For many Australians, building their dream home involves building something that is as beautiful as it is environmentally friendly. The beginning of the process is the perfect place to start thinking about how you can incorporate sustainable materials into your dream custom home. Fortunately, there is a world of more sustainable materials that you’ll be able to work into every part of your custom home. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best ways to build the eco-friendly custom home of your dreams.
What is a Sustainable Home?
So exactly what makes a home sustainable? Quite simply, it has to have been built with energy conservation in mind. There are many ways to make your custom home sustainable, including installing low-impact appliances, materials, and sustainable techniques and building methods. You can also use materials that are local and more easily sourced.
Why is sustainability important?
Climate change, and the effect of carbon emissions on the environment, are felt across the world. Being aware of every decision we make that might affect the environment is key. Building with sustainability in mind, contributes towards a more eco-friendly way of life is our way for everyone. But the benefits don’t end there. Eco-friendly homes use less energy, so you spend less every month. Plus, most sustainable materials are more durable than traditional materials. This means that, not only will your new dream home require less maintenance, but it will last much longer too.
Now, let’s look at all the things you can do to choose more sustainable materials in every part of your dream custom home.
Choose a sustainable site
One of the first eco-friendly decisions you can make is to choose a sustainable site for your home to be built on. Land that has already been developed or prepared is perfect. The goal is to disturb the environment around your space as little as possible. By choosing land that is ready for building, you mitigate the need for heavy machinery, plus you won’t need to cut down any trees to prepare your site.
When considering a piece of land, you could also think about how close it is to the shops or your work, and how close it is in proximity to public transport. Choosing a space that lets you take public transport as much as possible will reduce the use of your car, which reduces your emissions. You’ll also be able to walk to nearby amenities, encouraging a healthier and happier lifestyle for you and your family.
Incorporating the sun into your design
Passive solar design
One of the biggest energy users in every home is your heating and cooling system. Luckily, the sun is your biggest ally. Designing your home in such a way that you use the warmth of the sun to heat it, will mean you use much less energy. And save on your energy bill of course. This approach is called Passive Solar Design. Homes that incorporate it can warm and cool themselves automatically without needing a single plug or wire, by letting their natural design do the heavy lifting.
The key design factor in solar passive design is by incorporating large north-facing windows into as much of your home as possible. This allows winter sun, that is lower in the sky, to shine directly onto all your north-facing windows and warm your house throughout the day. In summer, the sun shines down from a higher angle and the eaves of your roof will shade the windows, allowing less heat into your home.
For passive solar design to be effective, it’s important to ensure that your insulation is highly efficient, so that your home retains the heat brought in by the sun throughout the year.
One of the easiest ways to make your dream home more sustainable is by installing solar energy panels. Solar energy is cleaner, cheaper and will immediately make your home more environmentally and financially sustainable. If solar panels aren’t on your priority list yet, you could always design your roof in such a way that you’re able to add them further down the line. Solar-powered garden lights with rechargeable batteries are also a great way to begin your journey into sustainable power.
Incorporating sustainable materials
The next step in sustainable materials is opting for eco-friendly paint. They’re better for the environment, but they’re also better for your family’s health. Most traditional paints contain toxic chemicals called volatile organic compounds. Luckily, plant and water-based paints have been introduced to the market. These paints are all-natural and constrain biodegradable materials that decrease your carbon footprint and minimise the chemical emissions that normal paint emits into your home.
Most of the traditional materials used in home builds are man made. These materials are harsher on the environment, and undergo an unsustainable process to be created. When choosing more eco-friendly materials for your home, look for natural, raw materials first. Raw materials like wood and stone, perform the same way that their man-made counterparts do, but are much better for the environment.
You can also look to use materials that are native to the area you live in, or raw materials that are processed near your city. Choosing these materials requires less transportation to get them to your site, unlike other materials which would have to be sourced from across the country, resulting in carbon and fossil fuel emissions from large transportation trucks or trains.
Building your eco-friendly dream home
Sustainability is a global goal that needs to be tackled on a global scale, but there are things each of us can do to live more sustainably. Setting yourself up for sustainable living right from the start is the best way to future-proof your home and save yourself a significant amount of money while also protecting the environment and reducing your carbon footprint.
At Enso Homes, we’re committed to building your dream custom home exactly the way you want it, and are able to give you expert advice on the most sustainable options available to you at every part of the building process. With us, you can expect a level of quality, workmanship and sustainability that will last for generations.