People nowadays have a lot to consider when building a new house or extending their current one – one in particular is the constantly changing environment around us. In the world of architecture, design and construction, this is known as green building. At some point in your life you will have heard people talking about ‘going green’, therefore it is important to become environmentally aware and active. In other words, whether you like it or not, you are going to have to hop on the green movement train sooner or later.
What is green building? Well, it can be split into two parts – construction and operation. Basically, it is a project that allows a builder to maintain various aspects of the natural environment around them, while still being able to create a building that serves a purpose to the buyer. Green buildings are designed in such a way to reduce the overall negative impact that a regular construction project would have on the environment.
Going green can save not only save you a lot of money, but it can improve various other aspects of your life. The environmental benefits of green building are obvious (e.g. reduced pollution and wastage of water), however there are other potent arguments for using such techniques that may not initially cross your mind. Some examples include but are not limited to:
• Reduced energy and operating costs;
• Greater chance of a higher selling value compared to a regular building;
• Minimise pressure on local infrastructure;
• Improved quality of life for the occupant; and
• Create a market for green building products
While, in the long run, using green building techniques can save you a huge amount of money, the initial investment needed is often rather costly. We have picked out our top 10 green building tips to consider when designing your next project at home.
1. Use Green Materials
The use of locally sourced sustainable building materials should be near the top of your to do list when building a green home. This will reduce the negative impact that typical construction methods have on the environment. Everything from the top of the roof down to the floor should be made up of both renewable materials such as recycled plastic and glass, and natural materials such as timber wood, bamboo and straw.
2. Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are becoming more and more popular these days with over 1 million UK homes deciding to install. It doesn’t come as that much of a surprise when you consider the advantages of having them installed. Firstly, it is a clean and renewable energy source and it is available every day, unlike some energy sources. It is a common every day task for people to try and reduce the amount they are spending on electricity – well solar energy helps the energy bills to drop. Although the initial installation cost can be rather expensive, you will be able to reap the long-term benefits and put your savings straight into your pocket.
3. Green Lighting
Replacing old-style bulbs with energy saving ones can be an efficient way of reducing energy consumption. For example, LED and CFL bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent and filament bulbs. They do cost more to buy upfront; however, they provide considerable long-term savings in terms of both money and energy.
This is perhaps one of the most important tips for green building. Heating and cooling represent 50% of your home’s entire energy expenditure. Proper insulation keeps your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which reduces the need to regularly adjust the thermostat. This will reduce your energy usage AND save you a lot of money in the process.
5. Conserve Water
When building a green home, you can reduce water wastage by having fixtures installed to reduce the flow of water from appliances such as taps, toilets and showerheads. This tip can again cut down your cost of water as well as make your home eco-friendlier.
6. Build Smaller
When designing your property, it is important to be smart with your ideas. Generally, smaller buildings are eco-friendlier and tend to be much cheaper to run. A larger home is more expensive to heat and cool so make sure you have a purpose for every room in the property. Make full use of each space and think creatively when considering the cost.
7. Energy Saving Windows
When designing a green home, one of your main aims should be to achieve a well-insulated space. Installing double glazed windows can help insulate your house further and again reduce your energy costs. Other advantages include; reduced condensation, enhanced resale value and increased security.
From an environmental perspective, it is important to consider the location when designing your property. Make sure you pick a location which isn’t prone to flooding for example and take into consideration the positioning of windows and doors, in order to take advantage of natural light from the sun.
9. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System
Install a HVAC system to help save energy. If you are thinking about buying one, ensure that the system is installed and tested professionally in order for it to work to its full potential. Not only does it provide improved results that save energy costs, it can boost the resale value of your home, if you end up selling.
10. Latest Technology
Keeping up to date with the latest technology can help you save energy and cut down those electricity bills. For example, many houses nowadays have programmable thermostats which enable the user to set a temperature and time for the heating to come on. The HVAC system will kick in when the thermostat reaches a designated temperature.
If you are looking to design a new eco-friendly house and are looking for professional advice, give Spacesix design a call on 0141 354 1376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.