Green Options to Consider When Building Your Home

OK, here’s the disclaimer — this post is not intended to guilt trip and chastise you, nor induce feelings of inferiority and being overwhelmed. In the age of social media where rights and wrongs are vehemently proclaimed, it is easy to feel persecuted by the accusatory discourse on how you or I should apparently live our lives. Life just ain’t that easy guys, and moreover, it’s rarely black and white.

Being green is a major trend, however — and with good reason. It is exceptionally empowering to take control of your impact on the world and make changes to improve our planet. This post isn’t asking you to totally overhaul your lifestyle in an urgent dash for redemption, but rather provide some ideas that are proven to reduce your emissions and environmental impact as well as your bills.

Points one to three are more applicable should you consider starting a land clearing project and building a new home, whereas points four to seven can be incorporated into current living space.

Wicked Witch of the West

When looking at a new property or designs on how to build your own, the direction it faces can have a significant impact on your heating bills and comfort. West-facing houses are a no-go, so where possible, it’s best to avoid this. West-facing properties are more predisposed to wind exposure and losing heat at a faster rate, as well as overheating due to the sunshine.

Does Size Matter?

Yes it does, but it seems smaller is greener. While a real-estate manager may not agree, building a smaller home will have less of an environmental impact and will lose less heat than a larger building. If you need a sizeable property, building up and not out is the main rule in the green game. Limiting the surface area on the bottom floor is quite important.

Green That Screed

You have probably heard of green building materials, and if so, you will be familiar with the advocates for reducing the construction impact of your house on the environment. Building materials such as precast concrete are greener than most, as very little waste is produced during its formation on-site in the factory. Moreover, recyclable products can be included during precast concrete’s production, and if you also seek out recycled timber and roof tiles, you are on your way to a green kingdom.

Light up Your Life

Solar panels are usually a tougher decision for most, simply because of the aesthetic consequences and expensive initial costs. Solar panels are not the most discreet, but there are versatile designs to help stay within the ranges of your architectural vision. Solar panels produce solar energy, which is clean and renewable, as well as largely reliable depending on where you are in the world. You can use this reference if you’re curious about the cost of solar panels in Texas.

Choose Your Weapon

Opting for energy-conscious appliances such as dishwashers, tumble-dryers and washing machines can help shrink your energy bills. Look for ENERGY STAR products, which are approved and certified as energy-saving by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and it won’t be long before your wallet benefits from the lower energy usage effort.

Thermostat That

The simple act of programming your thermostat could save hundreds off your heating bills every year. Ensuring temperatures stay within a certain limit during prescribed hours of the day will take away the responsibility of turning down the thermostat or radiators.

Reuse and Recycle

Upcycling your old furniture is a fantastic way to get greener, avoid spending money on nonrecyclable goods and be creative. Why not sand down that old timber cabinet and add nontoxic paint to fit your new interior décor? Reusing BPA-free plastic containers for food storage is also a great way to recycle.

All in all, going greener doesn’t have to be a major uprooting of life as you know it. Simply being more aware of your purchasing habits and recycling systems is a good start. When you’re ready, call the solar panel guys and let the good, cheaper times commence!

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum