Today, a concern of many builders and home owners is building an environmentally friendly house. But, it is actually beneficial? And how much does it cost? Let’s take a look at what it means to build green!
What Does it Mean to Build “Green?”
Building “green” is the short way of saying: environmentally friendly. This means increasing your home’s efficiency in order to use less energy, water, and materials. In other words, building green is the best way to use resources effectively and reduce your impact on the environment.
How to Build Green
A misconception about building green is that it’s always more expensive. While it certainly can be, it isn’t always. The cost of materials will ebb and flow, but the amount of energy savings over time and increased durability of materials will likely save you money in the long run. Bonus: many mortgage companies actually offer reduced rates to build green.
If you’re considering building green, keep these factors in mind:
- Heating and Cooling- Heating and air conditioning is one the biggest ways you can go green and reduce energy usage. Use the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) to gauge your energy efficiency. The higher the number, the more energy-efficient your unit is.
- Insulation– Spray foam insulation is the most efficient way to insulate your home. It also keeps your attic space cool enough to be used for storage, likely almost doubling your storage space.
- Orientation– Designing and positioning your home strategically will help you take advantage of natural lighting and cool breezes, while protecting the inside of your home from the beating afternoon sun. This helps reduce the use of air conditioning and indoor lighting.
- Roofing– Lighter-colored shingles helps reflect the sun’s rays, resulting in a cooler home. The same is true with lighter paint colors!
- Windows and Doors– Always choose windows with good insulation values to prevent the Summer heat and Winter cold from creeping inside. Also, consider where you place windows: are large windows facing the setting sun in the West? Doors should always fit snuggly with weather stripping.
When done correctly, building green can save you money and help the environment. However, it’s important to work with your builder early on to make these “green” decisions.