More and more people are beginning to understand the connection between the way we build our homes and Earth’s well-being. Today, we are aware of the impact it has on the environment, human health and the economy. Green and eco-friendly building is not just a passing developmental trend and a fashion statement. It is a necessity in these and future times if we want to improve the quality of our lives and protect natural resources and biodiversity.
The benefits of building green homes are numerous and experts usually divide them into three different categories: environmental, economic and social. Let’s see how these green strategies maximise economic, environmental and social performance.
Are you aware of the fact that buildings are responsible for approximately 40 percent of carbon emissions? Unlike renewable energy sources (wind and solar power for example), the production of fossil fuel electricity is releasing pollutants, contributing to global warming and numerous issues that accompany it.
As green homes are built with less embodied energy, less greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. It would be possible to prevent further environmental damage if only more builders and homeowners opted for sustainable building. Using alternative sources of energy and saving water is easy with additions such as solar panels and rainwater tanks.
Green homes are also responsible for reducing waste as sustainable building is focused on reusing materials and deconstruction, instead of demolition and construction from the start. Finally, green homes are built to last. Increasing durability by using construction materials that last results in reducing a significant amount of waste over time.
Most people are mistaken thinking that sustainable building must be expensive. The truth is that green homes don’t necessarily have to be more expensive than regular ones. Even if there are some additional costs, future savings are tenfold.
Green design provides energy efficiency that leads to tangible reductions in operation costs. Therefore, there is no need to worry about additional project costs – reductions in monthly water and energy bills should make up for the investment.
People who are thinking of selling their property in the future should seriously consider green building. A study carried out by The Earth Advantage Institute shows that sustainability-certified homes sell for up to 30 percent more than their regular counterparts. The resale value of property is increased due to lower overall operating costs, reduced energy needs and easy maintenance.
Increased health and comfort represent the social benefits of green homes. This is not surprising as green builders use natural and non-toxic materials and products in construction such as formaldehyde-free flooring and carpeting. Healthy air ventilation, natural lighting, stable temperature and insulation play an important part in occupants’ health and all these factors increase human productivity and well-being.
How can our health be affected by poor indoor conditions? Sick building syndrome is a range of various health problems that can occur because of indoor toxins. Occupants can suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems, allergies, headaches, rashes, nausea, etc. If you’re experiencing these conditions, you should think about removing toxins from your living environment and introducing healthy ventilation.
More pleasing aesthetic qualities and improved overall quality of life are other social benefits we can get from switching to green building.
Building a green home
How can you make your home green? Energy efficiency is maybe the most important characteristic of a green home. Some of them feature rainwater tanks and other additions that reduce the consumption of water from the regular water supply. Installing solar panels provides homes with clean energy and they further reduce operational costs.
Sustainable building also involves using recycled and recyclable materials in construction. Builders are turning to traditional and proven methods. Recycled stone, straw bale, rammed earth and mud brick, new forms of concrete (with less embodied energy), FSC-certified timber, bamboo – those are the materials that are used in green building today.
There is no real green design without smart home positioning and high-quality insulation. We have already mentioned good air ventilation, natural lighting and a steady, comfortable temperature, all of which contribute to the occupants’ well-being and productivity. This is most easily achieved with the help of spatial zoning, orientation, ventilation, shading, glazing, using thermal mass and appropriate insulation.
Various countries offer different tax incentives and rebates to home buyers of green homes. Also, the number of builders who are able to provide you with a true and certified eco-home is on the rise. Home buyers, builders and the government – they all see the benefits of sustainable building and welcome green homes as the best option for our future. Have these facts in mind the next time you’re looking to buy or build a home and opt for a solution that will benefit both you and the environment!