Sustainable homes have become more popular as the world has become more conscious about the effects of human activity on the environment. Construction contributes to environmental pollution due to the materials used, production processes used to manufacture materials, construction methods, management of waste at construction sites etc. There are certain things we can do to ensure a minimal impact on the environment due to a building project.
You can start the process of sustainable building from the building design. Your architect or builder can give their input on how you can maximise the sustainability of the project and how the efficiency of the house can be increased through active and passive techniques. You need to make sure that you select a green builder who will specialise in efficiency building renovations. A sustainable building project ensures high efficiency in energy and water usage, generation of less waste, cost-effective building methods where you have less maintenance to do in the long term. There are basic sustainability concepts that you can stick to when building your home. Make sure that you speak with the contractor about how they plan to minimise the impact on the environment during the construction as well as in the post construction stage.
The use of natural resources is highlighted in sustainable design. One of the main components is the use of natural light where possible. This has to be thought of in the design phase of the building from how the building is oriented according to the natural sun path. You can have the common areas where you will occupy most of the time such as the living area, dining and kitchen located in areas that receive maximum sunlight. The placement of windows is also important. While you need to take in light to the building, you also need to keep thermal gain at a minimum. So you need to ensure that the windows are properly sealed and there are no gaps between the frame and the wall. There are double glazed glass windows that can be used to further cut down the thermal gain which will contribute to lowering your utility bills. This is because you will be able to maintain the temperature and humidity of the interior at a constant when there is no additional heat or cold coming from the outside.
You can also place the windows to ensure cross ventilation taking into account the wind path of the location. This way you will be able to enjoy passive ventilation without having to use electricity to cool the inside of the building. The insulation you use for the building envelope is crucial when it comes to maintaining a constant indoor environment. In addition to the double glazed windows, you need to think about how you are going to insulate the walls, floor and roof. These are all the elements that are touching the outside environment so they need to be well sealed. You can also install water saving fixtures in the house so that you use up less water. Rain water collection is something you can think about if you are in an area with high rainfall. You need to make sure that you are using sustainable materials in construction such as materials that can be reused or recycled or materials that are sourced ethically.