By: Emily Newton
Contractors, companies and DIY home builders are adjusting to a volatile housing market and societal and governmental recommendations for greener lives.
For new builds, it must be a goal from now on to focus on sustainable design techniques to set precedents for a more eco-conscious future. The logistics sector can assist related businesses in performing these tasks with ease because building a sustainable home requires collaboration.
There is no right way to build an environmentally friendly home, but here are some of the most relevant and practical techniques for making the most impact.
Start by focusing outside. Though many get exhilarated by the inside possibilities, the outdoors is equally important when considering sustainability. Working with native wildlife is vital because it takes numerous environmental criteria into account. If homeowners want to landscape, pick what already thrives in the region. Native plants grew in their climate for a reason, requiring less maintenance and care than foreign plants because homeowners won’t have to compensate for the plants being out of their element.
Having native plants also encourages local wildlife to move outdoors with less resistance and greater comfort. Plus, they won’t be exposed to potentially toxic plants or eat less nutritious food than their standard diet. Invasive species are another concern and bringing unusual plants to the area could be the catalyst for potential invasions, whether disease or insects. Native landscaping will keep biodiversity alive and well, allowing regular reproduction as yards could provide supportive animal habitats.
Additionally, the home will waste fewer resources on native plants. They won’t require as much water or produce waste — if the plant can’t survive the climate, it could go to a landfill if not disposed of properly. Homeowners recognize these seemingly minor boons in utility bills, as plants don’t use excess water or chemical-laden supplemental resources to try and make them survive a climate they’re not acclimated to.
Building a passive home requires positioning to optimize the sun’s energy. With the right angles, homes could heat and stay cool naturally. During the winter, the house uses smartly placed windows to let sunlight enter the home. Then, the walls, flooring, or both, will absorb and store heat to release gradually throughout the day.
Wood is one of the most eco-friendly options, especially if it’s reclaimed or engineered hardwood. However, it’s exceptional for passive designs because wood retains heat well. Environmentalists will also enjoy the additional eco-friendly benefits of hardwood because they contain little or no volatile organic compounds while being conscientious of natural materials and minimizing raw material extraction.
During warmer months, awnings of these large windows prevent too much heat from entering the home while days remain long, keeping the inside temperature. There are multiple passive solar designs. Direct gain relies on south-facing windows and attached sunspace designs are sunrooms that collect heat to distribute all over the home.
Passive homes improve by incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that moderate and regulate temperature. IoT sensors — such as smart thermostats — can adjust the house to use fewer resources and cut utility costs by reacting to environmental stimuli.
Conscious Waste Management
Native landscaping is one way to reduce waste, but a design technique for sustainable home builds is reducing construction waste from the beginning. Builders can employ several methods to minimize construction waste, especially if they consider obtaining the most materials throughout the whole supply chain instead of when it hits the construction site.
Purchasing local, more sustainable materials reduces waste because there’s less transportation involved in getting it to the customer — eliminating the fuel and energy use from industrial fleet vehicles is ideal for lessening various kinds of waste. Plus, local material harvesters may be employing low-waste logistics of their own as a part of their business model, furthering the value of the wood homeowners purchase because it isn’t from a wasteful corporation.
Regarding the building process, ensure the build is resilient. Build the home to resist large-scale renovations or demolition because these are the most wasteful aspects of building. Whoever does the construction job can incorporate comprehensive recycling and composting protocols for appropriate materials. Homeowners can choose to build with easily recyclable building materials to maximize the value of this perk.
Naturally Integrated Homes
Some build homes that adapt to the environment. Though these are more creative projects, they could be worthwhile. For example, a house built inside a hillside could use the ground around the home as natural insulation.
Designs like this find the home needs minimal temperature regulation and align more with environmentalist values because owners would disturb less land if the job goes according to plan. The ground won’t require levelling — instead, the hill could remain with only a portion carved out. It also doesn’t tamper with natural habitats or force deforestation because it works with the environment instead of disrupting it.
Site selection is critical for homes that nestle within environmental structures. The house could have south-facing windows, optimizing for passive design or solar panels. It could allow urbanites to live close by without being too far removed if natural environments are nearby. Earth-sheltered homes don’t have to be isolated — thorough investigative work could find a piece of land that still allows homeowners to enjoy the benefits of a short commute or public transportation, further reducing environmental impact.
Water is becoming more of a discussed environmental topic. Water scarcity is a growing issue worldwide despite technically being a renewable resource. Builders can help by incorporating water conservation, recycling or capturing solutions in their homes. As with any environmental endeavor, there are multiple ways to accomplish this goal.
First, the home can incorporate water-saving machinery and electronics. WaterSense and Energy Star are valuable frameworks for scoping out appliances like laundry machines and low-flow toilets.
For homes with landscaping, gardens or farms, choosing native plants is the best way to use water intelligently. Keeping outdoor plants and produce watered could also happen via rain barrels, smart sprinklers or irrigation systems that can monitor soil moisture to prevent overwatering.
Homes could also reduce yard size, removing the need to maintain grass. If the plot has ample outdoor space, consider utilizing it for outdoor seating areas or playgrounds. The more use it receives, the better it will be for long-term water management.
Building Homes for the Environment
The construction and building industry is stepping up to the environmentalist challenge by getting creative with sustainable design techniques. Logistics professionals can provide resources and exercise patience as adjacent industries adapt to changing environmental regulations and customer desires. Homeowners can rejoice in accessible solutions for living more ethically and reducing environmental impact. Innovations constantly arise as creators find more ways to optimize homes of all styles to meet climate goals.