The Rise of Eco-Friendly Building Practices
Going green is more than a trend; it's a movement focused on the planet's future. If you're planning to construct a new home, environmentally conscious building methods are worth investigating. Learning more about what eco-friendly building is and finding ways to add green construction practices to your own project just might change your long-term goals as a homeowner.
We've put together some information on eco-friendly building and its benefits. You'll find ideas about environmentally friendly materials and sustainable construction techniques as well as green furniture and decor choices to help you along the way. Keep reading to learn more about factors to consider in an eco-friendly home, why they matter and which options best suit your lifestyle.
What Makes A Building Environmentally Friendly?
Architects and construction experts design environmentally friendly buildings by considering all components of the project. These professionals select materials and tools while carefully mitigating the structure's impact on its surroundings.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, builders aiming for eco-friendliness should strive to:
- Use sustainable materials
- Reduce waste output
- Enhance indoor air quality
- Ensure water and energy efficiency
- Ease the strain on local resources
To create a green, sustainable home, you'll need to work with your builder and consider some or all of these factors.
Benefits of Eco-Friendly Building
Sustainable construction techniques offer several advantages to homeowners. Eco-friendly homes require less energy for heating, cooling and lighting, which reduces utility costs. You and your family could also stand to gain numerous health benefits by choosing natural building materials over traditional supplies.
Reducing your carbon footprint helps the planet as well as your budget. When your home uses fewer resources, it minimizes the impact on both local and global ecosystems. In turn, you'll get the satisfaction of being a responsible homeowner and citizen of the Earth.
List of Eco-Friendly Materials Used in Construction
Some traditional building materials can have a negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are several eco-friendly alternatives. Listed below are a few popular choices and their uses:
- Bamboo - This plant is strong and lightweight. Builders often use it for framing, flooring and more. Unlike trees, bamboo has a rapid regrowth rate. Since this material replenishes so quickly, it's a sustainable alternative to wood lumber.
- Recycled Steel - Repurposed steel has a higher strength to weight ratio than other materials, which makes it ideal for environmentally friendly buildings. The Steel Recycling Institute also claims that constructing wood framing for a 2,000 square foot home requires up to 50 trees, while recycled steel uses only the equivalent of six cars' worth of metal.
- Plant-based Rigid Foam - Derived from naturally grown hemp, kelp or bamboo, this insulation omits the plastic typically used to make similar materials. It offers heat and moisture resistance and protects homes against pests, too.
- Recycled Wood or Plastic Lumber - Manufacturers process discarded wood or single-use plastic products into viable timber. These materials are often sturdier with fewer toxins than treated lumber.
- Recycled Glass - Use recycled glass as a sustainable solution for home beautification. Reformed bottles and jars shine in kitchens and bathrooms just the same as any new material. Salvaged items also require much less energy to create.
Green Construction Practices
Green construction practices make use of sustainable materials to assemble your home with minimal environmental impact. Here are a few tricks for building and decorating your eco-friendly retreat:
Compact buildings demand less power for lighting, cooling and heating than wide-open floorplans. Unsure how to make a modest house as comfortable as a spacious two-story? Furnishing your small space strategically maximizes its functionality and style.
If you live in a place that gets plenty of sun, consider installing solar panels to power your sustainable home. While the up-front cost can be daunting, solar energy pays off in the long run by saving major money on your electric bills.
Strategic window placement is an eco-friendly building tactic that takes advantage of sunlight. With the help of natural light, you reduce the need for electricity to illuminate your space.
Minimize the power used to keep your house warm or cool with good insulation. Some environmentally conscious choices are straw, sheep's wool and plant-based foam.
Utilize Recycled Materials
Save money by seeking out salvaged supplies. Making use of recycled lumber, glass or plastic items is a far greener option than buying these resources brand new. Consider using biodegradable products whenever possible as well.
Use Locally Sourced Materials
Avoid inflating your construction project's carbon footprint by using materials available nearby. Long-distance shipping requires fuel, but you can offset that energy consumption by shopping local.
Consider Geothermal Heating
Engage the power of the Earth's core by heating and cooling your home with geothermal energy. Primarily powered by natural heat produced underground, this new technology uses only a small amount of electricity, which lowers your utility bills.
Use Sustainable Decor
When you're ready to furnish your sustainable home, spend some time considering eco-friendly decor ideas. Opting for natural materials rather than plastic is a perfect way to start. Seek out a wood dining set and search for furniture upholstered in plant-based fabrics. Recycled, reclaimed and thrifted items are also eco-friendly options.
Shop consciously when decorating. Think critically about where your purchases come from and consider the items' manufacturing process. Choose beds, seating, tables and accents intentionally, so you choose timeless, durable furnishings instead of buying pieces that end up in a landfill after a year or two.
Less Impact; Greater Reward
Keeping the environment in mind when building a home helps reduce your personal impact on the Earth. Make your eco-friendly building needs clear to your contractor, and follow the best green practices when purchasing furniture to make your space more sustainable. Embrace the joy of mindful shopping as you design your eco-friendly dwelling and make your house a home.