Your Green Dream Home
Building an eco-friendly home is a trend everyone knows about, but it can feel hard to put it into practice. Building codes are complicated and can get in the way of your solutions - and so often you’ll hear that it’s so very expensive to be convenient and eco-friendly.
But if you want to go green, don’t go resigning yourself to living out of a camper van just yet. There’s a lot of ways you can balance affordability with sustainability - and some energy-saving measures that will save you thousands on utilities in the long run.
So if getting a house built is on your agenda, here’s what you’ll need to consider in reducing the footprint of your dream home.
The Right Materials
This is the big one. Just a simple change in what you decide to build your house with can make a huge impact on heating and cooling. Insulation is one of the most critical factors - many homes are built from cheap and ineffective insulation, driving up the costs it takes to keep the temperature comfortable.
Traditional options include using forms of straw or wool as your primary insulation. For thousands of years this has been the go-to for people across the globe, and with modern design, we can make it even more effective. Plus, it’s about as environment-friendly as you get, easily taken and repurposed or recycled.
If you’re looking for a more futuristic approach, you might instead want to go with plant-based rigid foam. A fairly new material made as a biodegradable alternative to the foams found in surfboards, this all-natural material is great at regulating temperature while being simple to handle and install.
Location, Location, Location
Where you decide to put your house down is often a tricky one - many just take what they can get, especially where real estate is expensive.
It may seem obvious that you should avoid areas that are at high risk of flooding or earthquakes, but it bears seriously keeping that in mind and always looking at your local disaster risk maps and taking this into consideration.
But for the day to day, you’ll also want your home to be close to all the economic activity. Real estate that’s within cycling distance of somewhere to buy groceries opens up a wealth of opportunities to save on gas while still getting out and taking care of errands.
Using Your Space Wisely
When you’re designing the rooms within and the space without, give serious consideration to how much you’re going to use your planned locations.
Inside the house, a lot of old standbys like home theaters are increasingly going unused - but you’ll still be paying to keep them the right temperature. Well laid out open concept spaces are easier on your air conditioning bills while keeping the number of extra unused rooms to a minimum.
Outside features are especially important to show some restraint with. Popular ideas include an outdoor kitchen complete with personal pizza ovens by the poolside. These installations can wind up even more expensive than an indoor kitchen, and they’re prone to being used only a handful of times before being neglected for months and months.
Even the size of your lawn should be limited to that which you’ll actually use. The bigger the lawn, the more water and fertilizer goes into maintenance - especially if you have to deal with an HOA!
The Bigger Picture
There’s no reason to believe that your house can’t be a perfect sanctuary while also being green. A few simple choices that don’t fundamentally sacrifice comfort can go a long way in improving the sustainability of your home. Eco-friendly insulation is both easier to recycle and more effective. A thoughtful location means your home’s position saves you money on gas and reduces risks of disaster. And a smart floor plan that eliminates excessive space or needlessly lavish outdoor features.
Not only will you take comfort in reducing toxic materials in your house, but you’ll also find it economic long-term. And it’ll be quite a catch on the market should you decide to move!