Nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is due to the construction of buildings throughout the world. CO2 emissions also have an impact on natural habits globally. Each of us can reduce our carbon footprint. We can significantly reduce our carbon footprints when building new homes, keep reading to find out how!
Use Sustainable Materials to Build Your New Home
As you build your home, choosing materials that are sustainable will help you to achieve the green home you are aiming for and can be the foundation of your new build. Even the home’s plumbing can be done in an eco-friendly way. Typically, a simple new build of a two-bed cottage style home would generate approximately 80 tons of CO2 emissions. Renewable materials such as straw bale, hemp, or timber helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere; they “sequester” CO2 throughout their lifetime and can store carbon.
“Carbon sequestration” refers to the process of long-term storing and removing carbon from the atmosphere. The goal is to reduce climate change globally. Sustainable forestry practices increase the ability of the forests to sequester carbon on their own. This improves soil and water quality. As you are building your home it is good to know the following:
· 6 tons of CO2 are sequestered by straw
· 5.5 tons are sequestered by hemp
· 30 tons are sequestered by solid timber
We could, easily, reduce 31 tons of global carbon emissions by constructing homes with wood versus concrete and steel.
Build Your Green Home with Glazing Windows
The windows in your home impact how much heat enters and exits your home. During the summer months, approximately 87% of heat is absorbed into your home. 49% of your home’s heat escapes during the winter months; the, overall, energy efficiency of your windows is extremely important. Double-glazed window systems are your best bet, and they are viewed as the benchmark when it comes to energy efficiency. It is important to select double-glazed glass windows that are outfitted with timer or “UPVC” frames. “UPVC” stands for unplasticized polyvinyl chloride.
There are several benefits of having UPVC frames, and they are:
· Due to being less porous, maintenance is reduced
· They have an increased lifespan
· They are resistant to high impact
· They often last decades
· No discoloration when exposed to prolonged direct sunlight
· Can be recycled
Choosing a double-glazed window will help you save money on your energy bills, but it will also improve the comfort of your home.
Purchase Energy Efficient Electrical Appliances for Your New Green Home
When you are building your home, there will be many choices that you will have to make throughout the process. One of those choices are which appliances you would like in your home. If you want to practice green living at home, it is best to select appliances that are energy-efficient. As the name suggests, energy-efficient appliances use the least amount of energy as possible.
Energy-efficient appliances come in 2 different varieties:
1. 6-star energy rating
2. 10-star energy rating
Energy consumption and the size of the appliance generate that appliance’s star rating. Appliances are tested and measured for their energy consumption and to determine the minimum energy performance criteria for that particular model. Once the appliance is tested they can be granted an Energy Rating Label. The more stars granted, the higher the energy efficiency.
Here is a list of some appliances that would receive an Energy Rating Label:
· Air Conditioners
· Clothes Dryers
· Computer Monitors
· Fridges and Freezers
· Washing Machines
· HVAC Systems
As you are choosing your appliances select a model with a higher rating to ensure that you achieve the green home you are hoping to build.
Use Solar Panels in the Construction of Your New Green Home
Sunlight is a renewable resource. A renewable resource is a substance that holds economic value which can be replaced and replenished in less time than it takes to use the supply. It is abundant and is freely available. It can be used as energy. In fact, the energy that sunlight generates in a single hour is enough to satisfy the needs of the world for one year.
The benefits of using solar panels are:
· Reduces your energy bills
· Emits zero greenhouse gases, and helps the environment
· Improves the value of your home
· Versatility with installation
· Can be used anywhere
Select Finishes and Decorations that are Eco-Friendly and Sustainable for your New Green Home
As you begin the make the final selections in your home, you should continue to be thoughtful and intentional in what you choose. Green interior finishes and home furnishings are just as important as the aforementioned aspects of your new green home’s design. Arguably, these items are more impactful as they are the items that will be in your direct living environment. They will touch your skin and will add to the air you breath every day. Here are some sustainable materials to be select for the inside your home:
· Repurposed materials – Breathing new life into an item is a great way of keeping your home sustainable and eco-friendly. Adding a new coat of paints, or reupholstering, a piece extends the lifetime of that item and keeps it out of a landfill.
· Bamboo – It is beautiful, versatile, and sustainable. A variety of home furnishings and decorations are made from this material.
· Reclaimed wood – Many people choose to use reclaimed wood throughout their home interior. It is often used for flooring.
The construction of homes generates a significant amount of CO2 emissions across the globe. Luckily, we can help to cut CO2 emissions by making intentional, sustainable, choices. Building a green home helps the environment and can be cost effective as well. You can save a considerable amount of money, long-term, by using sustainable materials, selecting energy-efficient windows and appliances, utilizing solar panels, and by carefully selection sustainable interior flooring and decorations. Each choice we make goes a long way in helping to heal our Earth.
Guest Contributor: Jade Piper