In most cases, those constructing their home for the first time only care about short term frugality. This means paying less for material, fees and construction company. However, this kind of approach is quite short-sighted.
Well, simply because there are much more important issues to focus on. Two of them are:
- getting the home you always dreamed of, and
- making it cheaper to upkeep.
Now, while saving on the construction itself may seem more cost effective, over the course of years, you are bound to make greater surplus if you use environmentally friendly trends while constructing your home.
How Much Space Do You Actually Need?
When planning your home, you need to ask yourself this –
‘How much living space do I actually need’.
Sure, in some situations it may seem the more the merrier, but from a planet friendly standpoint this is as far from the truth as it gets. More space means more resources and this ends up increasing both price of the project and numerous other expenses. This is why, more and more people opt for project homes since they can build one with optimal space-saving design while maintaining construction material quality.
Bigger rooms, or houses with a greater number of them are more expensive to heat and if you eventually decide to remodel, you will be forced to pay extra. So it is vital to be realistic about the amount of living space your new home needs to have.
You don’t need to stick to the bare minimum, but don’t exaggerate either if the only reason why you’re doing so is to brag to the Joneses’ about how big your home is.
One of the most obvious steps any eco-friendly homeowner should consider is making their home energy efficient. There are several ways to do so:
- insulation, and
- replacing your standard windows with double-pane ones.
Unfortunately, both of these projects can be quite expensive, but sometimes there is a grant to reward energy efficient home owners. While some governments provide monetary incentive, others gift you with insulation material, cheaper solar panels and LED lights. All of government assistance helps people to implement eco-friendly construction options.
By taking advantage of these green building programs, you unburden the energy grid and save money in the longer term.
Create Your Own Energy
As the cost of fossil fuels is expected to go up due to limited resources and the price of renewable energy is expected to go down as global demand increases, it is imperative to consider the benefits of producing your own energy.
Installing solar panels in sufficient numbers can help to run your entire household if you can afford it. If you can’t, consider installing retractable skylights which helps to cool your home in summer and provides day light. This is a cost effective option which helps to reduce your energy bills.
You can also install a solar water heater. This is quite a simple project actually, and it mostly consists of installing a mini solar panel with its sole purpose of heating your household water. This kind of project is inexpensive and can pay itself off in as little as two years.
On the other hand, those living in a hotter climate can even resort to installing an outdoor shower. This way, you don’t need complicated and expensive systems. This is how you get one step closer to having a zero-waste renewable household.
Avoid Costly Mistakes
Inadequate planning and lack of research can leave you unable to build a home that truly pays its debt to Mother Earth. For example, a poorly planned roof, using materials sourced globally or ignoring the plot location and orientation are serious mistakes to be avoided. Unlike lack of proper insulation, or solar planning, these mistakes can be impossible to fix later on.
This is why planning ahead is essential if you want to save time, money and the earth’s finite resources.
It’s All in the Details
Finally, once you have your house is finished, you need to understand that proper furnishing makes all the difference. Something as simple as replacing all your incandescent light bulbs with LED ones can save you quite a bit in the long-run. You see, LED has a much better Watts-to-Lumen ratio seeing how their primary function is light and not heat generation (which is often the case with standard bulbs). This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg and you can enforce this change with the rest of your appliances as well. Purchase 5 star energy rating appliances, seek out second hand furniture and decor, and install a single low-flow toilet.
All in all, every bit helps.
Creating an environmentally friendly home can save energy, water, precious non-renewable resources, AND money. If you’re going to build a new home, why not take up the challenge to make it as sustainable as possible? Sustainability is our future after all so you may as well start now.
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