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The Top Sustainable House Design Ideas for Green Homes

Sustainable house design ideas

Coming up with sustainable home ideas doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some great ideas to help you.

Sustainable homes or eco homes mean you can reduce energy bills and use locally sourced materials as well as reduce your carbon footprint.

Green homes that harness and complement renewable energy to reduce energy costs and help reduce the impact of climate change are becoming the new construction standard.

Where to build for a sustainable home design?

The location of a sustainable home is one of the key things to consider. You need to make sure you reduce your carbon footprint in the build as well as keeping the home sustainable for as long as possible.

Dont build in a dangerous area

This may seem obvious but you should consider the risk of nature on your sustainable home.

If the land you build on is likely to flood in the future then it's probably not good to build there. You also need to consider more extreme natural events like earthquakes and hurricanes.

Building in a dangerous area that could risk the destruction of your new home would reduce its life and sustainable potential.

Travel considerations

If you are looking to live a sustainable life to go along with your new home consider where you have to travel. Will your new home be close to where you need to go from day to day?

You would want to reduce the amount of impact you have on the environment through travel. This may mean choosing a location within comfortable walking or cycling distance from work, amenities and entertainment.

This makes your home convenient and reduces your personal carbon footprint.

Utilities

You want to make sure you have access to all the utilities you may need. Picking a piece of land to build a sustainable home only to find that you cannot be connected to electrical, communication water and sewerage systems can ruin your plans. 

However, depending on how sustainable you want to build your home, you can avoid the need for many traditional utility services which we will explore further in the article.

Size, smaller homes are more sustainable

What size home are you thinking of? Lots of people dream of a large home but smaller homes are more sustainable.

Why are smaller homes more sustainable?

Smaller homes are greener and more sustainable because they need less energy to heat and maintain when built.

Smaller homes also benefit from requiring fewer materials to build them than larger homes.

How small should my home be?

When we say small what you really need to make a home sustainable is a home that is just the right size. This means taking into account the storage, room size and space you need to live a comfortable life.

Make sure to consider your future plans too. If you plan to have kids for example take this into account when designing your green home. Smaller homes also cost less to heat.

Take advantage of natural heat with home facing position

When you decide which way the home is going to face you want to take into account the natural heat and light the sun can provide. Harnessing this light and heat can reduce your energy bills for heating and lighting as well as making your home more comfortable.

Make sure that the wall with the largest amount of glazing, that's windows and doors with large windows like patio doors, is facing south. Facing the largest glazed area south will maximise the heat and light energy from the sun. This is massively beneficial in the winter months as days are shorter and colder.

Terracotta external cladding can also provide the home with recyclable hard-wearing protection and heat gain to the home. These types of passive construction materials and methods can make a huge difference to sustainability at low costs.

If too much sunlight and heat is coming from the sun in the summer months a perfectly calibrated overhang can reduce the natural heat and light at the height of summer. Calibrating the overhang perfectly will mean that in the winter months the overhand will not obstruct the natural light and heat coming through the windows.

Build your sustainable home out of the most local products

One of the biggest contributing factors to a carbon footprint of a building is the cost of manufacturing and transporting materials to the construction site.

If you can make use of local providers. This isn't just good for increasing the sustainability of a green home but will help the local economy too.

Sourcing materials locally is not always possible but consider transportation costs to the sustainability of your green home.

Consider this if you are just doing home renovations too.

Use recycled materials that are usable as construction materials

Design your green home with recycled and sustainable materials where possible. Using recycled materials will reduce your carbon footprint.

The carbon produced in the manufacture of new material can be much higher so recycled materials can be a great way to reduce this.

Another way to harness recycling in the construction of your green home is to make sure any waste material is recycled where possible when you remove it from the site.

Insulation Is Necessary for Sustainable Houses

Highly insulated homes are needed to save energy and make them greener. To find out which insulation is best you need to look at the R-value.

R-Value is a rating given to insulation. The higher the R-value the better the insulation. R stands for Resistance. So, making sure you have the best R-value possible in your insulation will go a long way to making it sustainable.

Using products like eco SIPs can be an exceedingly cost-effective, energy-efficient, sustainable and green way of building the framework of your home as well as giving it excellent insulation. This building system is perfect for green, sustainable and passive houses.

Insulation will keep warm air out in the summer and keep warm air in during the winter. This can save you a large amount on your energy bills. Insulation is critical especially if you are looking to build a passive home.

When you have sorted your wall insulation either with SIPs or another solution you need to look at the doors and windows. To maintain proper insulation you need to make sure your doors and windows have a high energy rating, are properly fitted and will stand the test of time.

Pipes and fixtures that conserve water

Water-efficient fixtures and pipes are needed to prevent the overuse of water.

Water conservation is important to keep a home sustainable now and in the future. Water is becoming more scarce and more expensive.

Luckily water-efficient products are readily available. Pipes can be low-flow which means you will waste less water when using them in your home. Taps and showerheads can also be low flow to ensure a reduction in water wastage.

Use LEDs to light your sustainable home

LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, are a must for a sustainable home.

LED lights are the most efficient form of artificial lighting and the options you have will be almost limitless.

LEDs will ensure you never use more energy than necessary and you won't have to replace them for many years to come.

Get double or triple glazed windows

Eco-friendly Double glazed windows are an important element in keeping your home warm and comfortable.

Double glazed windows can add insulation and if they are really efficient provide passive heating from the sun. This means they help to keep a home cool in winter and warmer in summer.

Look for windows with a high energy rating of at least A+ for your sustainable home.

Renewable Energy for Sustainable Houses

Renewable energy is a major part of a sustainable house. Using renewable energy sources generated from the home itself will save you money and be good for the environment. It will also reduce you energy consumption from the main grid. Here are the top 2 renewable energy sources for sustainable homes:

Photovoltaic Panels

Photovoltaic panels gather energy from the suns rays. They are a great low impact way of generating energy for a sustainable home.

They can go on the roof of the home or in the garden but make sure they are positioned correctly. The positioning of the panels will determine how much energy they can generate.

You can use energy generated by solar panels whenever you like by storing the energy in batteries.

In certain areas you can even sell excess energy to the power grid. Adding sustainable energy into the system.

Windmills

Windmills get energy from the wind. The wind turns the blades and energy is generated.

Windmills come in many shapes and sizes. It's also crucial to position energy-generating windmills correctly to make the most of the wind captured.

They can go on the roof or somewhere else on your land and just like solar panels you can store the electricity or possibly sell it back to the electricity grid.

Sustainable heating and cooling

An air source heat pump (ASHP) is a good eco heating option. It will keep your home comfortable and the temperature regular all year round.

These heat pumps use the air from outside to heat hot water and the air. They require electricity but the heat they output is better than the electricity needed to run them. This makes them an efficient way to heat a sustainable home.

Air source heat pumps are the perfect solution to traditional air conditioning and water heaters.

Build Something You Love

In conclusion, it is important you build a sustainable home that you will love.

Part of sustainability is to create a home you will be happy living in for a very long period. If you move you would lose all the time you spent on your project. If you dont like your home that's not going to help your mental health.

Build something you love for now and in the future and be happy that your sustainable home is reducing your carbon footprint at the same time!

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