Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tips to make your custom home environmentally friendly

Green building in the modern world

In today’s world everyone wants to be green or at least greener.
This usually means that making smarter decisions when you are building your custom home. The one thing that everyone needs to understand is that it costs money to go green. Green products are sold as a luxury item because they are not completely main stream yet. Here are some simple things that you can do when you’re having your house built that will help you go green and not blow the budget right out of the water.

Start with insulation. The more insulation that you have installed into your new home the better the energy efficiency will be. Energy efficiency will help you limit your carbon footprint, lower the cost of operating your home and will help keep the value of your home over time. Adding insulation is not that costly compared to the entire budget for your home. Adding the right amount of insulation will pay for itself in energy savings in the long run. Insulation can be added to outside walls, attics, the under slab of concrete and the rim joist.

Energy efficient heating. If you have access to natural gas then the best and most economical way to go greener is too install the highest efficiency furnace that is on the market. You can also do in-floor radiant heating which is a wonderful way to heat your home evenly. It’s a more pricey option but will save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you are in an area that doesn’t have gas available you have the option of doing Geothermal heating. This is by far the most efficient heating that you can have in a home, but it is also the most expensive. Geothermal heating is piping installed underground; it is full of a liquid compound that is circulated through the pipes. The liquid absorbs the heat or cold that is already in the ground, this is then circulated back to the house and it flows through the furnace. The furnace passes air over these lines; this is then circulated through the house with a conventional ducting system. The only electricity that is used in this system is used to run a pump that circulates the liquid and the fan that pushes the air around the house.

Instant hot water. One plus if you do go for in-floor radiant heat is that it is run by a flash boiler. The flash boiler also will heat all the water in the house. What this does is allow a house to have on-demand hot water. Instead of a hot water tank being heated all the time until it is needed, a flash boiler instantly starts boiling water as soon as the tap is turned on. This reduces energy consumption lowering your electrical bills.
If you have geothermal heating then you have the bonus of having your water pre-heated by your furnace. The way it works is the lines that run from the ground into the furnace then run into a hot water tank. This hot water tank receives the well water or city water and raises the temperature of the water to 90 degrees. This is basically free hot water, the more air conditioning you use the more free hot water you receive.

When you are picking your finishing’s an eye toward being green will cost you more money but it shouldn't be a budget buster. A little investigating will go a long way in telling you which companies are doing business in an environmentally responsibility way and producing a greener product.
For example; you can have your trim bought from companies that have their trim cut from a responsible forest plan. These plans insure that any trees that are removed are replaced with new saplings to take their place.
Your floor coverings are also a big way to stay environmentally friendly.  What your carpet is made from can also affect your health. Buying a natural fibre carpet will help reduce the chance that you or your family will be allergic to it. Hardwood flooring should be bought from a company that enforces an environmentally friendly position.
Even paint can be environmental choice. There are higher quality paints that are called Lovo which stands for Low Volatile Organic Compounds. This paint is made in an environmentally friendly way using mostly organic material and will not off gas in your home after it has dried.

These are some of the easier choices that you can make to stay green; most of them will not blow your budget. Some of the more expensive options will save you money well into the future and probably for the entire time that you own the home. They will also raise the value of resale for your home.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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