3 Innovative Features for an Environmentally Conscious Home Build
89% of prospective homebuyers want sustainable homes that are kind to the planet, according to one study conducted by E.ON Energy. An additional 80% said they’d prefer solar panels over having a garden, while 27% said that planet-friendly features are more important than walk-in wardrobes. However, solar panels aren’t the only option when it comes to eco-friendly home features. From a variety of water-efficient features worth considering to unique (yet effective) building materials, here are just a few options worth keeping in mind when looking to create an environmentally friendly abode.
Features for water efficiency
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), running the dishwasher only when it’s full can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water annually. In addition to eco-conscious practices such as this, however, integrating home features that are geared towards water conservation and overall efficiency can be a great way to create a home that’s kinder to the environment. New Home Source highlights a variety of ways in which this can be done, from the toilets to shower heads, sink faucets and beyond. For example, installing ‘dual flush’ toilets (toilets that have two separate flush buttons) can allow for liquids to be flushed with less water usage than a solid waste flush. Low-flow faucets and showerheads can further work to reduce waste, while installing green-greywater systems can allow for further conservation.
According to New Home Source, greywater, while not suitable for drinking, can be a great way to water outdoor landscaping and gardens. “Greywater systems vary greatly in complexity depending on a home owner’s requirements, but can be as simple as a pipe run from under a kitchen sink, through an exterior wall, to a garden area below all the way to a system designed to channel faucet and tub water into a toilet reservoir tank for flushing purposes.” Although such systems are not common in residential homes, according to the site, it can offer a way for homeowners to bring an elevated approach to their water conservation efforts when done properly.
The value of sustainable building materials
For those looking to build their home from the ground up, considering sustainable building material can make for a totally unique and eco-friendly home. One article from The U.S. News & World Report highlights the value in using a variety of different materials, from using reclaimed wood for flooring and furnishings to mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus. “Mycelium bricks are made by combining the fungi with organic waste, and they are resistant to water, mold and fire, which makes them an ideal material for building construction,” states the post.
In addition to sustainably grown timber and even straw, rammed earth presents another unique and sustainable option for eco-friendly building material. Consisting of a mixture of gravel, sand, and cement, rammed earth is fireproof, and makes for a great insulator against both temperature and noise. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of sustainable materials when choosing which one to go with. For instance, while rammed earth can make for an excellent building material for low rainfall areas, it can be quite expensive, and often requires expertise that can be difficult to find.
Innovative rooftop designs
While installing solar panels is a great way to create an eco-friendly home, there are a variety of sustainable rooftop designs worth considering. Architectural Digest highlights several options, from metal roofing to green roofs and even cold roofs. For example, while metal roofs can be a great solution for longevity (as they can last between 40 and 80 years), green roofs offer a fantastic option for those who enjoy nature. According to AD, rooftop gardens are “a common sight” in European countries, though are showing up throughout North America as well. “Replacing black asphalt with plants provides shade, lowering the surrounding air temperature and reducing your home’s energy use,” AD points out, going on to note that according to the EPA, green roof temperatures can be 30 to 40 degrees fahrenheit lower than conventional roofs. And, when it comes to “cold roofing” — a roof that uses reflective color for energy efficiency, AD notes that cold roofing can be ideal in keeping your summer energy bills lower.
For homeowners, eco-friendly features are becoming increasingly popular, and there are no shortage of options. When looking to create a home that’s kinder to the environment, valuable considerations include unique rooftop designs, innovative building materials, and water conservation efforts.