One thing that we cannot continue to sweep under the rug is the impact human activity has had and continues to have on climate change. With the growing knowledge and awareness that natural resources are depleting, it’s making more and more sense to people and businesses across all industries that changes need to be made to preserve our environment. The construction field is no different.
Within the last couple of decades, more knowledge and effort has been placed on creating more eco-friendly systems and innovations that have minimal negative impact on the environment. This is where green architecture comes in. The truth is, while the term may be new to some, the ideology behind this concept is not.
When we look into ancient history, there were many techniques used then to create innovations that did not harm the environment. A prime example of this is constructing homes and buildings that encourage natural airflow and rely on natural heating and cooling methods. Thanks to technology, we have access to information and more opportunities to make better choices for our environment through green architecture.
Having a green home is much more than simply installing solar panels. The very fabric of the home, which includes the materials used to build a home, should also be eco-friendly. Green architecture also ensures that we reduce the amount of waste, conserve energy and install high-performance appliances.
A green home is more than the materials you used to build or renovate the home – it’s a lifestyle. Using natural and eco-friendly cleaning products is something you can do to maintain a sustainable home. Many of the traditional chemicals used for cleaning contribute to the deterioration of the planet and are bad for our overall health.
What is Green Architecture?
Green architecture refers to the construction of buildings with a focus on being more environmentally conscious. The goal of green architecture is to preserve the environment as much as possible. This mindset believes that beautiful buildings can be constructed that are less harmful to our environment. Green architecture takes an all-encompassing approach. Every aspect of the home, including the decorating and designs, are in line with the principles of green architecture. From the location to the building materials and the type of appliances installed, green architecture takes a holistic approach to building and focuses on constructing homes that run efficiently and are equipped with smart appliances that make use of natural and sustainable resources.
Building a home that has the lowest possible negative impact on the environment can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your part in reducing the negative impact on the environment.
Another benefit of green architecture is that it offers a healthier indoor living experience since it uses less toxic materials. When modern technology was introduced to communities in the past, most of these modern inventions focused solely on creating more convenient solutions to everyday problems and did not consider the impact these inventions had on the natural environment.
As more and more people began to migrate to urban areas, there was a rush to build accommodation and other structures to support this move to the city. The priority was to build quickly to meet the demand. With the world consuming so much energy, the impact on the environment has been detrimental. Green architecture attempts to decrease this impact to fight climate change and other ills resulting from our deteriorating world.
Consider Your Property and Location
When you think about building a home, location is very important. Whereas in the past, location was considered in connection with living in ideal neighborhoods and close proximity to urban areas, etc., eco-friendly architecture examines a location in a slightly different manner. An ideal location takes into account the natural resources surrounding the location and the physical features of that location. Some questions that tend to come up are: whether a house can be built in a way that utilizes the natural environment? Can the home be built effectively with a minimal negative impact on the natural habitat?
Other things to consider is how to build a house in a way that best utilizes the sun for natural light, reducing the need to have lights on during the daytime. This means that the orientation of the home would need to be in the best alignment with sunlight, particularly in regard to windows and solar panels.
Materials to Use in Green Eco-Homes
The materials you choose for your home will have an impact on how eco-friendly your home is. When choosing materials for a green eco-home, you want to select materials that are durable and will stand the test of time. Materials that have to be replaced every now and then require the frequent use of natural resources to produce.
So choosing long-lasting materials is the best option. Examples of these include hardwood floors or cabinets so you won’t have to worry about having to replace them for many years.
Another key thing to remember when selecting materials is to choose options that are highly effective in protecting the home. For example, when selecting shingles for your roof, opt for the type that will reflect heat, particularly if you live in a sunny area.
A third thing to remember is to source materials locally as much as possible. Transporting materials that are closer to your location cuts down on the fuel – and the carbonprint – needed to transport these materials if they were sourced from further away. This is a benefit to you because you’ll save on transportation costs and you probably won’t have to wait as long for delivery.
One of the ways to keep the natural habitat around your home as intact as possible is to build a home that does not waste space. The smaller the house is, there is more of the natural environment around it that can be left undisturbed. When imagining a dream home, many people think of a spacious area where they can move around freely and have plenty of storage place. While this may be the epitome of luxury and comfort to some, it does come at an expense to the environment.
