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Building Your New Home the Green Way

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The term “green” in conjunction with building homes has two distinct meanings. One is a home that would be built using all natural materials that have as little impact on the environment, such as adobe or earth blocks,  and use little technology or fossil fuels to produce the materials, build the home with and then run and maintain. The other reference to green means to build, modify or renovate a home so that the use of fossil fuels to operate and maintain the house is kept to a minimum in the most efficient manner possible. In this article we will be discussing the second both of these ideals, building an environmentally sound home that consumes as little energy as possible during constructing with little impact on the environment, and is not only efficient to run, but less expensive to live in.

The building of homes has been since the beginning of civilization has progressed, until recently, with little or no concern for the impact it has on our environment and this process has compromised or planet’s eco systems and overall health. When man first came out of his cave and started to build he used all natural materials that were available to him from his environment, stone, mud, earth, thatch, wood and materials, and later the materials he learned to make from them. Then, with the advent of new ways of building, heating, running water and sewage, and illuminating the home came the misuse of materials and the abuse of the environment. It was a slow and natural progress, one that no one recognized or understood at the time, it was degrading the planet and causing the environment, animals, and man harm. In the last few decades, more so then before, man has come to realize this and has made a great effort and tremendous strides in resolving these short falls of the past.

Much of the concern arose out of a serious concern for the lack of fossil fuels and the rising costs associated with building and living in the homes that we were creating. More often than not man regrettable needs to be “slapped” by the economics of a situation before the other concerns become of any importance. Be that as it may, we as a society have woken up to the reality of our habits and we are slowly changing them for the benefit of the planet and our lives.

There are now architects, engineers, and designers  working full time to create beautiful sustainable homes that are not only cost efficient and gentler to the environment, but a joy to build and live in. People have always seen owning a home as a mark of success and pride for the owners, now that feeling can be augmented by the feeling of knowing that your home does not pollute, damage the environment or cause harm to the people and communities where they are built.

Many incentives have also been developed to encourage the design and building of these homes. Industry has been offered government grants for the research to develop new and improved building products, and more efficient systems to heat, cool and run our homes with as little adverse effect and at as little cost as is possible. Solar, wind and hydro power are being harnessed and a myriad of new natural products have also been designed, and are available to the consumer. Engineers and architects have developed new ways of construction with traditional materials that maximize their use and create homes that have less environmental impact and use less energy. Energy efficient appliances and HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) systems are being developed and used. Individuals can now apply for tax incentives and loans that are targeted at those concerned individuals that wish to break from the past and either build, renovate or improve a home to fit this trend.

If you have decided that you want to build a new home and that it needs to conform to your ideal of an environmental sound home here are a few tips to help guide you during the planning.

In the past many homes were built with little concern for where they are going to be other than the owners desire to be in a certain place and surroundings. Some wanted to be at the beach, others overlooking wetlands, and still others in the remote and pristine mountains.  When selecting a plot for your home it may be a wise decision to not build in an area that is the part of a fragile ecosystem or may infringe on the habitat of certain species or diminish the scenic view. Many laws have been passed to help prevent this from happening, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual to make sure that they do not choose such an area without first considering the impact they will have.

Choosing the proper design for your home will be the second step to having one that is eco-friendly and efficient. Currently there are many design firms that specialize in the building of these new-age modern green homes. They are able to help prospective home owners in deciding on the overall look of a home, how it is to be built, what systems will be utilized, and how it will be run and be maintained in order to sustain the environment and have as small a “foot print” as possible. This can be achieved using today’s new designs, methods and materials.

Some tax experts and lenders are knowledgeable and able to offer advice on what incentives are available from the local and federal governments. After all, one of the most important resources to be conserved by anyone building a home is their money. There are also organizations and websites that provide information on building eco-friendly and efficient homes and it is their mission to protect the environment by helping home owners to build and live more sustainably.

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