Every year, hundreds of thousands of new homes are built. In 2018, about 840,000 new single-family homes were constructed, but how many of those homes were built with environmental friendliness in mind?
If you’re in the process of planning your new home, you should try to keep in mind the environmental impact of your home’s future. By making sure that you’re designing your dream home with eco-friendly ideals in mind, you can help save energy, money, and the planet. Below are a few ways to make your new home as green as possible.
Use LED Lights
You should plan for your home to only use LED lights instead of traditional fluorescent light bulbs. The Department of Energy has estimated that LED lights could possibly cut the amount of energy used by the U.S. by up to 50%. To help join that lessened energy expenditure, make sure only LED bulbs are installed in your home.
There are many advantages to LED bulbs aside from saving energy. They also last significantly longer, which means that you’ll be creating less waste than with a traditional bulb. LED lights come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and even different tones and colors. If you want to add some fun to a room, you can plan on using a color-changing bulb that can be remote-controlled or even controlled through an app on your phone.
Make Sure Everything is Properly Insulated
One of the most important things to think about when you’re making your home eco-friendly is how well-insulated your home will be. Insulation is key to keeping your heating and cooling costs and energy expenditures down. By properly insulating your home, you’re creating a temperature-controlled environment, which means that heat won’t escape in the winter and won’t get in in the summer.
One area you should make sure to focus on is your attic. A lot of heat can escape through your roof if it’s not properly insulated, which makes it one of the most important places to properly insulate. You can also opt for certain options for your roofing to help with proper insulation, so make sure to speak with your home’s designer about your best options.
Solar power technology has been significantly improved in recent years, and you can take advantage of those improvements in your home. Realistically, you probably can’t power your entire home with the kind of solar panels available for residential homes, but you can hook them into your home’s power supply and use them to reduce your traditional energy usage.
Install a Grey Water System
Grey water is any water that has been used in your home by a sink or shower. It isn’t clean or fresh anymore, but it can be used to do things like water your lawn and garden. If you plan on having landscaping that will need additional watering, installing a grey water system in your home is a great way to decrease your home’s freshwater usage, which can really help decrease your home’s water consumption.
Go Low Flow
Another way to decrease your home’s water consumption is by installing low flow options of certain things, like your toilet and showerhead. With a low flow toilet, you’ll waste less water per flush, which really adds up over time. Many times these toilets will have an option for liquid versus solid waste, so you won’t have to worry about the toilet becoming clogged because there isn’t enough water running through it.
Low flow showerheads are designed to decrease the gallons per minute, or GPM, used by your shower. If you know you should take shorter showers to save water, but really love the feeling of being in the shower, this is a great way to make sure you aren’t using too much water.
Install Energy Star Approved Items
One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re not wasting energy is to make sure you’re opting for things with Energy Star approval. Energy Star appliances are more energy-efficient and are operating in a way that the Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA, approves of. You can get Energy Star rated appliances, windows, electronics, and other things, so make sure when you’re looking into a certain option for your home that you’re looking for something that has the Energy Star logo on it somewhere.
Use Sustainable Materials
When it comes to the materials that will be used to actually build your home, you should make sure you’re using the most sustainable options available. By using items made of recycled or reclaimed materials, you’ll be creating less of a demand for brand new materials. This is a conversation you should definitely have with your home’s builders to make sure that they understand your commitment to building a sustainable and eco-friendly home.
Keep It Small
Extra space in your home means more energy used to light, heat, and cool it. Try not to have any part of your home that is extraneous or otherwise unneeded. The smaller your home is, the less energy it will take to keep it running. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a tiny home, but it does mean you should avoid making any part of your home larger than it really needs to be.
Plan It Out
When you’re still in the planning phase, it’s important to look at the plans and ensure that everything in the plan fits your needs and whatever eco-friendly upgrades or changes you want. There is currently architectural rendering software that can make both two-dimensional and three-dimensional renderings of your architect’s designs. By making sure that all of the changes you requested are in the design, you can avoid any mistakes made because your home’s designer forgot about a conversation.
Building a new home presents many opportunities to include eco-friendly features and materials, but you have to be conscious of the choices you make for your home. Every detail large and small from the building materials you use to the lightbulbs you screw into the sockets can have an environmental impact, so it’s important to be intentional with your choices during the home building process.