When you think of building a home that is good for the environment, a big dollar amount may pop in your head. You may be under the impression that going green is expensive. However, there are a number of ways you can build a home that contributes to the health of the environment and saves you money. In fact, often times it’s cheaper to opt for eco-friendly route.
Use Salvaged Materials
As your house is being built, use recycled supplies to save money while having a positive environmental impact. Purchase secondhand lumber, plumbing fixtures or hardware. Before installing them into your home, test them for contaminants, lead, or asbestos. Once they have been cleared for use, they will add a low-cost design feature to your home.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Consider how many people will be living in the home and then design a space just big enough to accommodate them. Try not to build a house with too much extra space. Smaller homes mean less materials used in construction, and more room for an outdoor garden. Not to mention you will save lots of money if you build a home to simply fit your needs.
Install Water Saving Features
Since you will get to choose the water appliances in your home, opt for ones that conserve rather than waste. Choose low-flow showerheads for your bathrooms. Install water aerators on your faucets. Aerators have a mesh insert that restricts water flow with pockets of air. This creates a consistent water pressure and uses less water. Conserving water will help you save money while helping the environment.
Implement an HVAC Zoning System
An HVAC zoning system is an efficient way to heat and cool your house on a budget. The unit allows you to program your thermostat to heat and cool only the areas you are using. If there are rooms you only use for entertaining, you can choose to not to heat or cool them. While the units cost more than regular systems, they will save you money in the long term.
Make Use of the Overhang on Your House
Have a least three feet of overhang built as your roof is constructed. This will create shade for your windows which reduces the amount of sun hitting your house. In the summer months, this will help keep your house cool. If the overhang doesn’t do the job, you can get awnings built or a covered porch to reap the same benefits.
Purchase Energy Efficient Windows
Buying triple or double pane windows is a worthy investment because you will save money in the long run. If you see these are too expensive for your budget, opt for windows with a solar reflective film. These reflect heat from the outside during the summer, and reflect heat from the inside during warmer months.
Make Insulation a Priority
Making sure your home’s floors, attic and walls are properly insulated is important in conserving energy. Insulating your home will save you money on heating and cooling costs. Insulation also absorbs sound, reducing unwanted ambient noises. In addition to saving energy, insulation keeps potentially dangerous molds or mildew from growing throughout your house. Make sure the insulation put in your house is formaldehyde-free to protect your family’s health.
Install Ceiling Fans Throughout the House
In each of the bedrooms in your home, install ceiling fans that spin clockwise and counterclockwise. During the cold months, running the fan clockwise will enable the heat to travel up heating the home. As the weather turns warmer, flipping the fans to counter-clockwise to spread cool air. This can keep you from having to run your unit on a low or high temperature for an extended period of time.
Choose Furniture and Rugs Made of Environmentally Friendly Materials
After your home is built, take into consideration how to implement environmentally friendly decor. Choose furniture made from refurbished wood. Ask if the hardware store has any appliances made from recycled steel. When decorated, choose rugs that are made from natural fibers. These are made from renewable resources and are biodegradable. Untreated or minimally treated wool, organic cotton, jute and seagrass are all good options when it comes to rug material.