Having a ‘green’ home is not only about the matter of colour. It is a way of life; a way to contribute to the effort in making the planet a greener and cleaner place. Those who already own a house know what can be done, but those who are new to this matter might need a bit of help. This is where we come to the rescue. As the title indicates, we will try to help first-time homeowners to make their house more eco-friendly.
When you are buying your first house, make sure to take a good look around. If some of the things listed here are present, take it as a plus. The less you will need to remodel later, the better for you. You should check if the windows are at the sunny side of the house, for this will give you extra heat during the winter period, and you can always cover your windows up during the summer time. On the other hand, if you are building the house, proper land and surroundings are important (we will explain later why). Avoid buying barren and infertile land because getting this property ‘operational’ requires a lot of investment and effort.
First and foremost, be careful to avoid asbestos in your home. Australia ruled out this material in 2003, stating that it is too dangerous and prolonged exposure can cause severe health issues. Instead, opt for natural materials and isolators, such as stone, cellulose, bamboo, and mineral-based insulators. Stone is good for outside cladding, for it lasts very long (especially granite) and also has aesthetic value. The main advantage of bamboo over other kinds of wood is its renewability. It grows at an incredible pace, so you will not jeopardize the eco-system by using this material for the flooring in your living room.
One of the most common ways to keep your home acclimatized is via HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. In simple words, it will do all that is necessary to keep the desired temperature. By optimizing and improving this system, you may save a certain amount of money, but consider that the energy needed for this system also needs to be produced. So, saving energy is directly proportional to saving resources. Although this does not seem like a big deal, you must start somewhere. As for fuel for the HVAC system, natural gas gives out far less contagious materials than any other, so it would be wise to utilize it.
Windows and Doors
If you have leaks in your house, then it does not matter how good your HVAC is. The aim is to keep the desired temperature inside, and not to waste it by letting it slip out of the house. Modern windows are made with double- vacuumed glass and sealed with rubber to enable the least amount of air flow as possible. Of course, there is also an option for natural, wood-made elements, but those require a bit more maintenance. So, assert whichever method fits your needs better.
Many people neglect this aspect of the ‘living green’ lifestyle. In case you have good, fertile land around your house, it will be easy to plant a few trees in the vicinity. Many Sydney-based conveyancers recommend planting seasonal trees on the western and southern side of your house. This way, it will create a nice shade during months with scorching temperatures. While in the autumn and winter (when there are no leaves), the thinning trees will pass sunlight and, at least, contribute a bit to your heating system. Evergreen trees are generally not advised to be planted near a house, because they create a thick shadow throughout the whole year, creating dank and wet spots.
In general, having a green and eco-friendly house is not such a hard thing to do. All you need is a will to undergo this process, as well as the proper guideline. And who knows, perhaps your imagination will help you along the way.
Melissa Stevens, the author of this article, is an eco-friendly DIY enthusiast,
vegetarian, pet owner and mother of a cute boy.
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