When it comes to sustainability in design there is a lot of things that can be done to help protect the environment. Throughout this post we will go over a few different things that you can do throughout your everyday life, and when designing a house that can work towards better sustainability. When shopping and thinking sustainably you will have to make a choice regarding budget, this is because usually the more ecofriendly options tend to be a higher price. This is because the process to make the product is more intense because the company needs to be specific about what they use.
USE LESS ENERGY AND RESOURCES
Conserving energy and resources are an easy way that you can help with sustainability and living a greener life. Low flow toilets use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush as opposed to the standard toile that would use 3.5 – 7 gallons per flush. On average a person will flush the toilet about 5 times per day, meaning that switching to a low flow toilet can save you an average of 27 gallons of water per day which is the equivalent to 9855 gallons of water a year.
Making sure that all your light bulbs are LED rather than incandescent bulbs, will help to reserve the amount of power you use each day. The average LED light bulb uses about 90% less energy than the standard incandescent bulb. LED light bulbs also do not contain any mercury, which is highly toxic – especially to infants and children, so if you do have older style light bulbs than be sure to keep them out of reach of children.
Making the change to water sense faucets will help preserve water, this is because a significant less amount of water per gallon compared to the average faucet. A water sense faucet uses about 1.56 gallons per minute, and the standard faucet uses 2.2 gallons per minute.
ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOW
Window make a large difference on your house and how much energy is used. You can get windows that have different levels of glass – triple glaze windows have three layers of glass that are separated by argon gas – this means that they have an extra layer of glass to insulate your home as opposed to double glazed windows.
You will also want to specify that you want Low-E windows, as these have a coating on them that provides extra insulation. These usually help with blocking heat loss in the cooler months and blocking harmful UV rays from damaging flooring and furniture in the hot summer months. Overall, they will help with keeping your house a more consistent and comfortable temperature year-round.
USE SUSTAINABLE FINSIHES
When getting into the finishes that are included in the house there are a lot of different factors involved. Doing what you can to make different finishes in your house sustainable will help the environment a little bit with each selection you make. You can use a sustainable flooring, which can be done either by purchasing through a company that sources its materials and makes the flooring ethically/sustainably. You can use repurposed flooring, that was once being used in a different setting like posts in a barn and is now being re-used as flooring. When using carpet in your house, wool would be the most ecofriendly option available. This is because wool comes right off the sheep, so it is consistently restocking itself.
CERTIFY YOUR HOUSE
You can get many different certifications for your house that prove that you have built it for sustainability. Some of these are NetZero, LEED, EnerGuide, Energy Star, Passive House, etc. Some of these are only able to be done through specific builders who have received certification – for example, we at JDC are NetZero Certified and are able to build a house that is NetZero ready. We are also EnerGuide certified and can build a house that will fit within these requirements.
USE NATRUAL RESOURCES
When building a new house, you can think about building your house with renewable resources in mind to contribute to your energy use. The most common types of renewable energy to help with preserving energy when it comes to houses would be natural gas, solar and geothermal. You can use either of these to help lower the amount of power you use on average.
If you are designing and building a new house or renovating, a great way to give back and help with reducing waste is by donating different furniture/materials from your old house before you move, or from the house you are renovating. Old furniture is a great thing to donate, if you are planning on buying new things for your house. You can donate old kitchens, sinks, toilets, faucets, etc. to your local Habitat for Humanity – just be sure that you are donating things that are not garbage, but rather still usable.
Overall, these things can add costs to your house build or renovation, but in the end, they can really pay off because of the energy savings that can come along with them. In some places you can also get grants from the government for building sustainability – so depending on your location this could be something you could look into as an additional cost savings.
You can also consider how you are benefiting the planet in your day-to-day life by doing things more sustainably – even if you cannot do everything sustainability, a small amount can help do a little bit of good.
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