Building a green home is good not only for you, but also for the environment. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes during the process of building an environmentally friendly home. To help you avoid common mistakes, let’s look at five things you need to take into consideration when building your new home.
The Right Location
When buying your property, first of all, consider if the location will be good for a solar system. A solar system needs plenty of sunshine, and to face south. Also, avoid building in areas prone to earthquakes, floods or hurricanes. A land surveying firm can help you determine if the property is appropriate for your needs. Likewise, you may want to look into a phase one environmental assessment before committing to a property.
Solar panels may be expensive, but the long-term savings are significant. However, government tax incentives and rebates can offset much of the cost. A solar system will keep your home going strong through a grid-down blackout, while all the other homes in your neighborhood are down. The location and orientation of your home will determine how much solar power your system can collect.
Recycled Building Materials
Nowadays, recycled building materials are readily available. Reusing materials such as doors, windows, tile, and wood floors will not only save environmental resources, it will also give your new home a unique character. Likewise, recycled lumber or steel can be used to frame your house.
Choosing the right insulation for your home will reduce future energy costs by as much as 30 percent. For decades, most homes have used fiberglass insulation. However, today there are eco-friendly options that are healthier for both you and the earth. Recycled cotton, cork, cellulose, and even sheep’s wool insulation are available. These products are either made from recycled material or from renewable sources.
Energy Efficient Appliances and Lighting
One thing you won’t want to recycle is your appliances; older appliances are usually not very energy efficient. Energy Star appliances are considered energy efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency. While they may be more expensive, these appliances will save you energy, which is important whether you are on solar or on the grid. You should also use energy-efficient LED lighting. LEDs take only 10% of the energy needed by ordinary bulbs.
These are just five of the basic things you should do when building a green home. There’s a lot more to consider, such as your landscaping, rainwater harvesting, and more, but following these tips will give you a solid base to start planning your green home.
Anita Ginsburg, the author, is a Freelance Writer