Going Green: Ways You Can Build a More Eco-friendly and Sustainable Home

Green Design has been around for much of the 20th century but has started gaining more traction and popularity in the last few decades as environmental issues have come to the forefront and many people have decided to adopt more eco-friendly practices.

There are many reasons to going green with interior design in your home. For one, it’s a great long-term investment and can increase the value of your home, you’ll also save money on utilities in the long run. If you’re conscious about your carbon footprint and would like to create a healthier home for you and your family you should consider green design. Sustainable architecture and design focus on creating homes with better air quality, as green building materials are non-toxic, as well as using environmentally friendly building materials, and reducing energy waste and use.

If you still need some convincing here are some green building facts to know: 

  • Green homes use 20-30% less energy and water on average, with some saving up to 60% of energy use.
  • Sustainable homes can be built for the same or close to the same cost as non-green homes, with homeowners also saving money on utilities in the long run
  • About one-third of single-family home builders are doing green builds for a majority of their projects

(sources: USGBC.org and Lotnetwork.com)

If you’re planning a new build and want to make your home more green, keep reading for all the ways you can build an eco-friendly home.

Source Recycled And Sustainable Build Materials

All the materials used in building your home can be recycled, non-toxic, and/or sustainably made. Everything from insulation and structural materials, to roofing, flooring, paint, and finishes come in green options. Wool and hemp insulation, bamboo, cork, reclaimed and recycled wood and metal are all common green alternatives to traditional materials. 

Check out The Spruce for more information on eco-friendly building materials.

Incorporate Natural Light and Eco-Friendly Lighting

Design your home to take advantage of the natural light available. Incorporate skylights and large windows, the more natural light you let into your home the less electricity you’ll need during the day. Think about installing glass that limits heat transfer, this could mean double or triple pane windows depending on your location. Use Energy Star windows, doors, and skylights that are certified to be energy efficient.

Install light fixtures only where you need them and use LED energy-efficient lighting. Energy Star lights use up to 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and they last longer.

Energy-Efficient Appliances 

Beyond windows and lighting, you can install energy-efficient equipment throughout your entire home from kitchen appliances, washers and dryers, HVAC systems, and electronics. The Energy Star label on an appliance or piece of equipment means that it has been certified as energy-efficient by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These appliances will help you save on energy use and lower your energy bill, without sacrificing quality or performance. 

Insulation and Ducts

A well-insulated home is an eco-friendly home. Not only should you think about using insulation materials that are friendly to the planet, but make sure your home is insulated properly. This means that you’ll have to use less energy to cool and heat your home, which will also save you money.

Similar to insulation, it’s important that your duct system is properly installed and sealed. Any leaks could mean that you’re wasting energy and using more than you need.

Water Conservation

Install kitchen and bathroom water faucets that are low-volume to conserve water. Also, think about dual flush toilets to help reduce your water usage. Not only will you cut your water bill, but you’ll cut back on using excess water as dual flush toilets use about 67% less water than regular toilets. 

Solar Energy

You may want to consider investing in solar panels or installing solar energy equipment in your home. Did you know that 40% of homeowners believe that solar only works when the sun is shining? While solar power is becoming more accessible and popular, there are still misconceptions about how solar power works and how to incorporate it into a home.

This Old House Reviews just published a piece that helps homeowners discover the practical applications and environmental benefits of adding solar power to their homes. Not only will you have energy bill savings but it can increase the value of your home, again depending on where you live.

Aside from the solar panels, you can install on your roof, other solar options are solar heating for your home, solar water heaters, solar ventilation fans, solar pool heating, and outdoor solar lights.

Eco-Friendly Landscaping

Sustainable design extends beyond the home into your landscaping. If you live somewhere where it rains infrequently and there are drier seasons, you may want to have drought-tolerant landscaping. This means that the design will not involve grass lawns or plants that use a lot of water, instead, the focus is on creating a beautiful landscape of plants that are watered sparingly like succulents.

However, if you love the look of a grass lawn but don’t want to use the water needed for upkeep there are very natural-looking turf options. While installing turf costs more upfront than natural grass, they are very low maintenance. 

Again, depending on your location you may be able to plant trees and greenery that can provide shade and help keep your home cool during warmer weather. In the cooler seasons, the trees will lose their leaves and let more light on the home when needed.

Hire Green Professionals

Last but not least, to make your green design dreams a reality consider hiring professionals (contractors, architects, and designers) that specialize in or have experience with designing sustainable homes. Look for professionals with a LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – an internationally recognized certification for green building – or make sure they have the proper experience and knowledge. That way you can be sure you get the most out of your green home.

Additional resources: 

Do you need some help designing your eco-friendly home? Schedule a consult with us.