How to Build an Environmentally Friendly, Energy Efficient Home
By HAILEY ROBINSON
When building a new house, you want to make sure your home will help you save money in the future as well as preserve the environment. Not sure where to start? Use these suggestions to make sure you’re building an environmentally friendly home.
Don’t Skimp on Quality Doors and Windows
The problem with poorly sealed doors and windows is they let air flow in and out of the home. This means that your heating and cooling systems have to work harder to keep the house at a constant temperature, which wastes energy and costs you money.
With quality EnergyStar certified windows, you could save $126-$465 per year when replacing single pane windows. When building a new house, choose quality doors and windows that won’t make your heating and cooling system work harder.
Install an Efficient Duct System
If you think you are paying too much for heating and cooling costs, you probably are. Energystar.gov says that 20% of the air that flows through duct systems (the system that moves hot and cold air throughout your home) is lost due to leaks and poor connections. Make sure your duct system is properly sealed in your new home to help save energy.
Remember: Insulation is Important
Poor insulation causes another heating and cooling issue in the home. You could end up using more energy than you need to, since poor insulation allows for an easier exchange of heat.
Since your insulation is going to control your home’s temperature for years, you have to make sure you’re installing high-quality insulation that will last a long time. Home builders are flexible with the types of products you want in your home, so make sure you let your homebuilders know which insulation you want to use.
Opt for Efficient Faucet Fixtures
According to the World Health Organization, one in three people suffer from water scarcity, and clean water for domestic use is only getting more difficult to find. You can help with the water issue and create an environmentally friendly home by making sure you’re only using the water you need. There are many ways that fixtures for the kitchen and bath are changing to help the environment. For example the use of electronic faucets allow for the water to only be running when it is needed, resulting in less water usage.
EPA.gov says that leaks in the average household waste about 10,000 gallons per year and that fixing these leaks could save many families 10% of their water bill. By installing quality fixtures, you don’t have to worry about these leaks, and when you incorporate water-efficient faucets, you can cut back even farther on your water usage.
Choose Dual-Flush Toilets
To save even further on water consumption, choose a dual-flush toilet. These toilets offer two flush options, one for liquid waste (usually 0.8 gallons per flush) and one for solid waste (1.6 gallons per flush). With one of these toilets, your family could save up to 80% on your toilet water consumption.
Rethink Your Lighting
The types of light fixtures you choose to install in your home can have an effect on how much energy you’re using. Opt for EnergyStar certified lightbulbs and fixtures, which use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs, last up to 25 times longer, and can help save up to $135 over the bulb’s lifetime, says EnergyStar.gov.
But efficient light fixtures aren’t all you have to think about. Consider how you can use natural light to your advantage, so you don’t have to use extra bulbs in the first place. For instance, you might consider using a skylight design with your home to cut down on the amount of light fixtures you need.
Use Recycled Material
When building an environmentally friendly home, you should also think about where your building materials are coming from. Consider looking for materials made from recycled products or repurposing used materials. A few examples of recycled materials you can use include:
- Rubber roofing made from recycled products
- Composite decking made from recycled paper and wood waste
- Paper-based countertops made from tree pulp from managed forests
- Carpets made from recycled plastic bottles
- When putting the plans together for your new house, make sure to consider these eco-friendly options to help protect the environment. Learn more about eco-friendly home construction options.