The bigger your home is, there is more land that will need to be cleared to make room for your home’s square footage. This doesn’t mean you have to build a house that is too small for your needs. There’s a happy medium.
A great way to ensure that you do not waste space is to have a well-designed floor plan. A good layout can make all the difference when it comes to the ability to heat and cool your home efficiently while saving on energy costs. Another thing to remember is that cutting down the size of your home translates to fewer construction materials needed to build your home which is a plus for the environment.
What Your Sustainable Home Is Made Of
The various aspects of your home should be built intentionally. The materials and appliances installed should ensure that your home runs efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner. You want to make sure that your home is well insulated to ensure that it requires less energy to heat and cool.
Using recycled building materials can help to reduce the impact on the environment. The trouble with traditional materials is that they require more resources and energy to produce than recyclable materials, and they are also discarded in landfills when they are no longer useful. Materials like reclaimed wood or brick, recycled asphalt shingles or recycled glass are good alternatives to consider for your green home. If these are not available, try to use locally sourced materials.
Another idea is to incorporate living walls or a living roof. In addition to being eco-friendly, these features are visually appealing. A living wall has a water retention layer that facilitates the growth of plants. This in turn creates a natural insulator for your home.
For anyone living in the north, installing high solar heat gain glass, also referred to as SHGC, on south windows is great.
The principles of green technology extend beyond the natural materials used to build the home. The technology you use inside your home, including the appliances, are important in keeping with green technology efforts. The type of solar panels you choose, the flooring and HVAC system all plays a part in establishing how green your home is. The goal is to gravitate towards renewable energy sources which are far less taxing on the environment than non-renewable energy sources. Households that utilize solar energy save significantly in the long run both financially and the cost to the environment.
Eco-friendly Reno Ideas
There are some who fear they will have to sacrifice comfort and convenience to make their home more eco-friendly. This doesn’t have to be the case. The beauty about green remodeling ideas is that there are so many options that can be customized to suit every household. It’s about exploring the best layout options for a home and purchasing smart appliances and options. Just because you live in an older home that was not built with the environment in mind doesn’t mean you’re stuck with no options. You can take advantage of renovation opportunities to upgrade your home with more sustainable and eco-conscious options. Here are some ideas to consider:
1. On demand water heaters
Tankless water heaters are a huge advantage because they heat water as you need it. Conventional water heaters, on the other hand, continue to heat up the water in the tank so that when you need hot water, it is available.
While this may have sounded convenient when water heaters were first marketed, the problem is that keeping the water hot consumes a considerable amount of energy. If you are interested in a tankless water heater, your water will be heated as you need it, saving energy during the times when you do not need hot water.
A well insulated home is a good steward of energy. If your home is poorly insulated, you will lose air through your windows and walls, which will require greater performance from your HVAC system to keep the temperature in your room at the ideal setting. Replace your windows if needed to ensure your house is well insulated.
Some measures you can take include installing energy-efficient windows and plenty of insulation. For your windows, an excellent choice is three-pane fiberglass windows or double-pane composite, which will be a more budget friendly choice. What you should keep in mind is that even if you purchase the most efficient windows on the market, if your home is not well insulated, it is a waste of money.
3. Use energy efficient LED lights bulbs
These bulbs are great because they require a lower amount of energy to light your home than other bulbs. In addition, they have a longer lifespan. It may seem like a small fixture, but it contributes to the effort of being more eco-conscious. There are also smart LED bulbs that come with additional features that include remote control options.
Green Ideas for Decorating
Now that you’ve got your home built or renovated using eco-conscious materials, installed eco-friendly technology and ensured that your home is well insulated, it’s time to think about how you can bring the same eco-conscious approach to decorating your home’s interior.
Something to remember is to check the labels of items you’d like to purchase to determine whether the item is sustainably produced. There are labels on many products on the market now that provide this information and any certifications that apply. Some of the popular ratings are WaterSense and Energy Star. When it comes to furniture, choose products made from certified wood that can reduce global warming and deforestation.
How to Build an Eco-Friendly Home
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you should consider building an eco-friendly home. Increasing the sustainability of your home, doesn’t just create a more modern and beautiful living space, but it can also help reduce your energy costs in the long run.
