So you own a land property and are ready to build a home, but want to make sure it’s eco-friendly. Do you know how to do it?
With the rise in awareness of climate change and the waste that commercial and residential homes and buildings expend, it is becoming a much higher priority for many landowners to keep eco-efficiency in mind when constructing new buildings. Not only is it helpful to the environment, but it can help homeowners’ wallets as well.
New construction is currently responsible for almost 40% of carbon emissions. The use of green building materials and methods can stem those carbon emissions and drastically reduce the environmental problems being caused by construction projects, as well as the lifelong emissions a home expends.
If you’re reading this article, you may already know about the importance of building an eco-friendly home. But here are some helpful reminders about the benefits:
Just like in real estate, the first factor to consider in the construction of your eco-friendly home is location. Annette Wiley, award-winning architect from Wiley Architects, advises to consider location as a crucial aspect of your building process.
“Plan your home’s orientation on the site and its building design to take advantage of the climate with natural ventilation, daylighting and sun control to maintain warmth in winter and avoid heat in the summer. The most energy efficient home doesn’t need lights on during the day and uses natural ventilation for cooling and good insulation to maintain warmth.”
The location in relation to the source of your building resources, as well as the community in which you will one day live and work in, should be considered as well. The less distance, the better. This will help reduce your carbon footprint both during construction and over the lifetime of living at the location. Shorter distances also allow for walking or biking rather than driving vehicles.
Bryan Henson, President of Allen Construction, agrees in the importance of homesite. Not only is it important to factor where the lot is, but how the home is situated on the lot. “Since the first 10% of a home’s design determines 70% of its energy efficiency, it is essential for an architect to consider a) the home’s orientation on the lot for passive solar heating and cooling as well as availability of natural light; b) how to take advantage of naturally cooling breezes; and, 3) the type of building materials used and the qualities these materials bring to the project’s energy efficiency.”
Bryan also speaks highly of the importance of building a smart team to lead the planning process from the onset. “Having the project team – owner, architect, and builder – on board and setting energy efficiency goals (as well as other green attributes) early is important. That way everyone is working towards the same end goals and making an effort for all decisions throughout the project to adhere to these goals.” This is particularly important for larger projects.
Jessica Winstead of SERVIZ, a Home Services company, believes the key to an eco-friendly home is to start with the rooms that will use the most water. “To design a home from the ground up that’s energy efficient, the most important rooms to think of are the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room since they tend to use the most.” She offers the following tips:
Carl Seville, building expert with SK Collaborative, has recommendations related to air and structure that can provide serious efficiency. He describes eco-friendly construction as “a big important question that can take a book”, but simplifies per below:
Allyson Acker, of Premier Copper Products, adds that copper is a smart material to use when constructing a home. Copper is naturally antimicrobial, rust-resistant, and is extremely recyclable. As materials go, copper is relatively expensive, but it is also one of the highest quality materials available to green builders.
Of course, with every type of construction there are some common pitfalls, which should be avoided. Here are a few of the worst ones you may encounter:
Building an eco-friendly home is no longer only for the rich—it is an affordable and attainable goal to shoot for when constructing a new building on your land property. Consider these construction tips not only to help the environment, but to help your wallet. Saving energy over time means saving costs, and the early cost/labor investments can pay off substantially over the lifetime of a building.
If you have any other tips to add, please share in the comments below!