Building a green home goes a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint, or impact on the environment at large. From the foundation to the roof, every aspect of the plans and materials used to build the home must be carefully considered. The goal is to make as little impact or disruption as possible to the ecosystem surrounding the new home.
That being said, there is no reason to build a home that is larger than what your family needs. Unused space means more clutter and higher utility bills – two things that are not green at all. The exception is if you anticipate needing more room in the future, such as if you plan to add to your family by having a baby, adopting a child, or taking in an elderly relative.
Always think ahead. Do you plan to live in this home a decade from now? Three decades from now? What will you need on down the road in your life? One example is empty nesters who need to downsize. Will your new home still suit you when you reach this point in your life?
Before you do anything else, do your research. You should be educated in green building so you know what to ask for in regards to eco-friendly products, low-VOC paints, and certain types of lighting. When you research, look for disclaimers like recycled, sustainable, and toxic-free to ensure safety as well as eco-friendliness.
When it comes time to build, make sure you get the right plot. Get one that is close to town and makes the least impact on the local wildlife and other elements of the ecosystem. Living closer to town means wasting less fossil fuels on a long commute or for running errands.
The next thing you want to consider is solar energy. Have the green builder position your home on your land so that it gets un-compromised access to the sun from about 9:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m. with southern exposure, if possible.
Keep large, glass windows and walls off the southern side of your home. Paint that side of your home a light color so the heat does not radiate through the walls. You can also plant trees or large shrubs along the south wall to help increase the amount of natural shade around that area of your home, too.
Eco-friendly products are widely available. There is no good reason to avoid using them. Regardless of the materials you need for your home, you should be able to find an eco-friendly version of them. Most places that you order from online, which can bring your prices down, do offer return plans in case the materials you ordered do not work out, too.