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Ready For an Environmentally-Friendly Home? Check Out These Popular Design Elements

by Dylan Snyder REALTOR®
The Snyder Group at Keller Williams Realty

Homeowners and homebuyers are increasingly interested in design elements that may serve to help the environment and reduce energy costs. From site location to reduction in energy consumption, small and large changes can make for more comfortable living and take into account the values of occupants. Environmentally friendly design can begin prior to construction or be retrofitted into existing homes by licensed professionals.

Choice of Site

green homeThose looking to build a home or make changes to an existing home may need to know more about the aspects of a site itself. Individuals who want to incorporate a solar panel system for clean energy need to have enough light to make this a practical option. Not every home can benefit from this reliable source of clean energy. The space itself should inspire and suit changing needs. Property owners may want to include gardens and have a measure of privacy when building on a parcel. Taking the time to find the right site for a property can add to long-term enjoyment and beautifully frame a home.

Positioning a Home

For a number of reasons, designers and homeowners need to consider the position of a house on a property. Positioning can affect the amount of natural light and the amount of heating or cooling required keeping occupants comfortable. Changes of positioning may be required for those living in hot climates, such as having large windows located on the north side of a home. Smaller windows would be used on the southern side. The reverse would be true for those living in cooler climates. Positioning a home properly can support passive design elements, which can keep maintenance, cooling and heating costs lower over the lifetime of owning a home.

Selecting Green Materials

green materialsThere are many ways to make a home more environmentally friendly. Mild steel and aluminum has replaced wood as the primary material used in green homes. In addition, contractors and homeowners can utilize glass, bricks, ceramics and cement during construction or when making upgrades. Individuals may also recycle materials when building. This can keep useful materials out of landfills and reduce the need for additional materials to be manufactured and transported to a site. Homeowners often choose options such as non-toxic paint and LED lighting, along with repurposing and reusing aluminum, tiles, glass and other materials, when renovating a home or designing a green home.

Choosing certain materials can help homeowners reduce energy bills and more. Natural and fabricated brick can is useful in absorbing solar heat. Brick made up of specific materials may have lower water absorption and be fire-resistant. Homeowners looking for a durable and low-maintenance material for their walls may opt to include ceramic. Available flooring options that are eco-friendly include bamboo and laminated wood. However, there are a range of natural and durable materials, such as granite and terrazzo, which are appealing choices for flooring in a green home. Materials can help protect occupants from fire, reduce maintenance requirements and keep a home warmer or cooler as needed.

Designing & Layout

Potential homebuyers desire an open layout. Choosing an open layout can decrease construction costs, while improving ventilation and light in a home. Many homeowners appreciate the natural light illuminating a home with an open layout. Another benefit is being able to rearrange furniture easily for changing purposes.

Going with Clean Energy

wind energySolar energy panels can be seen on homes in many communities across the United States and in other countries. Those homeowners that invest in solar panels can have a consistent energy source and not be subject to issues that may occur from being tied to a local utility system, thus cutting down on one’s carbon footprint. Proper placement is needed to make sure that enough solar energy is generated from the installed system. It is possible to lease or purchase a solar panel system, making clean energy more accessible for the average homeowner.

Always Test Before Big Renovations

Those who are looking to make updates on an existing home would do well to perform environmental testing prior to the start of a major project, as well as after the work is complete to ensure the home is safe. Lead, mold and asbestos are only a few issues that homeowners may need to contend with and it is best for homeowners to prepare for such challenges in order to reduce their exposure to harmful organisms or materials.

70% of homes are estimated to have mold behind walls. (Harvard EDU)

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