Guide to Green Home Design

imagesWe all know that we should recycle more. We have all heard the term “Go Green” before. We know it is probably the right thing to do for the earth but most of us have no clue as to where to begin. If you are planning to renovate or build any time soon, here are some green home design and energy-saving tips to consider in various parts of the home. Another incentive is the tremendous amount of money you can save every year by adopting some of these Green Home Design suggestions.

Doors and windows

Something as simple as an open door or window can allow warmth and insulation to escape which in turn means a waste of heating energy. On average homes lose up to 30 % of air-conditioning and heat energy to open doors and windows. Besides the obvious solution of keeping these closed while the air-conditioning is on, there are door and window designs that can further save power. When designing or choosing a door or window, look for one that is Energy-Star rated to you climate. To make it even more renewable, make sure it is made from recycled material.

Consider the actual materials that are used throughout the home. Avoid materials which are or can be toxic, wasteful tour natural resources or prove bio-degradable and non-renewable. Always look the most eco-friendly or “green’ alternative. Consider this when choosing:

  • Siding – Most sidings are made from PVC vinyl. Though these are common, they are not the best choice for the environment. This material is non-biodegradable and cannot be re-used. What’s more, they give off harmful toxins. The more eco-friendly alternatives are aluminum, wood or stucco.
  • Green plumbing – Again, avoid PVC piping. An underground piping material alternative is clay piping. For above-ground piping, use galvanized steel, aluminum and zinc.
  • Roofing – When choosing roofing material, consider aluminum as your metal of choice. Not only is it naturally heat resistant, but it also can be re-used. Having solar panels installed on your roof can save you tremendous amounts of money in the long run. Consider the long term savings on electricity over the initial installation costs.
  • Furniture – Most furniture has been made from wood, up until now. As attractive as wood is, it is not great for the conservation of our forests. There are more eco-friendly alternatives to wood such as rattan bamboo and teak. They are just as durable and attractive, while keeping your wallet and conscience in check.
  • Flooring – The same rings true when it comes to flooring. Those wooden panel s may look good, but again, are using up valuable trees. Bamboo, which is essentially a type of grass, grows quicker and more easily and so is much cheaper.
  • Paint – Back in the day, the highly toxic lead paint was perfectly acceptable as people did not know better. Today, we know better than to use these highly toxic paints in our home. There are, however, still many paints full of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Opt for paints that are low in VOC’s or VOC-free and organic paints that are manufactured from plant extracts.
  • images (1)Fireplace – Who can resist curling up in front of that cozy fireplace in winter? As inviting as it is, using wood as fire fuel is both wasteful as it uses up valuable trees and harmful as it gives off toxins. A more eco-friendly and cheaper alternative is natural gas. Natural gas can also be used for general heating and air-conditioning.

Throughout your green home design, consider the Energy Star Rating of materials and equipment. For more information about this system, visit:

http://www.energystar.gov

Go luck going green!

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