Deimira Paa Baidoo: 7 Considerations for Building an Eco-Friendly Home

When you think about custom building your home, there are many decisions to make. You choose the style of the house, the layout, the appliances and fixtures, and the construction materials. In today’s world, many homeowners also want to build a more eco-friendly property when constructing their dream home.

Modern sustainability is more than simply adding solar panels. When you are building from the ground up, you can incorporate a range of advanced eco-friendly design practices and purchasing decisions into your home.

How to Design and Construct a Sustainable Custom Home

Choosing to build sustainably benefits both your long term costs and the environment. You can design on a spectrum, selecting focus areas for eco-friendly decisions or living entirely off the grid. Eco-friendly construction with today’s technology also means that even the most sustainable homes can still be comfortable, efficient, and liveable.

Elements can be incorporated into every stage of the building process. Working with your architect, contractor, and designers, you can make your custom home more eco-friendly when you:

  1. Build Smaller - Every square foot of your home requires additional energy to heat, cool, and light. By thinking critically about the space you will use and trimming what is beyond your needs, you’ll save energy costs later. You can also save on construction costs in the short term.
  2. Choose Sustainable Materials - Recycled materials locally sourced have the smallest environmental impact. A growing focus on sustainability also means an increasing number of options for aesthetics, textures, and qualities.
  3. Orient Your Home For Solar and Wind - You should plan your home to optimize sun exposure in the winter months, both for solar panels and heat, while limiting sunlight during the summer. If using wind power, plan for clear pathways around turbines.
  4. Use Alternative Water Sources - Sustainable homes can incorporate a water reclamation or grey water system to limit water usage.
  5. Install Efficient Appliances - Install energy and water efficient appliances in the kitchens and bathrooms.
  6. Insulate Your Home - Heating and cooling requires the greatest amount of energy output for many homes. By insulating, sealing, and using double pane windows, you can reduce the temperature bleed through walls and windows.
  7. Ensure Ductwork Is Sealed - Inefficient heating and air conditioning systems also result in escaping air, and thus unused energy expenditure. When installing the ductwork, choose the right sizing for your square footage and seal it completely at all connections.

Building a home that has a low environmental impact can be more costly initially. Despite the importance of sustainability, eco-friendly building is still often an exception rather than the standard. Many developers continue to rely on more inexpensive materials and appliances for their homes.

The ongoing cost-savings are where those with a sustainable build see the benefits. Lower or no energy costs and lower water costs will continue to save money throughout the lifetime of your home.