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Ditching Disposables - How to Build Your Sustainable House

Cloth Diapers in Storage

When you make your home more environmentally friendly, you are helping to improve the atmosphere.

That isn't it, however.

A sustainable house will reduce the expense of operating your home by conserving electricity, water, and equipment and equipment repair.

You also make a better world for yourself, your neighbors, and your pets. Little sustainable switches over time.

You don’t need to go all-in, all at once- especially if you need to start from the ground up with a complete new build, retrofitting what you already have, or are just make some switches in your carbon footprint.

What is a Sustainable House?

Cloth Diapers in a Drawer

A sustainable house is designed or retrofitted in a way that conserves resources, optimizes energy and water consumption, and is equipped with high-quality systems to last longer.

Low-impact, high-performance fabrics are used in sustainable housing. Manufacturing, packaging, and installation are all successful.

Furthermore, high-quality components and processes waste less so they crack less and last longer.

What Does a Sustainable House Need?

House with white picket fence

A sustainable house is planned and constructed using environmentally friendly materials and technologies to reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Eco-homes are assessed in a variety of areas to ensure that they achieve environmental goals such as water conservation, waste reduction by reusing and recycled products, emissions management to prevent global warming, electricity production, and conservation and should include the following:

  • Higher than normal levels of thermal insulation
  • Better than normal air-tightness
  • Good levels of daylight Passive solar orientation — glazing oriented south for light and heat
  • Thermal mass to absorb that solar heat
  • Minimum north-facing glazing — to reduce heat loss
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system
  • Heating from renewable resources (such as solar, heat pump, or biomass)
  • Photovoltaic panels, small wind turbine or electricity from a ‘green’ supplier
  • Natural materials — avoidance of PVCu and other plastics
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Grey-water collection
  • Composting toilet
  • Glass that has two or three layers with a vacuum in between to prevent heat loss; (double or triple-glazed windows)
  • Solar panels or wind turbines
  • Geothermal heating and growing plants on the roof to regulate temperature, quieten the house, and to produce oxygen
  • A vegetable patch outside the house for some food

Three Key Elements of a Sustainable House

Use Sustainable Building Materials

Pile of Logs

Recycled or Reused: Recycled materials have been reprocessed, such as rubber tires turned into flooring.

Recycled objects, such as walls, doors, and flooring, are used in their entirety (though typically with repairs).

Sourced Sustainably: Wood is an excellent example of a material that can be sourced sustainably.

This ensures it comes from well-managed forests with a registered and accredited supply chain, locally, or even reclaimed.

Likewise, since bamboo is grass rather than a tree, it is a good example of a natural material that renews easily.

Build Water and Energy-Efficiency into the Plans

Rain Catcher

Intelligently constructed sustainable houses do not waste water or electricity. Instead, they take a drink from both outlets.

Collecting rainwater and reusing greywater, such as dishwashers, washing, and drain run-off, are examples of water quality (not toilet water).

It may also be as easy as fitting low-flow showerheads and toilets.

Building energy-efficient equipment, insulating to the maximum extent possible, and installing plenty of skylights and ventilation for improved natural light are all important aspects of energy conservation.

Emphasize Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Blue Paint can with roller

The first step in achieving a sustainable house with IAQ is to use organic construction materials, which minimize or exclude materials that add contaminants and allergens to the air.

Water vapor, although generally harmless, can promote the growth of toxic black mold.

Toxins such as formaldehyde are commonly present in non-sustainable building materials.

Paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) should be used.

Instead of vinyl or man-made carpet, use natural materials such as wood for hard flooring and wool for carpeting.

How to Build Your Sustainable House

Choose your Materials Wisely

Wood Planks

When you build a sustainable house from the ground up, you have the ideal opportunity to do it correctly from the start.

This can also apply to large-scale developments like installing a second story or constructing an extension.

Choosing environmentally friendly materials is important when constructing a sustainable house.

No one substance is widely accepted to be sustainable. Instead, sustainability is more of a set of desirable qualities in a commodity.

The more of these excellent observations you can condense into one, the better.

Build with Energy Efficiency in Mind

Homes have been wasting resources (including electricity and gas) and water for centuries.

Builders viewed both as indefinitely renewable energy. We now have a clearer understanding of the situation.

This ties back into choosing your materials wisely. Be sure that the energy sources and energy users are sustainable and meet or exceed EnergyStar requirements.

Energy Efficiency doesn’t stop at gadgets and gizmos- your sustainable house should have adequate insulation to really hone in the sustainable power in those appliances and energy sources.

Oh and uh, make sure to save water for the fishes!

Graywater systems are now more widely accessible and can greatly reduce the amount of water wasted daily.

Don’t Forget About the Air in Your Sustainable House

Air filters

Nothing matters more than the quality of the air you breathe.

Prior to the sustainable house building trend, however, few planners, architects, and builders give much attention to the indoor air quality.

With more man-made products entering our households and a greater concentration of pesticides, we are becoming more aware of the importance of good air quality.

Be sure that you are contracted with builders and engineers who are mindful of the indoor quality.

5 Quick Ways to Jumpstart Your Sustainable House

Rows of Solar Panels

  1. Purchase only appliances that are EnergyStar Rated Install
  2. Exterior Lights that have motion-activated lights
  3. Collect Rainwater and reuse it in your garden
  4. Ensure that all toilets and shower-heads are low-flow Install
  5. Solar Panels

Conclusion-Building Your Sustainable House

Pen and paper pouches

All good things come to those who wait. And wait. And wait.

The secret to successfully constructing a sustainable house is proper planning.

Since very much relies on construction, and energy-efficient sustainability does not have to cost a lot more than a code-built home.

However, choosing and finding renewable building materials will take a little longer because they are always special orders.

As a result, it's crucial to start your research early and stay prepared.

Project management accounts for at least half of a good sustainable home design, not just the expertise of the building professionals who assist in the construction of your new dream sustainable home.

All of that planning and organizing can be daunting.

Keep your paperwork organized with Oh Lily Clear Pouches.

These pouches will neatly organize smaller building samples, receipts, and all your paperwork!

Click HERE to grab a 3 Pack of Oh Lily Clear Pouches

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