In the quest for energy, mankind is increasingly harming the environment. Pollution, global warming and deforestation are at an all-time high.
Consequently, lowering our individual carbon footprint is essential for the wellbeing of the planet. Change has to start from home, quite literally.
When building a new home, there are many available options that will make it green and eco-friendly while saving you money and raising your quality of living. The following are some of the benefits of building a green home.
Green homes significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, and are designed to minimize energy consumption while not sacrificing functionality. For example, an energy star home emits up to two tons of GHG less annually than an average conventional house. Up to one quarter of non-industrial waste is a direct result of home building. By utilizing recycled and reclaimed building materials, green homes minimize resource depletionand help conserve the environment. In addition, green homes are designed and built to be durable. For example, using fibre-cement instead of vinyl siding, or metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles will prolong the life expectancy of your home. This means that less material and energy will be needed for renovation and refurbishing, and as such will create less waste. In conventional housing construction, the bigger the home, the larger its carbon footprint. Green homes do their part in preserving environmentally sensitive land by doing more with less. Effective design ensures that there is a lot of functional space, and that no space is wasted, which means less impact on the environment.
Life quality and health
Many building materials and paints have toxins and air pollutants that can have an adverse effect on theoccupants’ health. Green homes improve indoor air quality by using materials and paints that are free of VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds. This means that they contain no formaldehyde or other pollutants that can impact your immune and respiratory systems. Superior ventilation helps in ensuring that you are protected from the harmful effects of chemicals and also moves unpleasant smells out of the house quickly and safely. A green home is a well-insulated home, and this makes for a comfortable living environment as there are less variations in temperature and minimal drafts. Great sound isolation is another advantage of the green home. Triple paned windows keep outside noise from entering the home and provide a stress free, quiet and serene living space.
Depending on where you live, you might be eligible for several government incentives to go green. This can include grants, property tax initiatives, utility rebates, permit fee waivers and low interest loans. Furthermore, green homes save a lot of money by using less energy and water. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels may seem like a steep initial expense, but will bring significant savings in the long run. Switching from incandescent to LED lightbulbs can cut down electricity consumption by more than 80%. Other resource-saving alternatives focus on economizing the water we use, and include low-flow showers, rainwater harvesting, and xeriscaping. Lowered operating costs also translate to a higher resale value. The average certified green home sells for over 30% more than a conventional home of the same size.
Earth friendly homes that are energy efficient and sustainable are no longer confined to science fiction and wishful thinking. They are now a viable and affordable option that is gaining growing popularity and increasingly becoming a necessity. By building green, you are not only being financially smart, but also ensuring the world is a healthier and cleaner place.
Pic via Jelena Djurdjevic is the author of this article
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