Whether or not you believe in climate change, global warming, and other temperature implications that come from the daily acts of mankind, sustainable construction is a big trend that should be considered when you build a brand new home. According to scientists, these issues are accelerating rapidly, and the construction industry has a huge part in the yearly volume of emissions.
Research shows that nearly 56 percent of all CO2 emissions in the United States come from construction processes. This includes transportation of materials, manufacturing of materials, design, operations on-site, and demolition. Then, there’s also the issue of filling up landfills with old construction materials that take millions of years to decompose.
Additionally, 39 percent of all emissions come from established buildings (commercial and residential). This is the highest volume of emissions for any sector, and could be drastically reduced if builders and occupants updated their properties and had better practices.
As a result of this environmental impact, construction companies have been working on more sustainable construction methods. Sustainable construction is all about using materials, design, and building methods that complement the earth’s life cycle. It’s a mindset of being more environmentally responsible and resource efficient.
When people plan their home’s construction, they’re often given the option of choosing traditional construction methods or sustainable. There are many things to consider in this process, including cost, since sustainable methods can be more expensive.
However, it’s often worth the initial investment because the result is a more efficient home. When you rely on green construction in the building process, your utility bills are smaller in the long run. The cost may be more in the beginning, but over time, you can see an excellent return on investment. In pursuit of a more efficient, affordable, and earth-conscious home, here are some of the most common sustainable building options available.
- Choose a Great Location
The most important eco-friendly construction choice you can make is to purchase a property in a location that’s right for you. It should be close to work, school, and other amenities so you can walk, bike, or take public transportation, rather than driving long commutes daily. Transportation is the second leading cause of emissions behind construction. You don’t want to counteract your sustainable construction efforts with high emissions from your transportation habits.
It’s also wise to consider the positioning of the home. Try to build facing north and south rather than east and west. This limits the sun exposure to the interior of your home, which will save on energy.
- Ask for Energy Efficient Equipment
Talk to your contractor about the equipment used for building. Ask if they have the most efficient models, and discuss their methods for conserving energy in the process. Fuel efficient machinery with reduced emissions are preferable. They should also have a habit of turning lights off when they aren’t working, shutting off equipment when not in use, and picking up after themselves as they go.
- Install Efficient Appliances
Look for the Energy Star label on any appliances you purchase. Energy Star is a government institution that rates the energy efficiency of appliances used within the home. If you see the Energy Star label, it means it will use minimal electricity, water, and other resources, helping you save on your utilities, without compromising the performance.
- Insulate Properly
Another important topic to discuss is the insulation used in your home. When you choose energy-efficient insulation that’s been properly installed, you can trap hot and cool air inside your home, and keep outside air from leaking in. This takes a lot of pressure off your HVAC system and significantly lower your utility bills.
- Commission Recycled and Sustainable Materials
Some construction materials are more sustainable than others. Whenever possible, seek recycled materials. Bamboo is popular for flooring and cabinets because it’s more easily renewable than wood. Explore your sustainable building materials and try to incorporate some of these into your home design. You’ll likely find that many sustainable materials are also major home design trends.
- Put Emphasis on the Windows
Look for the Energy Star rating on your window options as well. This indicates that the seals and materials used make a more efficient unit. Your window treatments can also influence the amount of air that enters and exits your home.
- Use Energy Efficient Lighting
Most people know now that using LED and CFL light bulbs use much less energy and last a lot longer than incandescent lights. Over the life of your home, this can add up to significant savings.
- Install Water Conservation Features
Approximately 70 percent of all water is used indoors, and the average American home uses 400 gallons of water per day. Smart toilets that decrease the amount of water used when flushed, shower heads that spray less water, and hands-free faucets can reduce your water consumption. Talk to your contractor about installing more efficient water features in your new home.
- Work with the Land
Most home builders look at a piece of land and think, “What can I do with this land to improve it?” Instead, try asking, “What can this land do for me to improve my home?” Using natural and drought-resistant landscaping, you can enjoy less costly landscaping and a diminished impact on the environment.
- Engage Smart Thermostats
Smart home technology is now available to average homes, and programmable thermostats provide infinite benefit. This tool allows you to set a schedule on your thermostat in which your HVAC system is set to run when you’re home and turn off when you’re out of the house. Many homes allow their thermostats to connect to your smartphone, allowing you to turn the air on or off, no matter where you are. You’ll see a significant decrease in utility costs as a result.
- Encourage Sustainable Construction Practices
Make your intentions for smarter home construction clear. Let workers know that you expect mindfulness with water use, disposal, recycling, and emissions. These efforts can reduce costs in the long run and lessen your total carbon footprint.
Contact Green Residential Today!
The team at Green Residential is composed of expert property managers and real estate gurus who know what’s trending in home construction and what’s not. With our services, you can get the most bang for your buck on anything that has to do with real estate in the Katy and Houston, Texas areas. For more information about what we can do for you, contact us today!