Top Five Green Home Building Ideas
Here are some staggering statistics. Based on estimates, cities in the world generate 1.3 billion tons of waste annually with Asia accountable for 1 million tons per day. With current urbanization and population growth rate, the global waste generation is estimated to rise to 2.2 billion tons by 2025. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface.
Owing to the waste that is being produced globally, it is the responsibility of every human to work towards a zero waste life. This does not mean you cannot have your dream home. You can realize your dream, but by leaving a minimal carbon footprint. But how is this possible?
There are many methods to ensure that you can create eco-friendly spaces. A path-breaking example is The Edge in Amsterdam. It is easily the smartest and most green building and it ticks all the boxes to make itself a self-sustained structure.
Enlisted below is a list of ideas to build Green Homes:
1. Smaller the Better
All good things come in small packages. No matter how green you build a large home consumes more energy and a smaller home with the same eco-friendly construction techniques and material will have a smaller environmental impact. If you design your home keeping in mind your lifestyle, the space you use will be well utilized. Minimalism is the answer these days. Minimalism directly translates into green homes. Less purchasing, less storing and less hoarding leads to less disposal of waste. Your home can be cozy and small instead of palatial and cold.
2. Recycle- Reuse- Reduce- Repeat
There are many recycled materials being used in green homes these days. Few of them to consider are Glass, plastic, aluminum and even soda cans. It is important to discuss with your builder if steel, wood and plastic composites can be reused in your building.
Read our Article on Recycled and reused building materials
3. Use Sustainable material
Using sustainable material can reduce the impact of your construction on the environment. More and more people are opting for eco friendly products, which have a lifetime of durability. There are abundant range of green building materials which you can choose from.
1. Earthen Materials
4. SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels)
5. Insulated Concrete Forms
7. Slate/ Stone Roofing
11. Natural Fiber
13. Fiber Glass
15. Polystyrene and isocyanurate
16. Natural Clay
17. Non- VOC paints (Volatile Organic Compound)
18. Natural Fiber Floor
19. Fiber Cement
4. Get Creative with Minimizing usage of Water.
Reducing the use of freshwater directly equates itself to a green home. This includes fixtures and appliances that conserve water such as low flow faucet aerators, tankless water heaters and Energy Star rated washers. Creating a method to capture rainwater in your house can be very effective. It can be used to irrigate gardens; it can be reused in to fill other water features in the house for aesthetic purposes.
5. Make a Foolproof Landscaping Plan
Before you can begin actively landscaping your yard to be energy efficient, you should take the time to plan the area. Sketch out your home and yard. Include the exterior AC unit, any existing trees, shrubs, and plants; and features like a porch, patio, fence, shed, or wall. Mark the placement of lights, water features, decorations, and anything else in your yard or mounted to the house incorporating the typography naturally offered to you. Retaining old trees and vegetation makes a build natural, in one with the environment and most Eco-friendly.
6. Eco-friendly lighting
The Edge in Amsterdam (referenced above) uses natural light very effectively in its build. However, when natural lighting is not possible, there are many choices of light fittings and lighting plans to make your home more efficient. LED lights are most energy efficient. And have a longer lifespan reducing the frequent replacement but also they do not have any toxic elements. Records show that LED’s are 80 percent more efficient than traditional lights. Besides they have better quality of light distribution, which focuses in one direction rather than emitting light in all directions.
Using dimmers, recycling material for lamps and being vigilant as consumers go a long way in ensuring Eco-friendly lighting.
7. Tap and Trap the Sun
The sun offers unlimited and free energy making it very economical. Using this resource effectively and efficiently automatically makes your build Eco friendly. Placing solar panels to harness and trap energy that can create enough energy not only for personal consumption but enough for you to be able to start selling it back to the grid (government)
8. Get Floored by Eco Friendly Options
At first flooring may seem inconsequential to build a green home, but on account of the sheer surface area it covers and usage, it becomes an imperative part of a home. Natural materials like bamboo, hard wood, wool and cotton fiber carpets, cork, rubber etc are perfect Eco-friendly flooring options to choose from. Depending upon the material selected the substrata itself can use some environmentally sustainable material / technique for construction.
9. Use Insulation Intelligently
Reducing energy costs is one of the most important factors in selecting insulation. In cold weather, insulation is used to keep the warm air in. In warm weather, it keeps the hot air out. There are ample choices when it comes to choosing insulation for your home.
Take for example Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks. These blocks are composed of silica, sand, lime, cement, gypsum, water and aluminum powder. AAC is an excellent option for insulation. It allows easy installation reducing time of construction and due to its lower density AAC eliminates the need for separate materials. Owing to its increased thermal efficiency, AAC is recommended in areas, which experience extreme temperatures.
Fiberglass is another inexpensive and excellent option for insulation, which is commonly used. Fiberglass is non-flammable insulation material, due to its high resistance to heat flow. However handling Fiberglass can be challenging since it is made out of finely woven silicon, glass powder and tiny shards of glass.
Another alternative to insulation is mineral wool, which includes glass wool (made of fiber glass), rock wool (made from basalt) and slag wool (made of slag that comes from steel mills). The only drawback is that it is combustible and thus it must be used with other non-flammable insulation options.
Cellulose, made from recycled cardboard, paper and similar materials is also a good option for insulation. The way it is structured is such that it contains no oxygen within it, minimizing fire damage.
A good design is the crux to build better insulation. If you look at old haveli’s and palaces across India, these structures are a standing testimony on smart insulation.
10. Energy-efficient equipment
Fridges and other electronic gadgets with low power consumption, sanitary installations with low water consumption, energy productions through renewable energy resources such as solar panels and harvesting rainwater make a home energy efficient.
Going Green is akin to being smart. We must take onus and spruce up. If everyone does their bit, to ensure an Eco friendly environment, our planet can be saved from the clutches of our own bloody hands.