Building an Ecological Home: 6 Things to Know
Last modified: 2018/12/20 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
It’s no secret that over the past few years, green construction has grown in popularity and for good reason! An ecological home is trendy due to its green efficiency, its lack of carbon footprint as well as its eco-friendly capabilities.
As green technologies have significantly evolved over the past few years, there are now plenty of ways to build sustainably that didn’t exist before. However, as with any home renovation, this is a big project to take on. Therefore, it’s important to know the ins and outs of building an ecological home. Luckily, we’re here to help! Read on for all of the important information:
6 things to know about building an ecological home
1- Research and planning is key
Before tearing down your walls or grabbing a hammer and nails, it's important to research all of the ways that you can build green. In a nutshell, an ecological home is a low-impact home, meaning that it is designed to reduce your carbon footprint as well as the amount of energy that you use. This means that you’ll need to thoroughly research building materials, technologies as well as design elements to comply with low-impact and energy reduction. Since building materials must also be sustainable and free of toxic elements, there may be minor or major issues that come up when sourcing specific things. Therefore, you’ll want to be prepared as possible if you can’t find specific things.
2- Environmentally-friendly materials and products are a must
It should be obvious at this point that part of building green means relying on eco-friendly products. Now, most hardware stores and suppliers will be well equipped with eco-friendly products. You should be able to find a range of things, including flooring, insulation, various building materials as well as appliances that can be incorporated into your environmentally-friendly home.
If you’ve done your research, you should know all about the popular natural products. Some we may suggest include cork, bamboo, as well as recycled materials such as salvaged wood and glass. Also, look into eco-friendly appliances and furniture, which are widely available on the market. If you’re going all out, everything in your home (or close to) should be eco-friendly.
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3- Size does matter
Of course, the main point of building sustainably is keeping energy consumption and costs down. For this reason, it is best to avoid going all out and building a mansion when all you need is a mid-sized house. Build only what you need and avoid excess. When a home is too large, it will contain plenty of unused space and in turn, will place extra pressure on heating and cooling systems.
You don’t have to own the tiniest home on the block but bear in mind that smaller homes have a smaller environmental impact. Since we’ve already concluded that planning is key to building an environmentally-friendly home, plan all architectural elements well in advance, being mindful about the amount of space yourself and your family actually require.
4- Insulation is important
Insulation is one of the most important aspects of building an ecological home. This is because heating and cooling account for 50% of your energy consumption. Air leaks can happen in places that we least expect, including around windows, doors, ductwork and in our attics and basements. These leaks lead to an excessive use of heating and cooling systems. Therefore, to own an eco-friendly home, it must be correctly insulated. Proper insulation will work to reduce energy consumption and bring down electricity costs significantly.
5- Try exploring alternative power sources
Using alternative sources of power is an excellent way to reduce costs while harnessing the powers of the environment. Solar power has grown in popularity over the past few years, and this is because it’s the ultimate source of clean energy. Including solar power into your eco-friendly home will need to happen in the planning process.
This will include correctly positioning your home to face the sun's rays and get the most exposure possible, as this will have a huge impact on how much power they obtain. In some cities and provinces, solar power and alternative power methods will be subsidized by the government. Do a bit of research and see if this happens to be true in the area where you’re living. Finally, it should be noted that in places without sufficient sunshine, using solar energy may not be possible.
Geothermal energy is another possibility when it comes to harnessing the earth's power to provide power to your home. This is a less common method, as it isn’t exactly popular yet it will require a large property as well as an upfront investment. However, if within your budget, geothermal energy is definitely the way of the future. Want to know more? Check out our article on the subject!
6- Energy-efficient water systems make a difference
Again, depending on the area of the country where you reside, there are environmentally-friendly options on the market to allow you to harness rainwater. Installing a rainwater harvesting system will allow you to collect rainfall and store it in tanks. This collected water doesn’t necessarily need to be used to take a shower, but can instead go towards your toilet or sprinkler system. Rain barrels are another common way to collect and save rainwater.
There is also the possibility of a tankless water heater, heating only a necessary amount of water instead of an excessive amount. This will definitely cut down on energy costs while eliminating the storage space needed for a hot water tank. There are also appliances on the market that ensure a low flow, helping you to save water, energy and in turn, money.
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