Sustainable housing is one that makes efficient use of resources and energy with the minimal impacts in the environment. The overriding principle in sustainable housing is ensuring it promotes better quality of life and involves less waste, better reliability, lower life-cycle environmental impacts, less maintenance and more re-use. These are some of the ways that are used to make a home more sustainable.
Making our homes sustainable is a simple task and not need to cause a lot of anxiety during or after construction. If a house is already constructed, there are many improvements that are needed to make it more sustainable. Some of them are immediate, but and are cheap while others take longer and are more costly. For new homes, there are so many ways it can be made sustainable. Most of these sustainability aspects are applicable when renovating or when constructing a new building. Here are 30+ innovative ways to build a sustainable house.
1. Insulation of walls and the floor and having a ceiling board. This will help to aid in cooling purposely to save on energy costs. Insulation will help in saving money on energy bills and make the house more comfortable because insulation will bar heat passing in and out of the house. It will maintain a comfortable temperature inside regardless of the outside temperature. Insulation allows the temperature to remain balanced even in winter or summer.
2. Install windows that are double-glazed. Double glazed windows help to insulate house making it cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter. One can as well use thermal black curtains in place of double glazed windows in case they are too costly.
3. Make use of the sun. Orientate a new home for maximum sunlight. This involves passive solar heating designs and making use of daytime lighting fully. By the use of passive solar, the windows can let in energy and the heat absorbed reduces the need for warming the house during cold periods such as winter. Seeking advice from the architect for more ideas is necessary.
4. Choose appliances that have more energy-efficiency. Swapping of the regular electrical appliances with energy-saving certified products is highly desirable for a sustainable house.
5. Selection of non-toxic building materials for constructing the house. Non-toxic building materials lower life-cycle environmental impacts the house might pose.
6. The use of local materials. Using of locally available materials is appropriate to reduce degradation of the environment during transportation.
7. Minimizing resource wastage. During construction, recycling of wastes can be done to reduce the accumulation of wastes as much as possible. For instance, materials can be sourced demolished products which have been recycled.
8. Usage of renewable electricity sources. This is done through the installation of a small-scale wind turbid or micro- hydro system. Choosing of the power company that generates sources that are renewable is also recommended.
9. Building the house with comfort taking care of the future will make it more sustainable. If the plan is to stay longer in the room, then the indoor and outdoor access will be a requirement., it will also avoid future extension of the house as well as renovation so as the reduce future expenditure in the house.
10. Selection of a local or native plant life for landscaping and interior design is an essential element. It will make the house to look beautiful and attractive as well as creating a calm environment for sustainability. Plants also act as natural air purifiers.
11. Installation of solar panels and temperature regulating walls. It will make the house to be more eco-friendly and make the house cooler.
12. Putting up of energy saving bulbs in the house. Energy is saved when incandescent light bulbs are replaced with compact fluorescent lamps or LED bulbs.
13. Usage of extension loads types of equipment. The house power consumption can be reduced by almost fifteen percent if multi-socket extension loads are used.
14. Building compost for kitchen waste. Compost for a kitchen waste will help to reduce amount of household waste in landfills and reducing the costs associated with collection of wastes.
15. Use of organic beddings. Cotton linen usage accounts for almost thirty percent world’s insecticide use. Changing to organic cotton or bamboo is more sustainable and efficient.
16. Use of windows that are energy efficient. Energy efficient windows will keep the house cool during the summer and warm in the winter due to their proper insulation.
17. Planting of spider plants in the room. Spider plants are known for air purification, they are planted in the chamber, and they will help to purify the air especially in the bathroom.
18. Creating a comfortable eco house with a passive design. A house that has a passive design makes the room to cool and heat naturally; this is will the occupants comfortable due to its excellent orientation and proper ventilations, this house will facilitate the sun rays in during cold seasons and will be able to cool down during the hot season. The house can also be designed to receive more natural light than artificial light, reducing the overall electricity costs.
19. Design to create a microclimate. The design should allow lightweight ventilation in hot, dry climate. The house should also be well insulated and have good solar access during winter.
20. Design for good life. Ensure the house aims to stay for a longer period. The materials should be vigorous and durable, and that can be recycled easily. The house should also adapt to the changing needs without incurring the cost in the future by building extension or renovation.
21. Creation of efficient heating and cooling without buying air conditioners in the house. It can be done by use of curtains and blinds, and sealing any leaks. Also make use of the sun’s heat and shading to provide an excellent climate and insulation respectively. If you have to buy air conditioner, then you also have to set up ceiling fans to increase the efficiency of the air- conditioner.
22. Build water tanks to collect rain water. Collect the rainwater in tanks for use in bathrooms and garden is part of water use efficiency. Rain water harvesting will help to reduce wastage of piped water thereby leading to sustainable living.
23. Use of drought tolerant plants for landscaping the house environment. Drought tolerant plants require less water and can survive during drought, thus making them beautiful throughout the year. They also have aesthetic value.
24. Use solar or wind power. The two are renewable energy sources that are cheap and non-polluting. If using wind energy plants for landscaping, it is necessary to use wind maps that can help to predict the mean annual wind speed in your location. There are factors to be taken into consideration when using the wind and solar energy. Once the system is set up, it will supply the house with clean and free electricity.
25. Establishing lockable taps. Turning off the taps after usage helps to avoid water wastage. Ensuring that the taps are turned off after using them avoids the misuse of water and in the long-term, it contributes to saving on water bills hence increased sustainability.
26. Installation of thermostat that is programmable. Thermostats can be used to monitor the house temperature, keeping it warmer or cooler when the one is not around.
27. Install low-flush toilets. Low-flush toilets can significantly help to reduce water wastage compared to traditional ones that uses 6 liters of water per flush. Particularly, low-flush toilets use about 4.5 liters or less per flush.
28. Reuse of the furniture. Other than purchasing new furniture, one can recycle the old ones to save the money and trees.
29. Use of eco paints for the walls during construction will make the house more sustainable. The use of paints that are plant or water based other than using the traditional ones which are full of volatile organic compounds is part of building a sustainable house. The chemical paints are bad for the occupant’s health and lead to air pollution.
30. Installation of monitor sensing lights in the room. Monitor sensing lights will help in turning on the lights when a person or people are occupying a room and turn them off when there is no one. This contributes to saving energy costs often associated with wastage when people forget to turn off the lights when leaving the house.
31. Installation of skylights in the room. Skylights not only provide beautiful lighting but are also energy saving thereby reducing energy consumption.
32. Use of sustainable flooring materials. Sustainable materials will make the floor appear attractive and durable. The use of bamboo trees is appropriate since they grow very fast and require small area.