Sustainable architecture is a term used to describe buildings that have a low impact on the environment or the buildings that leave lesser carbon footprint. The green building market is growing, and it’s expected to be among the fastest-growing industries worldwide in the next few years.
States like Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are already topping the list for having the most sustainable architecture, so how can you join them when building your solar home?
There are nine practices of sustainable architecture you can use effectively when building your new solar home. These building techniques will reduce your environmental impact without sacrificing your comfort.
1. Keep It Small
How much space do you really need? Studies have shown that people don’t use all of the rooms in their homes. Dining rooms and guest rooms are often left untouched, so what’s the point in having them when they require the use of finite resources?
The smaller house you design, the fewer resources will be used to build and maintain it. That means you can build with a clear conscience knowing that you’re not wasting material for rooms that will hold nothing but clutter. A smaller home is also easier to heat and cool, especially when using solar power.
2. Be Energy-Efficient
Since you’re building a solar home, you probably already know some solar facts, but let’s revisit just in case. Solar energy is the cleanest form of renewable energy and it produces 80% fewer carbon emissions than traditional electricity.
It also lowers your electricity costs, so now is the time to contact a solar installer. Calling an installer with good ratings and satisfied customers now, means that your house can be up and running with solar power on day one.
In addition to using solar power, you can be energy-efficient by installing eco-friendly appliances and lights.
3. Build A Root Cellar
A root cellar is a structure that is partially or fully underground that is used to safely store food. Before the invention of the refrigerator, root cellars were the go-to way to keep food from going bad. Root cellars can store large amounts of food without needing power, so consider adding one to your plans.
4. Install A Tankless Water Heater
Traditional water heaters hold and re-heat gallons of unused water throughout the day. This wastes a significant amount of energy to keep water hot when you aren’t even using it. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, heat water only as you need it.
Because of this, they’re 24 to 34 percent more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters. This number can go up when paired with a solar energy system. Installing a tankless water heater is an easy way to save resources and money in your new home.
5. Choose Recycled Materials
Using recycled materials for your build prevents the consumption of new wood and other resources. As sustainable building becomes more popular, so do ethical contractors, so look for one who can help you. They’ll know where to find high-quality recycled materials for your project without breaking the bank.
6. Build A Home That Lasts
In recent decades there’s been an increase in poor workmanship in homes. Our culture’s throw-away mindset has led to the idea that new is always better. This thinking leads to homes that fall apart and must be replaced or repaired in just a few years.
You can help offset this by building a solar home that’s meant to last. Hiring a responsible contractor who uses quality workers and materials will guarantee you a good build. Setting your home up with sustainable features like solar power also makes it easier to resell. This means your house will last for years to come and can make someone else happy one day.
7. Look For Local Materials
Local materials don’t have to be shipped in, which cuts down on the fossil fuels used to transport them. Additionally, they give your home the feeling of belonging in the area you’re building it in.
For example, if you’re in a rocky area, you might consider using local stones to do stonework on your house. These kinds of natural materials blend in with other sustainable features, like your root cellar and solar energy setup. They’re also known to be better for your health when used in your home.
8. Make Use Of Windows
Windows are typically responsible for the loss of about 10% of your home’s heating and cooling. When you lose that air, the heating and cooling system has to keep working to replace it. That wastes energy, even if you’re using solar power. Because you’re building your home, you have the chance to prevent that before it starts.
Choosing energy-efficient windows will lower your air loss, allowing you to use less heat and air and keep the thermostat where it should be. So how do you choose the best windows for your home? There are a few options to consider including double and triple-paned windows. Here are a few quick facts about them.
- Triple-paned windows keep in 7% more heat than double-paned windows.
- Double and triple-paned windows offer the same amount of noise cancellation.
- Triple-paned windows are considered more secure because there’s an additional layer that must be broken to enter.
- Double-paned windows are easier to install.
When in doubt, seek a professional opinion about which option is the best choice for your sustainable build.
9. Keep Your Trees
Sustainable architecture extends to what’s around your home too. Don’t cut down all the trees to make room. Instead, look for areas of your land where they’re naturally sparse and build there so you won’t have to remove as many trees.
Any trees you do have to cut down can be used in the building of your home. That allows you to recycle them immediately and prevents them from being burned or otherwise destroyed.
While large trees too close to a house can be a safety issue, small trees help keep your home cool by providing shade. That means your solar energy system doesn’t have to work as hard. So if you must cut down large trees, plant some small trees to replace them. Both you and the environment will benefit.
Sustainable architecture comes in many forms. These are only nine great practices you can use when building your new solar home. Consult with an experienced contractor to come up with other ways to make your house as sustainable as possible.