When building a green home, you are choosing to reduce the harmful impact this home will have on the environment. Careful thought and consideration must be placed on every aspect of this home’s design, from the roof to the foundation and everything in between – electrical work, air quality, materials used and of course your home must be affordable. It is important to consider the carbon footprint your new home will leave on the existing ecosystem. With all the knowledge and resources available to us today, there is so much we all can do to create a green living space – and MDV Remodeling is here to help!
For today’s post, we decided to outline, based on our expert experience, the top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Green Home. Some of them are more obvious than others, but all of them are important to keep in mind if you are considering building an eco-friendly efficient new home.
1. Don’t build more house than you need.
You don’t want to build too much house; instead, you want your home to fit “just right.” That’s why at MDV we’ve created our unique TruYouDesign™ process. A house that is too large will likely contain wasted, unused space that will cost more to heat and cool. When planning your home, give careful consideration to your lifestyle–which leads us to the next mistake…
2. Not thinking ahead.
Will you be living in your home in 10, 20 or 30 years? Do you plan on expanding your family or taking in elderly relatives in the future? You will want to plan ahead and put the proper accommodations and resources into place. Aging-in-place is a growing movement in remodeling across the United States (in fact, read our blog about it here). As the people age, each of us must consider our future needs and lifestyle. We must prepare for our diminished capabilities and plan to install enhancements to our home that will make certain tasks possible. We encourage you to research aging-in-place if you plan on staying in your home as you age.
3. Building on the wrong plot of land.
It’s crucial to find the right lot size and location. As wonderful as it sounds to have a lovely home out in the countryside and off the beaten path, you could consider building in or near town. Building on a new site can damage a peaceful ecosystem. It can disrupt the local ecosystem and could eliminate wildlife as their dens and habitats are destroyed in order to bring lines, utilities and roads to your new home site, if none exist. In addition, if you build in or near a town, you will not have to travel far to shop and will use less gas.
4. Not going solar.
No matter where you live, you should build your home so that you have unobstructed solar access from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and always have a southern exposure. By placing the front of the home due south, you will automatically lower your energy costs by 10%. Situate your home so that it is facing due south, placing the majority of the windows on the southern side, and placing overhangs or awnings to shield the sun’s hot summer rays. Use materials that will absorb and radiate the sun’s heat. That being said, it is not wise to have a glass wall facing south as this will have the complete opposite effect. Plant trees near your home to offer natural shade on southern sides, and take advantage of shaded skylights to maximize the sun’s energy and natural light.
5. Not doing your research.
With so much information readily available to us, there’s no excuse not to educate yourself on green building options and environmentally responsible options. When building your home, you should be using toxic-free, sustainable, recycled, and low VOC products. Everything from the roof to the foundation, from the lighting to the floor, from insulation to paint can all be environmentally friendly.
6. Not minimizing your carbon footprint.
You are building a green home because you want to minimize your carbon footprint as much as you possibly can. So this also means getting rid of all unnecessary energy waste and purchasing energy-efficient equipment. You want your energy consumption and waste to be as little as possible.
7. Using inadequate insulation.
The greatest savings in the cost of running a green home will come from the efficiency of your home’s insulation. In the United States, minimum insulation codes have been increased, preventing heat loss and gain through your walls, windows, roof and foundation. Insulation is responsible for your building’s heat retention and loss. A well-insulated home will not only save energy and resources but will cut your electric/natural gas costs substantially.
8. Poorly-planned roofing.
The roof protects the walls and therefore you should consider carefully what roofing material to use. It is important to understand how much weight the roof will need to support. The shape of the roof is vital to energy efficiency. A flat roof will tend to hold and accumulate water, whereas a sloped roof encourages proper drainage of water to the ground. A proper gutter/drainage system will work to ensure that the roof can best protect your home in the most efficient manner possible. Again, your home’s insulation, including your roof, is integral to the building’s heating and cooling efficiency.
9. Not using energy-efficient equipment.
You should always choose a high-efficiency or energy-efficient appliance. Consider using a tankless water heater so that water will not sit waiting to be heated. Now, more than ever, high-efficiency and energy-efficient appliances are available at all price points.
10. Not using environmentally-friendly products.
There really is no reason to choose products that are not eco-friendly. Everything from your roofing material, building material, and insulation, to flooring, counters, and cabinets should be environmentally friendly. Whether using recycled lumber, natural products such as cork or bamboo, sustainable concrete, granite or recycled glass, everything you could possibly need or want to build your home should be eco-friendly.
Going green is not just a movement but a way of life nowadays. If you’re interested in ways that you can go green with your next home or even your next remodel, contact the experts at MDV Remodeling for a free estimate!