Building a new home based on the concepts of sustainable design? Consider the following six green home design ideas.
1. Building smaller
No matter how green your planning may be, a large home will not have the same energy efficient and eco-friendly profile. That doesn’t mean you should restrict yourself in terms of size, however; instead, be more thoughtful about the space that is available to you.
Planning your home with your lifestyle in mind is a good start when following the foundations of sustainable design. For cost effective and manageable construction, think of the investment of square footage, assigning space not only where you want it, but more importantly where you think you will need it the most.
Think twice about expansion, especially if you have no specific need to make an area bigger. A smaller home will be much easier to clean and maintain, so that is a plus as well.
2. Choosing solar energy
The sun is the best source of low cost, clean energy, and any system built around it will likely be around even long after we’ve passed. If you are building a home from scratch, you have a good chance to plan for the use of solar energy within your property whenever you can.
By making this technology native to your new green home, you can take advantage of the geography and light levels within your property in the most efficient way. How you position your home on your lot will greatly affect how much you can use your solar panels, as well as the amount of power you can collect.
You will need to work on cleaning your solar setup regularly to keep it working at top capacity, so consider that as well when positioning it. If you are able to create more than enough energy for your own use with your setup, you can even sell energy back to your local utility company. If you don’t think this is a good incentive, there are also ways you can get tax breaks, grants, and more for your use of solar power.
3. Designing a sustainable roof
The material you choose for building your roof can make or break the energy efficiency of your home. For a truly sustainable home that incurs minimal energy costs, build a green roof using a product that can reflect sunlight away from it, that can cool your home better at night, and that can hold less heat overall.
Slate, white tiles, terra cotta, metal roofing, and special membranes are great choices for sustainable roofing. Though building a roof using these green materials may seem more expensive than using non-green ones, you will most likely end up recouping these initial costs with great energy savings in the long term.
You can also build a living roof over your new home. A well-designed living roof can let you grow plants and herbs for food and medicine and catch and filter rainwater for your kitchen and bathrooms, while at the same time insulating your home.
4. Harnessing geothermal power
Installing your own geothermal system can be a rather substantial investment, but this sustainable design feature leaves you with plenty of clean and efficient energy to cool and heat your home.
The ground itself will become a heat sink when it comes to geothermal energy. In the winter, heat moves from underground and up to your home’s HVAC system, while in the summer, the system takes heat from your home, dissipating it into the ground, much like how a heat pump works.
5. Using recycled building materials
Did you know that your old and outgrown denim jeans and wool sweaters are finding new lives and being integrated into walls as insulation material? When it comes to home construction, reclaimed wood, recycled glass, recycled aluminum, recycled plastic, and even recycled soda cans are some of the best and most versatile materials you can use.
Making use of these products and supporting companies that repurpose rubbish items into eco-friendly building materials lets you build a strong and sturdy home while at the same time helping minimise your environmental impact and redirecting the waste that would have otherwise crowded out landfills or polluted oceans.
6. Prioritising sustainable materials
When building a new home, flooring is one of the areas where the products used in construction can be both environmentally friendly as well as highly adaptable with regards to climate control and insulation. Wood is a renewable resource as long as you purchase it from a supplier who sources their products from sustainably managed forests.
Home building in the age of eco-consciousness and sustainable design
Following sustainable design concepts and using eco-friendly building materials when building your new home not only reduces the impact of your new home on the environment, it also gives you more freedom to experiment with design that highlights function, innovation, and technology—unmistakable delights brought about by the modern sustainability-oriented world.
Feature image credit: Bee Home Plan