Building your own green home has become a necessity today and not just an option. As more people appreciate the environment more, the demand for green homes has also increased.
On this page we will learn more about green homes and how to build your own green home.
Building Your Dream Green Home
Building a green home from the ground up gives you the perfect opportunity to do everything the right way from the very beginning. This can even include large-scale projects, such as adding on a second floor or building an addition.
Keeping green and staying on the right side of things with the environment is easy to do when you keep three major ideas in mind:
Use Sustainable Building Materials
In the context of green homes, sustainable is a catch-all term that experts generally agree with hits as many of these points as possible:
Recycled or Reused: A recycled material has been reprocessed, such as turning rubber tires into flooring. Reused materials are used whole (but usually with fixes), such as windows, doors, and flooring.
Sustainably Harvested: Wood is the prime example of a material that is sustainably harvested. This means it comes from well-managed forests and that the supply chain is documented and certified.
Quickly Renewable: Bamboo, mainly used for flooring, is a good example of a sustainable material that renews quickly, as it is grass and not wood.
Non-Toxic and Non-Allergenic: Formaldehyde and black mold are two elements often found in toxic and allergenic building materials.
Locally Sourced: Whenever possible, materials are best sourced within a roughly 100-mile radius, rather than being freighted great distances.
Build Water- and Energy-Efficiency into the Plans
Intelligently built green homes are not water and energy hogs. Instead, they sip both resources.
Water efficiency can mean collecting rainwater and reusing greywaters, such as dishwashers, laundry, and sink run-off (not toilet water). Or it can mean simple measures like installing low-flow showerheads and toilets.
Energy efficiency is all about installing energy-smart appliances, insulating to the max, and installing plenty of skylights and windows for increased natural light.
Emphasize Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Using sustainable building materials is the first step in ensuring IAQ by minimizing or eliminating materials that contribute to toxins and allergens in the air.
Water vapor, benign by itself, can lead to the growth of toxic black mold. Formaldehyde is an example of a toxin that is frequently found in non-sustainable building materials.
Choose low VOC paints. Pick floor coverings made of natural materials like wood for hard flooring and wool for carpeting, rather than vinyl or man-made carpet.
Learn How to Purchase Sustainable Materials
Choosing sustainable materials is the cornerstone of building a green home. There is no single type of material that is considered to be universally sustainable. Instead, sustainability is more like a bundle of good points that you are looking for in a material. The more of these good points you can bring together in one, the better.
Recycled or Reused Materials
Recycled material has been reprocessed, such as turning rubber tires into flooring or plastic bottles into fences and benches.
Reused materials are those which are used whole, but are typically refurbished: windows, doors, flooring, cabinets, plumbing fixtures. Even copper pipe is considered valuable enough to reuse.
Sustainably harvested means that the materials come from transparent and well-managed production areas and that the supply chain is documented and certified. Wood certified by The Forest Stewardship Council is considered to be sustainably harvested.
Examples of building materials that have a fast turn-around growing cycle: bamboo, cork, cotton (especially when recycled), natural linoleum such as Marmoleum, wood, wheatboard, and strawboard.
Non-Toxic and Non-Allergenic
Formaldehyde is one element often found in toxic building materials.
Why support a building industry that ships your sheet of plywood across thousands of miles of ocean from Indonesia? Instead, shop where you live.
Be aware of your local natural resources and use them.
As noted, it may not be possible to check off all of the boxes when it comes to sustainable materials, and one perfect example is bamboo flooring. While eco-friendly and green in so many ways, it fails in another point: local sourcing. Most bamboo flooring is produced in China and Indonesia and is container-shipped thousands of miles to buyers.
Energy and Water Efficiency Made Simple
For ages, homes have unwisely used energy (which can include electricity and gas) and water. Both were seen by builders as infinitely renewable resources. Today, we know better than that. Here are ways you can build, remodel, or fix your green home so that it uses these resources with care.