House & Home

How to go green when building a home

Homes that counter the heat with cross-ventilation, high ceilings and shaded porches were among those showed off at the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Conference in New Orleans several years ago. There are many options for building a green home.
Homes that counter the heat with cross-ventilation, high ceilings and shaded porches were among those showed off at the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Building Conference in New Orleans several years ago. There are many options for building a green home. File photo by The Star

Europe has been the leader for decades and now the United States is finally catching up. The trend right now is to be not only environmentally friendly, but also to not waste resources. Sustainability, many believe, is the key to healthy living. One of the main trends right now relates to building and construction. From sustainable materials that go into building a green home to the energy-efficient benefits of passive housing, many homeowners are choosing to build and renovate their homes in a more environmentally friendly way.

If you are looking to create a green home, understand it will not happen overnight. Living green and even building green is a process that is helped by preplanning. Here are some tips for a greener lifestyle:

▪ Source locally. Locally sourced materials not only help the environment by creating a narrow carbon footprint, but they are also in many cases more special than what you may find elsewhere.

▪ Focus on materials. These days there are so many green options as it relates to materials, no one will have a problem finding a sustainable, eco-friendly choice. When you are looking for materials, begin by focusing on the most inhabited areas of the home, such as kitchens and baths. With rooms where you spend a lot of time, you certainly want to make sure they are as healthy as possible.

▪ Focus on energy efficiency. Wasting energy, specifically how the home is heated and cooled, should be one of the main areas of focus. Looking to build a home from the ground up? Why not consider building a passive house? Passive homes are the ultimate in home efficiency and part of a growing movement.

One of the biggest misconceptions about green living is that it is more expensive. In many instances, it’s easy to get wasteful by purchasing products that are poorly made or lackluster performers. As a result, those items are discarded and new ones purchased. Eco-friendly products in many instances are extremely well made and may be more durable and long-lasting. Eco-friendly materials may even end up saving you money.

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