Building A Sustainable Home Environment
For thousands of years, the focus in building a house has always been centred on its design and function, but at present, the demands of the modern homeowner have evolved to include sustainability as an added requirement. It is no longer enough to ensure that the house is visually pleasing or that the space is ergonomically designed, it needs to meet sustainability standards as well.
With sustainability practices gaining ground, green building materials and systems are becoming more accessible not only to high-rise commercial property magnates, but also to the humble homeowner as well. When planning to build a sustainable home, it is important to consider the different aspects that contribute towards this goal.
Utilising renewable energy is just one of the primary aspects that contribute to the sustainability of a building. Other aspects include the design of your home, use of sustainable building materials, and use of energy efficient technologies. People who are looking to build or renovate their homes will benefit from utilising sustainably designed architecture that will incorporate all of these different aspects.
Solar and wind energy are two of the most common forms of renewable energy that homeowners can utilise. The choice of which one to use will depend on the type of home you have and on what is more favourable to the location of your property.
Solar energy is more flexible as you can use solar panels whether you are in an urban or rural area. All you need is a site that gets maximum solar exposure for the panels. Solar panels are also more widely available and the installation process is very straightforward as there are also more expert suppliers.
Wind energy is not just limited to being generated by large windmills. There are now smaller wind turbines that are designed specifically for residential use. Wind energy can be utilised in areas where there is constant and uniform airflow. This is to ensure that you can maximise its energy generating potential. If your home is in a dense, urban environment, this technology may not be recommended because the flow of air may be blocked by surrounding buildings and structures.
The design of your home can make a major difference in how much energy you will consume while living in it. Design techniques like integrating large windows and skylight features, for instance, can greatly lower energy consumption.
Sustainable Building Materials
Using innovative materials is also important in building a sustainable home. Sustainable design experts can recommend products and methods that are not only sustainable but will also lower your energy use. For example, using materials that provide better insulation will automatically lower the energy used on heating.
Energy Efficient Products
Installing energy efficient products is also a significant way to make your home sustainable. A popular energy efficient product is LED. You might be surprised to know that just by replacing your existing bulbs with LED lights, you will already get amazing energy savings. LED lights on average consume 70 to 90% less energy than the typical CFL and incandescent bulbs.
There are also many electrical appliances that are now designed to consume less energy including refrigerators, ovens, air conditioning and heating units, washing machines, and television sets. While some of these products may cost more to purchase, the savings that you will get on energy consumption will still be beneficial.
Making smart choices for your home
Many people have the mistaken belief that building a sustainable home is way beyond their budget because of costly materials or innovative systems. However, consulting with sustainable design professionals early in the building process will greatly benefit homeowners. These experts can provide valuable advice on how to integrate different sustainability aspects that could financially benefit homeowners in the long-term.
Emma Metson is a part-time property developer, part-time home improvements and gardening blogger at Fixtures and Flowers, and full-time Mum. Given her background, Emma has a lot of home developing and improving related advice that she loves sharing.
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