6.2 MIN READ

How to: Build an eco-friendly home

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How to incorporate eco-friendly features into your home

Sustainable living is the topic du jour, with many people wondering how to cut down on waste and boost efficiency. It’s an increasingly important consideration, particularly when it comes to building or renovating a home.

Not only can you do your part to help save Mother Earth when you incorporate smarter, eco-friendly features into your home, but it can also save you money in the long run. Here are a few ways you can take steps toward a greener lifestyle and bring some money-saving environmentally conscious elements into your home:

Build smaller

Tiny homes are all the rage these days — what’s not to love about an adorable pint-size abode? Though, the appeal of these little homes goes beyond the novelty of their size. Smaller homes are more efficient. Not only do they take up less space, but they also cost less (in terms of output and cold hard cash). 

This doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice on space, or struggle to fit your family of four into an itty-bitty house. It just means, rather than looking for or building the biggest house your money can buy, think about how much space you actually need. Get creative with your builders to maximise space with clever design, and create a home that is smaller and smarter.   

Orientation

When building a new home, your first eco-friendly decision can be as fundamental as choosing the right orientation. You want to make the most of natural elements such as the sun and breezes, so heating and cooling your home is much more energy efficient.

Design your floor plan so your living areas are facing north — this captures the most sunlight, especially in the winter months. And add windows on opposite sides to allow natural airflow and cooling breezes.

Insulation

Speaking of heating and cooling — whether you’re building or renovating, insulation is one of the cheapest ways you can ensure your home is more efficient. Quality insulation will keep your home’s temperature constant throughout the year, which means less output when it comes to heating and cooling.

When it comes to insulating your home, the good news is, getting it right won’t break the bank. Insulation is generally pretty cheap, so make sure you insist on the best your budget can afford.

Recyclable materials

This top tip is another great idea for those renovating or building: decrease your carbon footprint by thinking about where your building materials are going to come from. Use recycled or sustainably sourced materials wherever possible. This can include:

  • Insulation made of recycled materials
  • Reclaimed timber or composite wood
  • Recycled stone 
  • Carpets made of recycled plastics
  • Recycled rubber roofing.

Many of these products work just as well, if not better, than virgin materials, and prices are often very competitive. 

Windows and doors

Like insulation, you don’t want to skimp when it comes to choosing your windows and doors. Choose wisely and you could save yourself big bucks in the long run. 

Opt for energy certified windows and doors that are properly sealed. This makes heating and cooling your home more efficient, which is easier on Mother Nature and your hip pocket.

Eco-friendly fixtures

Water shortages are a reality across the globe, as finding fresh water for domestic use is becoming increasingly difficult. Conserving water is among one of the most important environmental concerns, which is why we should cut out waste where we can. 

Install water-saving fixtures in your kitchen and bathrooms to help cut down on water waste in your home. This includes:

  • faucets
  • shower heads
  • dual flush toilets.

Modern fixtures are designed to benefit the environment in a few ways. Reduced water flow means using less water. Electronic fixtures also assure water only runs when it’s needed. They can also help cut out water-wasting leaks. You may also see a reduction in the water bill each month, which is enough to make any homeowner happy.

Water tanks

Another top water saving tip is to literally save water. Install water tanks that catch and store rainwater. 

It’s relatively inexpensive step that makes a big impact with minimal effort. Though rainwater is among the cleanest types of recycled water, it’s not fit for consumption. But you can definitely use it to cut water usage in other areas of the home, including toilets, laundry and outdoor irrigation systems. 

Solar panels

Solar panels have long been a mainstay of the environmentally-friendly movement for homes around the world. They’ve steadily gained popularity, and are now an effective, low-cost energy alternative that can be installed in any home. 

Being a renewable source of energy for your home makes them pretty incredible, but it that alone doesn’t convince you, solar panels will also save you money on your monthly power bills, while being: 

  • low maintenance
  • capable of being connecting to the energy grid
  • eligible for government schemes.

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