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The Home of the Future: Green Building Considerations

Innovations in green home building technologies and materials are appearing at an exciting pace.

Is there a green home in your future?  Building trends suggest that there’s a good chance.  The U.S. green building sector is definitely surpassing overall construction growth.  Predictions suggest that by 2018, green building will provide 1.1 million jobs and $75.6 billion in yearly U.S. wages.

Opting for green building technologies and materials aids more than the environment.  Homeowners can benefit greatly from green residences.  They can have homes that are healthier, more water- and energy-efficient, and more durable than conventional dwellings for around the same cost.  Here are some of the different things that make up a green home that we’ll be seeing more of moving into the future.

Size and Location

Think small when it comes to home size.  An oversized house will cost more to operate than a smaller one despite the best eco-friendly building techniques.  Allocate resources in proportion to the number of residents in the home.  Also avoid building in locations known to be environmentally sensitive, such as those prone to floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes.

Energy-efficient Equipment

Select equipment with an ENERGY STAR label.  It indicates that the Environmental Protection Agency has blessed the item as energy-efficient.  This means reduced energy and cost without compromised performance.  ENERGY STAR windows are a recent concept and far surpass normal windows in energy efficiency.  An ENERGY STAR HVAC system, which requires proper installation for maximum performance, is ideal.  Adding a programmable thermostat allows you to cut 3 to 5 percent off your utility bill when you lower the thermostat 1 degree in winter and raise it 1 degree during the summer.

Proper Insulation

It’s at the top of the list of considerations in building green, since heating and cooling a structure represent half of a home’s energy consumption.  The right insulation prevents air leaks around doors, windows, and duct work and lowers utility bills.

Sustainable Materials

Utilizing environmentally friendly or eco-friendly materials shrinks the impact construction has on the environment.  Include them in roofing, building material, counters, cabinets, insulation, and flooring   Recycled plastic, or glass and reclaimed lumber are great choices.

Solar Panels

Solar energy is an essential part of green home building.  Over time, the financial return on solar panels represents significant savings.  Use them to reduce energy consumption and, in some cases, supply extra energy to the servicing power company.  Solar power also links to a number of government grants, tax breaks, and other incentives.

Efficient Water Usage

green_home2A rainwater harvesting system installed in a green home collects roof water and stores it in a tank to utilize in sprinkler systems and toilets or for other uses.  Residents don’t need to wait for water to heat when the builder has installed a tankless water heater.  It provides extra storage space, since there’s no hot water tank, and lowers energy costs.  Other green products to consider are low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets, as well as energy-saving dishwashers and washing machines.

Efficient water usage can also apply to how landscaping is performed. Strategic landscaping provides protection against direct sunlight in hot weather and permits more sunlight to enter through a home’s windows in winter.  For the most efficient results, use the southern and the western sides of a home for planting trees so that they will block direct sunlight in hot weather and allow it to heat the structure when they shed their leaves.

Green Home Building Materials

They’re an important way to make a home an extension of its residents.  Natural materials reflect how a home buyer feels about the environment, express aesthetic preferences, and set the stage for healthy living.  Among natural materials that fill the bill are stone, mud or lime plasters, glass, bricks, rammed earth or adobe, tiles, and untreated wood.  Also useful are cork, bamboo, canes, grasses, paper, and reeds.  Natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and linen work well.  Light and color are also natural elements that can soothe or stimulate.  Plants are healthy additions that release oxygen.  Some even filter pollutants from the air.

Innovations in green home building technologies and materials are appearing at an exciting pace.  Anyone interested in staying abreast should have plenty of developments to investigate as interest in this type of residential building continues to grow.

Images Via 1 & 2                                                                                       Justin Havre, is the author of this post

 

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