What Goes into Creating a Green Home

What Goes into Creating a Green Home

By Contractors.com Team September 26, 2023

With sustainability becoming an increasingly significant consideration, more and more homeowners have been shifting towards sustainable architecture and eco-friendly living. This basically means creating homes that have less of a carbon footprint. And the opportunities to design a living space that’s sustainable, welcoming, and functional are ever-so-available. 

Considering the growing environmental issues that the planet is facing, it only makes sense to take the initiative of going green. That being said, several measures come to mind when creating a green home. These range from opting for eco-friendly building materials all the way to household options such as LED lights and generally anything else that’s easy on the environment. 

Environmentally Conscious Location and Direction

If you happen to be starting your green home construction from square one, you’ll want to pick a location and come up with a layout with sustainability in mind. Regarding location, several factors come into play. Choosing a spot where public transportation is easily accessible, for instance, may reduce the need for a car. 

The direction of the house is another factor to consider. You can keep indoor temperatures at a moderate level by having your home’s largest surface area face east and west. South-facing windows, on the other hand, maximize the amount of natural light that enters your home. And should you be making use of solar panels, orient them southward for maximum exposure to sunlight. 

Recycled Construction Materials

As opposed to traditional construction materials, recycled ones don’t impact the environment much. Traditional materials require more energy and resources to produce and end up in landfills once they’ve served their purpose. 

When it comes to green home building, various sustainable materials come to mind. These include recycled glass, reclaimed wood or brick, and recycled asphalt shingles. If you don’t have access to any recycled materials, you can minimize the environmental impact by going for recyclable and locally sourced options. 

Making use of eco-friendly construction materials is an integral part of building a green home.

Making use of eco-friendly construction materials is an integral part of building a green home.

Living Roofs and Walls

Perhaps the most visually appealing way to create an eco-friendly home is to include living elements. Living, or green, roofs and walls essentially feature a layer that retains water, allowing plants to grow on the surface. The plant growth serves as natural insulation and contributes to energy efficiency. And needless to say, it adds to the beauty of your home. 

Non-Conventional House Style

Non-conventional options for eco-friendly housing are becoming more popular among homeowners, turning to sustainable solutions. These include prefabricated shipping containers, as well as tiny houses. Prefabricated homes are normally constructed in factories and then assembled on-site. Their efficient construction and transportation to the site allow them to have a lower environmental impact. 

Shipping container homes, as per the name, are composed of recycled shipping containers. In many cases, these types of houses consist of more than one shipping container. Though not suitable for everyone, tiny houses present an ideal solution for sustainable living as they require less energy and have a smaller footprint. Normally ranging from 100 to 400 square feet, these houses are perfect for minimalists and those who are often on the go. 

Non-conventional homes can be both visually appealing and environmentally friendly.

Non-conventional homes can be both visually appealing and environmentally friendly.

Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows

Windows and exterior doors — drafty ones, in particular — can contribute to a great deal of energy loss. This results in high energy consumption and, in turn, high energy bills. High-performance doors and windows are key for a green home design. In regards to energy-efficient exterior doors, fiberglass is the ideal choice. As for green energy windows, low-E and double-glazed glass often perform best — triple-glazed being an even better option for colder climates where heat retention is crucial. Your best bet is to go for Energy Star-rated doors and windows. 

Renewable Energies

There’s a good reason why solar panels are among the most popular options regarding renewable energies. Installing them is relatively simple and allows for considerable savings on energy down the line. What’s even better is that, due to technological advancements, the upfront cost of solar panels is significantly lower than it used to be. 

Another option for green home systems is geothermal energy. Much like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems essentially harness energy from the sun — just not in the same way. Instead, they draw this energy from the ground. And as with solar panels, they contribute to a great deal of energy savings.

Eco-Friendly Insulation

Insulation is an integral part of a home’s overall energy efficiency. Building a green home should ideally involve using high-efficiency insulation materials. 

It’s worth mentioning that traditional insulation materials tend to pose a hazard to the environment. This is where eco-friendly options such as cork come in. What’s even better about these options is that they’re also sustainable to produce. 

Household Options for a Sustainable Home

LED Lighting

LED bulbs are proven to be more energy-efficient than other forms of lighting. Their incredibly low energy waste and long lifespan make them a go-to choice for green home solutions. An even more optimal option would be smart LED lights that automatically switch off when there’s nobody in the room — besides offering other features that add to the energy efficiency.  

LED lights are available in a wide variety of different forms.

LED lights are available in a wide variety of different forms.

Smart Thermostat

Smart home technology can often go hand-in-hand with eco-friendly homes. That being said, one device that particularly comes to mind is a smart thermostat. Besides the renewable heating and cooling they offer, smart thermostats also help moderate the overall energy usage by optimizing and adapting the indoor air temperature. 

Energy Star-Rated Appliances

Household appliances are known to consume a great deal of energy in a home. Eco-friendly products can significantly minimize this energy consumption, making them ideal for a green home. When shopping for appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines, looking for Energy Star-rated ones is always a good idea. 

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Cleaning solutions made from household ingredients can be an environmentally conscious alternative to commercial products. The latter often contain harsh chemicals that are not only harmful to the environment but may also pose health risks. While you can find a number of eco-friendly products, your best bet is to use what you already have in your home. Baking soda and white vinegar, for instance, can come in handy for various purposes, such as unclogging a drain or eliminating mold. 

Fresh Produce Garden

Growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables is another measure for maintaining an eco-friendly home. It presents a great alternative to buying produce that usually comes from large-scale agriculture — which is often associated with deforestation. Besides promoting sustainability, a home garden can be beneficial for personal health as well. 

Building a compost bin can take your gardening to the next level. Composting can be great for waste reduction, water conservation, improving soil health, as well as cutting greenhouse gasses. Creating a green home is a lot like a journey. And being environmentally conscious is often the first step towards embracing a lifestyle that benefits both you and the environment. 

Growing your own produce allows you to "go green" in every sense of the word.

Growing your own produce allows you to "go green" in every sense of the word.


Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team

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