The homes of today must meet a number of unique requirements to be seen as both eco-friendly and sustainable. Also, they need to pull off an innovative and functional design for the general well-being of everyone who lives there, with a minimal overall effect on the environment.
The terms ‘energy efficiency’, ‘passive design’, and ‘green’ are interrelated on some level since they all revolve around the same concept. Several home builders and homebuyers alike prefer eco-friendly construction. And why shouldn’t they? Today, the entire world acknowledges the many benefits that green homes can offer, including benefits like considerable money savings, decreased greenhouse gas emissions and enhanced health. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
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Here are some of the key principles behind eco-housing and why it’s here to stay.
Because buildings are big energy wasters and pollutants, ongoing efforts to decrease energy usage in homes is critical and in high demand. Energy-efficient buildings have the ability to impact greenhouse gas emissions by diminishing their output. By using energy-saving appliances, installing adequate ventilation and insulation along with double-glazed windows, you can effectively improve the overall energy output of your home and therefore drastically start reducing your utility bills.
Some eco-minded people take the concept even further by engaging energy efficiency, along with renewable energy, as a part of a bigger sustainable energy efficiency policy. Basically, it means addressing the energy that’s derived from key resources that are naturally renewable. The ‘average’ person can do a lot in terms of harnessing the sun’s power along with the wind and rain in order to generate their own water and electricity at home.
Today, residential rainwater harvesting reservoirs and solar panels are becoming more financially available and common. At first, they appear somewhat expensive. However, if you really want to decrease your dependency on the grid (electricity and water), it’s a necessary initial expense that pays off later down the road and saves homeowners literally tens of thousands of pounds over time.
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Sustainable building materials
Obviously, a home isn’t considered totally eco-friendly if sustainable building materials aren’t used during construction and in the interior design aspect as well. In order for the home and materials to actually be referred to as ‘sustainable’, they must meet a number of criteria first:
• Must be recycled or recyclable
• Have low embodied energy
• Must be locally sourced
• Must be non-toxic
This demanding list often frustrates people who are trying to build green but it is necessary to be truly sustainable. For instance, bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable source for home flooring, unlike installing an oak floor. Other key renewable home building materials include clay, cork, adobe and straw bale.
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Eco-conscious architects have developed a large number of incredible designs and ways to successfully construct homes so that they’re as sustainable as they possibly can be. One way is through passive solar design. As stated on the Dion Seminara website, passive solar design includes positioning a home so that it can fully benefit from the sun’s natural radiant energy, thereby preventing excessive heat penetration during the summer and optimising solar heat in the winter.
There are a number of eco-friendly construction types to choose from, some of which may include:
• Straw bale
For some, these eco-friendly home designs may seem too small or unconventional. However, sustainable home design doesn’t have to be void of luxury and class. In fact, most futuristic homes are beautiful, comfortable and cleverly designed for maximum function.
In the end, it pays to think outside the box and expand your creativity for both the interior and the exterior of the home. For instance, if you’re fortunate to have a huge back garden, there are countless exterior eco-friendly features to consider: an organic garden, a rainwater tank, passive solar design installation, green roof and walls, and a natural swimming pool. The possibilities are endless. It pays to think ‘green’ no matter what aspect of your home you’re addressing, both inside and out.