solar panels
6. Be aware of your home’s orientation with the sun prior to drawing up the blueprints.
7. Search for water-efficient products.
8. Line-dry clothing outside in warm weather and use drying racks indoors for cool, damp seasons. 9. Wash clothes in cold water.
Whether you have the greenest, award-winning home on the block or a house that is just trying its best, you can boost the power of your eco-friendly strategies by honestly answering these questions:
Do I need my thermostat to be this high? Could I set it down two degrees and put on a sweater instead?
Can I get rid of all of my incandescent bulbs and replace them with CFLs or LEDs?
How about letting my dishes air dry in the dishwasher? Better yet, can I do without the dishwasher?
Do I really need that 20-minute shower or can I do with a five minute one?
Do I have unused electronics plugged in that are passive energy “vampires”?
Do I have the fireplace damper open when there is no fire going?
What about buying an inexpensive insulating blanket for my water heater?
Do I have any computers running right now?
Have I caulked around my electric outlet boxes to prevent cold air from leaking around them?
Do I ever have lights on in a room when no one is there? Would I be willing to install a timer light switch to save electricity?
Here are some ways of living a sustainable life:
Try to produce as much of your own electricity as possible from photovoltaic panels and from Ground Source Heat, using pipes and a pump to draw natural heat from the earth to heat water which is then circulated for hot water and heating. Extract water from the borehole, it does not consume electricity. If you are trying to build a sustainable home, you can divert your sewage and wastewater into a bio-digester. The water that comes out from the bio-digester is very clean. Monitor and reduce the use of energy, water, and packaging wherever possible. Bring shopping home in cardboard boxes which are then re-used for fire sticks or recycled. Compost everything that is possible and use recycled products wherever they are available eg. the paper for the office, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Building a green home means using sustainable materials, improving energy and water efficiency, and taking measures to improve your indoor air quality.
Do you care about the environment? Wish to make a change? Have an idea to resolve issues? ELP is your chance.
We are excited to launch our first edition of the Ecochirp Launchpad program 2020 (ELP2020). ELP is the game-changer for all the budding enviropreneurs. It is a 12 weeks launchpad program for youth-led environmental solutions. This virtual launchpad program with weekly learning modules that includes webinars, mentoring sessions, and weekly tasks that will support you to launch your idea into a validated business plan.
Know more: https://www.ecochirp.org/events
About The Author: Riya is a pure soul, who loves to explore herself and the world around her. Writing has been magnetizing me since my early teenage years.