When you build a new home/remodeling, you can look into being more environmentally conscious by installing/changing things around your house to be more energy efficient. Energy efficiency not only helps the environment, it will also help you reduce energy cost in the long run.
Energy Start Approved
When buying new appliances, look out for Energy Star approved items, as they have low energy consumption and will do more than help the environment. These appliances use less energy to run, thus saving cost/money and energy. They might cost a little more upfront, but will return in saving cost in the long run.
Some companies or organization will even give you a discount for getting rid of your old appliances. Check with your city or your power company to check. They also might haul away your old one for free.
Using Recycled Materials
Using recycled materials for your remodel would conjure up image of dirty paint being in the can and wood that isn\’t the best quality. That is not even remotely close to the truth. All that is done is the old paint or wood are cleaned and re-used, and are probably better than the originals were, and are basically new, as well as being more energy efficient.
Natural Energy Resources
Installing a windmill or a solar panels for energy is very energy efficient and can save you tons of money, but you still have to pay a lot up front. Make sure that you are following all city codes. Solar panels can save you a lot of money, but you have to do your homework. Things like windmills aren\’t always welcome in the neighborhood. Sometimes it doesn\’t save you money, but it can still help the environment. The money spent from power costs overtakes the money that you spent buying the energy efficient water heater or dishwasher, so it is definitely an option to look out for when remodeling/building your new home.
Green Building Materials
There are natural construction methods that offer greener alternatives to using wood and may be the best choice for your green dream home. However, you will need to check with the local building department before beginning natural construction project. If you are wanting to use something else, you may need special approval from the building department.
Some of the materials and methods of green construction include:
- Straw: Walls are stacked with bales of straw from harvesting of wheat, oats, barley, rice, rye, or flax on bamboo or rebar stakes to make walls with an insulation that is 3 times that of a wood-frame home.
- Cordwood: Short, round length of wood is stacked up into a wall. Mainly made of what would normally be cast aside for firewood, the cordwood is held together with mortar, creating a wall with both high insulation and high thermal mass.
- Earth: Clay, dirt, sand are very green building material and completely fireproof. Adobe construction is used most often in drier, sunny regions. The mud bricks are stacked up and capped with a concrete beam, which helps spread the weight of the roof and ties all the walls together.
- Ceramic earth walls are constructed with adobe with very high clay content in either bricks or tubes, the finished walls are fired in place to become hardened ceramic. These permanent, waterproof, and earthquake-resistant homes use all four natural elements: Earth and water to make the bricks and fire and air to finish them.
- Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, which makes it very similar to adobe, but instead of being formed into bricks, cob is built up a handful at a time. Requiring little money or skill, a cob home can be built by homeowners willing to get their hands dirty.
- Rammed earth is man-made stone. Rammed earth walls are made by packing a mix of soil with around 3 percent of Portland cement, which acts as a binding and strengthening agent, within a two-sided form. The finished rammed earth wall is nearly as strong as concrete.
- Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth (PISÉ) is much less labor intensive than rammed earth. A one-sided form is placed over the building foundation and a watery mixture of earth and Portland cement is sprayed onto this form.
- Earthship walls are earth-filled tires set into the ground. The house is buried on three sides with the side open to the sun designed to allow it in during the winter and keep it out in the summer. An Earthship heats and cools itself without consuming any fossil fuels.
There are plenty of ways of making your already existing home a place that conserves energy and is mindful of the environment. Simply adding plants into the home will improve the air quality and make living a more pleasant experience.