Making New Homes Greener

Making New Homes Greener

There is a new trend in building environmentally friendly homes using sustainable design.  The goal is to have the minimal impact possible on the environment without using any non-renewable resources and it brings the community together with nature.  Developers and home builders need to be very careful when it comes to things like where to build, building plans, materials and the entire project management process.

Making new homes greener

Making new homes greener means doing this during the construction process like choosing non-toxic alternatives to traditional materials.  You also need to use materials that come from recycled materials or that use minimal energy consumption to produce.  Selecting materials that lasts longer and is more durable also allows us to reduce the need for replacement and keep cycles closed.  Homes can’t be harmful to either the occupants nor to the environment that they are built in.

Home Plans for a Greener Home

There are bunch of architects, engineers and governmental organizations that are looking into sustainable science and how it can be translated into construction methods.  This means building with fewer limited resources, using renewable natural resources and not polluting the environment.  One of the cooler aspects of sustainable home construction is how the manage to make your home more efficient when it comes to heating and cooling your home.  They use alternative energy sources like ground heat pumps, solar technology for heating water and generating electricity.  Homes are built from recycled materials where ever you can find them.  Have a look at what greener home look like in the future.

Using renewable resources and energy is the whole basis for making new homes greener.  Solar, geothermal, solar, biofuels and wind energy are all resources used in sustainable technology and construction.  Wind is one of the fastest growing energy sources being used today, while Europe has taken advantage of wind technology for years but now North America is slowing catching on.  The goal is to have homes running without the use of any fossil fuels, this will eliminate pollution rather than just reducing it.

This is actually happening now.  Back in 2004 the city of Freiburg, Germany built a 59 unit housing community, this is the first community that not only reduced consumption but creates a positive energy balance.  These homes are not only built with renewable and recyclable materials they are built to be easily repaired should they need be.  This isn’t just the homes themselves but also the furniture and appliances too.  This is what the future of sustainable design looks like.

Does Sustainable Design Have to Cost More

Does Sustainable Design Have to Cost More?

We all love the notion of sustainable design but there are hundreds of sustainable design projects that never saw the light of day because of the misconception that they have to cost more than traditional projects.  Does sustainable design have to cost more?  No, sustainable design is meant to reduce the cost during the project and far beyond.

Why the misconception?

When it comes to money and projects upfront costs held far more sway than operational costs when it comes to getting a project off the ground.  Fortunately that short sighted view is starting to change.  Energy saving construction materials used to cost more than traditional materials that had been used for years.  However for the building owner energy efficient material reduced the operational costs for the lifetime of the building.

Changing demand

As energy costs started to soar the demand for energy saving building materials increased and so did production.  This brought the costs of energy saving materials more in line with what was already on the market.  They are less expensive and will save you plenty over the lifetime of your home or commercial building.  Responsible building owners are a thrifty lot and they understand the value of a product.  However there still aren’t enough sustainable design projects being put forward.

What makes sustainable design?

  1. Benefit to the community
  2. Benefits to the local economy
  3. Savings on energy costs
  4. Reduced impact on the environment.

All of these are necessary components to a sustainable design project.  While we all support sustainable design in theory oftentimes one or more of these elements are missing to make a community project a sustainable one.

Building our communities

Many of our communities will put together projects with the goal of strengthening the community and creating economic development and that’s a good thing.  The question remains though why can’t communities also strive to reduce energy costs and the impact on the environment, why miss out on the chance to do some good for future generations and beyond.  Here are just some of the standards that we as a community should be looking at when it comes to development projects.

  • Building and operating with clean energy
  • Minimize water runoff with pervious pavement materials
  • Make our new and existing buildings greener
  • Low maintenance structure and materials

This doesn’t have to be a complicated issue but going forward we have to look at each project and evaluate it based on whether it has sustainable design.  Sustainable design strengthens our communities and we need to start questions whether it should even be built if it isn’t sustainable.