Building an Eco-Friendly House 101: From Hiring a Contractor to Decor Styles

by Greg on September 3, 2019

Eco friendly house

Green home construction has come a long way in the past decades and found its rightful place in mainstream building practices. In addition to a huge rise in building an eco-friendly home, there’s a notable increase in green home remodeling as well, so with this expansion in the green home markets, it’s much easier for homeowners today to improve the quality of their homes, reduce energy consumption and lower their environmental impact.

Many local Australian and worldwide councils give strong support to eco-friendly home designs and encourage the use of green materials and home construction. The basic principles of eco-friendly practices can be applied in a myriad of ways when building and designing your home: using sustainable and recycled building and décor materials, reducing waste during construction, incorporating passive design principles and harnessing solar power.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to create a carbon zero home, go completely off the grid or conform to the strictest requirements. Start by incorporating various green practices and elements into your home and the following tips will show you how to do it.

Insulation is a priority

house insulation

Poor insulation is the main culprit for most heating and cooling problems in a home and causes you to consume more energy than you actually need. Investing in high-quality insulation may cost more initially, but as it will help you maintain your home’s temperature and energy use over a long period of time, it’s well worth it in the end. Green-conscious home builders today are aware of all the types of insulation products available and are quite flexible as to which one to use, so make sure you specify your preference to them at the beginning.

Another important aspect of home construction that contributes greatly to having a well-insulated home is the type of doors and windows you use. Poor quality product will not seal your home properly and will allow airflow in and out causing you to lose energy since your heating/cooling system will have to work harder to maintain the optimal indoor temperature. Therefore, when building your home, make sure you pick energy-efficient, dual-pane windows.

Use sustainable materials

sustainable materials bedroom design

Using sustainable materials in your home, from the framing to the flooring and furniture, you can significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction. Wood is a sustainable resource if you choose a supplier who abides by sustainable planting practice and flooring options today offer a great variety of environmentally-friendly choices that give great insulation in addition to style. Contemporary flooring options include cork, bamboo and linoleum produced from renewable materials and when accompanied with natural-fibre rugs such as an organic jute rug produced with rainwater and no fertilizers, you’ll have a home that is not only energy efficient but very comfortable and healthy. With their natural appeal and soft texture, a variety of colours and an artisan design, jute rugs will surely add to the tranquillity and appeal of your home décor.

Rely on passive design principles

cabin in the woods

Relying on passive design building standards during the planning and building your home is something that helps significantly in regulating the comfort of your home. With about 40% of entire energy usage in one home going to heating and cooling, with passive design, you can cut this down to almost zero.

The main point is centering the design around the natural characteristics pertaining to your future home’s specific location in order to maximize its efficiency. With careful placement and orientation of your home that allows a northern aspect where possible will give you full advantage of harnessing the sun power. In addition, proper shading will minimize the sun’s impact in summer but allow deeper impact in winter.

Increase efficiency with renewable resources

solar panels on roof

In addition to reducing the energy consumption of your home, you can rely on the use of renewable energy resources in order to make your home more environmentally-friendly. Carbon zero or carbon-neutral homes are the ones that produce just enough energy to operate and carbon positive homes produce even more energy than they need so it’s fed back into the main electrical grid.

By harnessing solar power, one of the most consumed sustainable energy in the world, you’ll be able to satisfy almost all standards of an energy-efficient home. If you pair your solar system with battery storage, you’ll pave the path towards carbon neutrality and self-sufficiency. With an additional investment water-saving features in your bathroom and kitchen, as well as a rain collecting system, you’ll cut down on your costs to a minimum and contribute to environmental preservation.

There are many eco-friendly practices today that add value to your home, increase its performance and lower the environmental impact, so it’s up to you to start incorporating the ones you find most suitable and affordable for your home.

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Lilly Miller

Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. Loves everything about home decor, art history and baking. Shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.
“Poetry creates the myth, the prose writer draws his own portrait.”
– Jean – Paul Sartre

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