As the global human population continues to increase, people are looking for more eco-friendly alternatives that can sustain the concurrently increasing demand. One industry that is doing its part to try and create a sustainable future is housing. Eco-friendly materials and practices are paving the way for energy- and space-efficient housing. If you are looking for an eco-friendly build for your home, here are five tips and tricks to help guide you in the right direction.
Opt for Quality Doors and Windows
Apertures that are poorly installed and sealed allow conditioned air to escape. This leads to your heating and cooling system having to work harder in order to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, which ultimately leads to higher energy consumption and utility costs over time. Choose an EnergyStar-certified window over a traditional single-pane window to save as much as $450 per year. Quality wooden doors remain the best choice for environmentally conscious consumers. Unlike other non-renewable resources, like steel and plastic, wood is a naturally recurring material that can be sustainably sourced.
Invest in Quality Ductwork
Just as conditioned air can escape through doors and windows, air loss can also occur through the property’s duct system. According to experts, 20 percent of the airflow handled by your ductwork is lost because of a leak or obstruction somewhere along the system. Ensure that your duct system is completely sealed to help minimize air loss and HVAC power consumption. Consider signing up for an annual maintenance contract with a trusted HVAC professional that can regularly check and maintain your duct system.
Work With an Eco-Friendly Builder
Choose custom home builders in North Carolina that have already committed to sustainable products and responsible practices. There are a few standard qualifications that an eco-friendly home builder may hold. The main sustainable certifications you should look for include CGP, GACA, GAGP, and LEED. While the requirements for each certification may slightly vary, all four ensure that the holder conducts environmentally conscious operations across trades while providing their services at a reasonable cost. You should also demand transparency at all stages of the building process. Lastly, ask the right questions. Here are some things you’ll want to ask a prospective builder:
- Where do you buy your construction materials and equipment from?
- What fuel source do you use to power the machinery/equipment you use?
- How many sustainable projects have you worked on in the past?
Switch to Solar
Solar energy is the main renewable energy source that homeowners have access to today. Wind and hydro projects are indeed being explored as a viable means of energy, but these renewables are essentially inaccessible to regular consumers due to their relatively high installation and operational costs. Solar panels are a great investment, especially if you live in a sunny part of North Carolina. The energy is clean, sustainable, and even has tax benefits. Some solar panel homes even produce enough energy to start selling it back to their local utility provider. Here are other benefits to investing in a solar infrastructure for your new home:
- Reduce air pollutants that are emitted when burning fossil fuels
- Minimize water consumption
- Reduce CO2 emissions that are causing climate change
Choose Sustainable Materials
It may be more expensive, but sustainable building materials can reduce your home’s environmental impact over the long run. Choosing bamboo furniture, for example, can be a simple yet powerful move you can do as a consumer. Bamboo can be a sustainable crop and requires no toxic fertilizer to grow either. Compared to plastic furniture, bamboo is more durable, highly resistant to humid and dry conditions, and has a more appealing design factor. Some other sustainable materials you can use for your home building project include composite roofing shingles, smart glass windows, insulated concrete framing, and rugs made of natural fibers, i.e. cotton, hemp, and ethically sourced wool.
These are some simple tips to follow for an eco-friendly home. Being environmentally conscious as you build your home can have a great impact, but remember to also be mindful of how you run your household. Your day-to-day activities and choices as a homeowner will have an even greater environmental impact.