An eco-friendly home is a vital step forward into designing households, meant to reduce the man-made impact on the environment. The design principle is simple: build homes that are energy-efficient, sustainable, and offer fantastic benefits to their owners physically and mentally.
If you’re looking to add one to your property management software portfolio, where do you start? Want to ensure that you can get sustainable solutions that pay dividends in the future? Here’s how to design an eco-friendly home that any green-conscious owner would surely want.
Build A Smaller, More Efficient Home
One of the most important elements of an eco-friendly home is the size. When it comes to green homes, smaller is always better because it leaves a lower carbon footprint. A nice, compact home, made with high-quality upcycled materials, will fare better than a larger one.
Smaller homes are also cozier as they are easier to heat or cool than larger spaces. Smaller does not always mean fewer features too, as you can pick and choose smart installations to save space. Add pullout pantry cabinets and specialized storage areas to make the most out of your home.
If you’re looking to grow your rental property business, smaller homes are also easier to rent out. The common renter will likely be young up-and-comers looking to lower their emissions, so a smaller property should be right up their alley.
Maximize Your Location
Apart from the size of the home, what affects a property’s eco-friendliness the most is the location. When building a sustainable property, you want to maximize the benefits and minimize the carbon footprint of the home. To do so, you would want to cover a few finer details that most property owners don’t consider.
For starters, you would want to consider the transportation needed to reach the property. You want something close to public transport to minimize impact on the environment. It can also be a selling point for those looking to maximize the cost-effectiveness of the home.
Avoid high-hazard areas like flood-prone locales, beaches, and landslide hazards. If you have to build on them, design a home that can withstand all these hazards in mind. By doing so, you’re creating a marketable property that can withstand natural disasters when they strike.
Pick Eco-Friendly, Upcycled Material
Eco-friendly housing is not only about the proper layout of your home. The materials you pick can also impact the livability of your property. Find lightweight prefab materials that offer the right durability for your needs. Don’t forget to add proper insulation to keep the right indoor temperature at all times.
You want materials that offer several resistances, including mold and termite resistance. Depending on the room of the house, materials with superior insulating and soundproofing qualities will improve your home’s value.
Use local materials for your home to cut the need for long-distance shipping. If you can, buy locally milled wood as long as your location allows it. It can be tough to find local materials depending on the location. A little extra research should go a long way into improving the eco-friendliness of your home.
Consider A Passive House Concept
The passive house concept uses several standards that min-maxes the attributes of your home. With this concept, you build on design elements that keep your indoor temperature optimal – warm on cooler days and vice versa. Doing it not only saves you money but cuts down on your carbon emissions.
As we said, effective wall insulation is key to keeping your indoor temperatures stable. You want insulation materials with a high R-value to ward off changes in outdoor climate.
You can also opt for triple-pane windows with low e coating to reduce outdoor temperatures from filtering inside. This will also offer extra soundproofing, which is fantastic for properties within busy cityscapes.
You would also want a property with a high house envelope, which means the roofing, ceiling, walls, and windows create an airtight environment. Install a good ventilation and heat exchanger system to reduce the stuffiness of the air inside the property.
Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you can, utilize energy-efficient equipment and appliances in your home. Appliances with a good Energy Star rating are a good start and should be an easy thing to look for. Among the crucial appliances that need to have Energy Star ratings include airconditioning units, heaters, water heaters, and more.
For HVAC systems, consider the right size for your property. Heaters and AC units that are too small for the space they service would need to run longer, which means lower efficiency. Oversized appliances also have the same problem and will likely cycle on and off more frequently.
Check with experts on the amount of BTU (British Thermal Units) that your appliance needs to heat/cool your space. With refrigerators and freezers, keep the thermostat lower when you have fewer things inside. Wash full loads to reduce the number of spin cycles you do.
Plant Trees and Vegetation
If you can add vegetation around your property, it’s best to perform native planting to increase energy efficiency. By installing shrubs, trees, and groundcover for your home, you can reduce soil erosion and lower the heat index in your property.
Add trees that can act as windshields, especially for cold, windy locales. Shade west and east sides of your home to cut down on the sunlight filtering into your home. Direct summer breezes to your patio or porch to help in the air exchange for your backyard.
Shade your AC units to help improve their efficiency. The shade from trees and shrubs can reduce outdoor heat by as much as 25 Degrees Fahrenheit or around 15 Degrees Celsius.
Install Eco-Friendly House Fixtures
Install specialized fixtures for your home that reduce your energy consumption. Newer technology allows property owners to reduce their utility costs by choosing the right lighting, water fixtures, and renewable devices.
For lighting, LED lights are cheap and energy-efficient, with around 600% less consumption than traditional bulbs. For your water fixtures, install aerated faucets and low-flow flushes and showers to lower your water consumption too. You can even add a solar water heater to cut off your home’s energy consumption for hot water.
Consider adding solar PV panels and wind turbines too, which can generate extra energy for you. This can cut down your dependence on the grid while reducing your home’s carbon footprint.
Building an eco-friendly home is not too much of a challenge these days. As long as you do a little extra research and consider every action, you can reduce your carbon emissions. You can build a valuable property that can last a lifetime.
AUTHOR BIO: Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She’s authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.