A sustainable and eco-friendly home is no longer just a trend, but a practice that is necessary to create a more liveable and green world. The experts at Nicks Developments have put together a list of things you can do to improve your home’s overall energy efficiency and sustainability.
Install Eco-Friendly Flooring
One of the easiest green building practices you can incorporate into your home is eco-friendly flooring. This style of flooring is made using recycled or natural materials that reduce the impact on the environment, while creating an elegant and modern look for your home. There are a number of material options to choose from to create the perfect look for yourself.
- Recycled and reclaimed floors – This type of flooring is often made from salvaged woods to reclaimed building materials. You can often get beautiful pieces from older homes that are being remodelled or torn down.
- Eco-friendly hardwoods – Natural wood is much more eco-friendly than alternatives like MDF because it doesn’t require a lot of chemicals or plastics to create. Hardwood floors can be obtained through forest protection programs that ensure that any tree that is cut down is replaced.
- Bamboo – Not only does bamboo provide your home with a natural look, it is also one of the most sustainable flooring options. Bamboo grows incredibly fast, reaching maturity in two to three years. This means that it is renewed at a much faster rate than hardwood or other wood products. It is important to understand the source of your bamboo to ensure it is not being obtained through ecologically damaging ways.
- Cork – Similar to bamboo, cork is another great option for people looking to utilize building materials with a more sustainable approach. Cork helps regulate the temperature in your home, and keeps your space feeling warm and dry all year round.
Consider Radiant Floor Heating
Have you seen your energy bills rise lately? You can help reduce these costs by up to 50 percent by installing radiant heat flooring. It’s a great option for the interior of your home, and it can increase the safety around the exterior of your home too.
Heated floors don’t just keep your feet warm, they also radiate heat throughout the rest of your room, reducing your reliance on your furnace which results in lower heating bills.
Use Energy Efficient Windows
Heat loss through windows is one of the biggest causes of using your furnace too often. Over time, windows can begin to form gaps causing drafts to seep in, bring cold air and dampness with it. A new and more energy efficient window can reduce your energy costs by up to 50 percent, keep warmth in and the cold out.
Double-glazed windows are recommended for homeowners who live in particularly cold locations. Your contractor will be able to provide you with a variety of options based on your home design and budget.
Gas and Induction Stoves
We all love to be world-class chefs in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on your energy bills. Electric stoves can be one of the biggest energy consumers in your home. This is why more and more energy experts are recommending gas and induction stoves for home kitchens.
These types of ranges provide a clean burning heat that cooks food evenly and requires less energy to run. In fact, homeowners can save up to 85 percent on their energy bill by switching from electric to gas, making them a highly sought after appliance for people who want to improve their energy efficiency.
Look for ENERGY STAR Labels
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right appliance for your home. How do you know which ones provide the best energy conservation? The answer is to look for the EnergyStar labels. These symbols tell you how an appliance ranks for energy efficiency.
The better the ranking, the more energy you will save. Take the time to review a variety of appliance options and compare their EnergyStar ranking to ensure you are getting maximum returns on your investment.
Low Flush Toilets & Eco-friendly Washers
Water consumption is one of the fastest ways to use energy in the home. That’s why it’s important to do your research on water saving appliances and products for your home.
- Low flush toilets are one of the first things you should consider when doing a home or bathroom renovation. A low flush or low flow toilet uses only 4.5 litres when flushed, unlike traditional toilets, which can use up to 6 litres of water.
- Washing machines are another appliance that consumes a high level of water. Using the knowledge you have gained doing your EnergyStar research, you can find a washing machine that can help reduce your water usage and energy consumption by up to 35 percent. It is also recommended to install a microfiber filter in your washing machine to help reduce the introduction of synthetic materials and plastics into the environment.
The green building experts at Nicks Developments can help you create a space that promotes energy conservation and reduces your carbon footprint. From eco-friendly building materials to passive solar design, there are so many designs you can add to your home to help reduce your ecological impact on the environment and increase your overall sustainability. We can provide you with a variety of ideas to easily incorporate into your renovation or new build. We can help you source sustainable and natural building materials along with appliances that will help reduce your energy bills.
We are experts in green design and are pleased to sit down and discuss your vision. We offer friendly and experienced advice to help you achieve the highest level of sustainability in your home. Contact us today for a free consultation on your building project.