Green Construction: How to Make it Sustainable and Earth-Worthy
You may have heard about the growing trend in construction toward “going green” and the benefits that it can offer the environment. This extends beyond the industrial fields, however, allowing even home builders to be more environmentally friendly in their construction. There are certain things that can be done when building a house that will reduce the carbon footprint of the household initially and going into the future. Here are some of the ways that construction can be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Consider Environmental Concerns
Installing sources of renewable energy and incorporating them into the needs of the house will help to make the project greener. This could include items like solar panels or even solar shingles on your house. For larger-scale construction projects, another thing to consider is waste water runoff. You should have some way for water to drain or invest in soft-scaping in your yard and driveway. This includes using paver stones instead of the traditional concrete driveway.
Invest in Energy Conservation
The types of appliances that you install in your home will make a difference when it comes to your energy needs. Take time to carefully consider your heating and cooling methods. The majority of your energy bill comes from heating and cooling your home and therefore should be as energy efficient as possible. Installing a modern heat pump and having the right level of insulation will help to eliminate wasted energy in the colder seasons. Talk to sellers and installers in your area to ensure that all systems installed match the needs of a home the size you are building and talk to them about energy efficiency options. Foam insulation will also help to seal out more drafts, and getting Low-E window glass will maintain heat conservation, as well, without having to keep your blinds or curtains closed.
Use Natural Elements
Natural features of the site itself should also be taken into consideration for green construction methods. Using a civil engineering firm may help you to incorporate some of the landscape into your construction project. For example, preserving trees and using the natural slope of the land will reduce the amount of destruction that will need to occur in order to prepare the site for construction of your home. With civil engineers, you can discuss various benefits of the current lay of the land and figure out what needs to be removed and what can be preserved.
Select Low VOC Finishes
The type of finishes that you select in your home also makes a difference when it comes to green construction methods. For example, some types of carpeting and sheathing release chemicals into the atmosphere. These are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) Going with more natural products helps to eliminate the amount of gases that are released into your home and the atmosphere. Hardwood flooring, natural stone, and using paints that have no VOCs are some of the finishes that are available. Talk to your contractor about what materials are most environmentally safe and feel free to check labeling on paints if you are picking them out yourself.
It can be a bit of a challenge to factor in green construction methods that are sustainable and earth-worthy, but well worth the effort. Being environmentally friendly is beneficial both for the earth and for saving money in energy efficiency in the long run. Use these tips so that you can get started on your green construction project in a way that helps everyone.