Concern about the environment that surrounds us is growing among individuals and governments alike. As governments around the world come together to discuss climate change, individuals here in the United States are also trying to find ways they can help the cause. One option for homebuyers who are building a new home is to incorporate various eco-friendly design choices to lower the home’s carbon footprint.
Here are six ways your local new home builder can help you create a more environmentally friendly home. We’ll start out small on this list and work our way up because any changes you make at any level can have a big impact.
CFL or LED Lightbulbs
One of the simplest changes you can make in your new home is to use energy efficient lightbulbs. According to Energy.gov, CFL and LED lightbulbs use between 25 to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, and in addition to using less energy, they also last 3 to 25 times longer. The upfront cost is a little more than ‘traditional’ lightbulbs, but over time, this is the economical and eco-friendly choice.
Low VOC Paint
Stepping up a notch, the choice of paint you use can also lower your environmental footprint. The issue with paint and other stains and coatings is that they contain VOCs – volatile organic compounds. These VOCs evaporate into the air while the paint is drying and even for years afterward. Health problems could include nausea, dizziness and even organ damage, which is why you should always paint in a ventilated area. However, these VOCs then escape into the outside air where they add to pollution.
Every house needs paint, so a simple way to be more eco-friendly is to request your home builder use low or no VOC paints. Once again, they are a little more expensive but much better for your physical health and the health of the environment.
Energy Efficient Options
With a few of the basics out of the way, let’s briefly discuss a larger area where you can make your home more eco-friendly – energy efficient options. This can range from installing better insulation, choosing double or triple pane windows, and buying energy efficient appliances. There are certainly a lot of energy efficient options available these days, so talk to your home builder to see what options might be a good fit for your new home.
So far our list has focused on eco-friendly trends related to energy usage. However, you can also help the environment by conserving natural resources including water. Greywater refers to lightly used water that goes down your drain.For example, the water that drains out from your sink, shower and washing machine. Although this water has some particles and dirt in it, it can still be used for some purposes. By talking to your home builder, you can make a plan to reuse your greywater. For example, by installing pipes that lead the greywater outside, you can then use this water to fertilize your lawn and garden.
Net Zero Energy
To take an even bigger step toward making your home eco-friendly, your home builder can help you build a home that is ‘net zero’ in terms of energy. When considering energy, you can think about it in two ways – the energy you consume and the energy you produce. A net zero energy home is one that produces as much or more energy than it consumes.
While most homes do not produce their own energy, renewable energy sources like solar panels are becoming more popular and affordable. In addition to installing a way for your home to produce energy, your home builder can also work on adding features (such as those discussed above) to make your home consume as little energy as possible. By finding the right balance, you can create a net zero energy home.
Green Home Certification
A final way to make your home eco-friendly is by following recommendations to achieve green home certification. One of the most popular is LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This program has specifications for various categories like water efficiency, materials, energy, and more. If you pass a certain number of their standards, you will get a green home certification.
In addition to LEED, there are several other certification programs, including NAHB, Energy Star as well as local and state programs. Even if you don’t go all the way to getting certified, you can research these programs and incorporate as many of the elements as possible.
Governments across the globe are working together to solve the problem of climate change, but you should never underestimate the power of individual actions. Whether you are a first-time new home buyer or have built a home in the past, you should know your home builder is eager to make your wishes come true. If building a more eco-friendly home is on your list of priorities, gather your ideas and start planning with your home builder today!