If you are building a new house or renovating your old one and want to make it sustainable, start living “green,” Then, there are several aspects to think about and consider. From the exterior to the interior of your home, there are many ways to start an eco-friendly life and make an energy-efficient home for you and your family.
What is a sustainable home and why make one?
A sustainable home is an eco-friendly one, based and constructed on the basis of natural, recycled and environmentally friendly resources and sources of power and energy. The goal of sustainable homes is to reduce energy consumption, and with it lower your utility costs, as well as to use all other resources rationally and efficiently, such as water and land. They are designed to reduce carbon emissions, pollution, waste and, in the end, help take care of the environment.
Walls and insulation
It is very important to properly and adequately insulate your home. It may sound obvious and overly simple, but it is important to place the right amount of insulation in the right places, as well as install your windows properly in order to allow air circulation and create a healthy environment. Already with this, you will cut your energy bills and reduce the use of heaters and air conditioning.
When it comes to walls, choosing a material for your wall is very important because they are responsible for most of the heat loss from your house. Another thing to consider is the breathability of the walls as breathable walls can help to regulate the humidity, creating a healthy internal environment. You should use reprocessed and recycled materials, but at the same time make sure that they are durable and safe. Some of the best solutions are non-fired bricks, straw, rammed earth and wood.
A sustainable roof protects your home from moisture and leaks, prevents energy loss, lasts for many years and is recyclable. Much like with the walls, if the roof is properly installed and insulated, the energy required to cool or heat the interiorsis reduced.
First of all, when it comes to roofs you should consider those with a longer warrantee, i.e. one that will last up to 50 years, which will in turn depend on the material used. Some of the best options would be metal roofs which have some of the longest warrantees, are very easily recycled, safe and reduce the roof weight. Wood shakes or slate is another sustainable option for roofs as they are usually made from a natural, organic and recycled material, and are also very durable.
Green roofs are also an interesting sustainable solution. They are partially or completely covered by vegetation, they absorb rainwater and prevent runoff. They block UV rays and provide great acoustic and thermal insulation for your home, as well as reduce the heat island effect in urban environments.
Powering your home
Think about purchasing a renewable energy system to power your home. It does take time and money to do the research, buy, and maintain such a system, but many people enjoy the knowledge that their actions are helping the environment.
First of all, it is important to determine the overall energy efficiency of your home. Considering the energy efficiency measures before you buy your renewable energy system will reduce your electricity use and allow you to buy a smaller and less expensive system.
A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies for powering your house while being eco-friendly and saving energy. Some the most popular and efficient are solar electric systems, geothermal heat pumps and wind electric systems. The main goal of these new technologies and systems is reducing your electricity use. Solar panels, for example, absorb the energy from the sun and use it to generate heat or electricity, and solar hot water heaters use the sun’s heat and energy to heat the water in your house. Small wind electric systems use the wind’s energy to generate some of the electricity for your home, and they are one of the most cost-effective renewable energy systems.
It is also important, although often times neglected, to buy proper appliances for your house. You should conduct a research and get informed on appliances that consume less energy and water. Look into Energy Star appliances and think about purchasing them. They may be a bit more expensive, but they will save you money on utility bills in the long run, as well as help the environment.
Chris is a writer and editor for Arizona Roofing Systems, Mesa. He promotes sustainable living, green roofing and solar energy use.