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How to Incorporate Sustainable Design Features into Your New Home

How to Incorporate Sustainable Design Features into Your New Home
1st March 2023

In a world affected by climate change, ensuring that your house follows sustainable design and building features is more important than ever. Sustainable homes are made of environmentally friendly materials. Sustainable design features can also increase your energy efficiency. This article will outline how to incorporate sustainable design features into your new home and answer common questions about the process and materials required.

Building a Sustainable Home: What’s Involved?

If you’re wondering how to build a sustainable house or what makes a home sustainable, there is no single answer. Making your new home sustainable depends on many different independent factors that will all save you time and money in the long run, while being eco-friendly and energy efficient. When designing your home, consider the following key features:

Passive solar design

When building a sustainable house, consider the house’s orientation, the passive solar design, and the energy efficiency of the windows. These elements can be configured to optimise natural light and heat, reducing the need for heating and cooling appliances which can waste energy and lead to costly bills. High-performance windows can be light sources and heaters in one feature. By prioritising passive solar design, you’ll save money and time on heating and lighting because you’ll receive heat and light straight from the source: the sun. The insulation of your house is another factor to consider that can save energy consumption; if your home maintains warmth and coolness well, you won’t have to use artificial heating and cooling as much.

Cool roofing for hot weather

While you want to preserve warmth through your high-performance windows, having a cool roof helps to balance out your home’s temperature regulation. Choose a roofing material that reflects the heat of the sun rather than absorbs it. This can help to maintain a cool environment inside your home and save you money on cooling appliances. Common cool roof materials are stone/rock, green roofs, shingles, and membranes. Make sure you choose a sustainable material, too.

Energy-efficient appliances

To optimise energy efficiency, choose energy-efficient appliances and use smart home technology. Renewable energy is eco-friendly and cost-effective, so consider using solar panels or a solar array. Another helpful design feature is a programmable thermostat, which can optimise heating and cooling and avoid unnecessary energy consumption. Choosing energy-efficient light bulbs will also reduce your electricity usage.

Water conservation

One often overlooked element of home sustainability is water conservation. Consider having a rainwater tank installed for rainwater harvesting. Choose water-efficient fixtures and appliances to reduce water consumption and water bills. Use rainwater for chores that use a lot of water, such as watering the plants and washing your car. Consider installing a drip irrigation system for your plants to save water when watering them — it’ll also save you time! By using less water, you’ll contribute to a more sustainable living environment.

Landscaping and outdoor spaces

Sustainable design features aren’t just for indoor areas. You can incorporate them into outdoor species. Use native, low-maintenance plants, permeable surfaces, and create drought-tolerant gardens. By preserving water and ensuring your garden’s efficiency, you’ll create a more sustainable outdoor environment.

Building a Sustainable Home: Materials and Costs

Once you’ve planned your sustainable home and incorporated sustainable features into the design, you’ll have to review what materials you’re using and how much you’ll be spending overall. Below, we’ll answer two of the main questions that may arise in the construction stage:

What material is good for building a sustainable house?

Using sustainable building materials preserves the environment and reduces carbon emissions during construction. When choosing sustainable building materials, consider recycled, reclaimed, locally sourced, and low-impact materials.

  • Use cellulose, sheep’s wool, or recycled denim for insulation.
  • Consider reclaimed wood, cork, or bamboo for your flooring.
  • Choose recycled metal, slate, and green materials for your roofing.

Choosing sustainable building materials for your home will reduce your environmental impact and benefit from a healthy living space.

How much does it cost to build a sustainable house?

Building a sustainable home is a significant investment that will provide long-term savings. It may be initially expensive to incorporate sustainable design features, but the reduced energy bills and healthy living environment make the investment worthwhile. The cost of building a sustainable home depends on too many factors to count, including your location, the size of your floor plan, and the construction company. However, some insurance companies cut fees if you use greener building materials, so you may be able to save some money on insurance for your sustainable home.

Final thoughts

Building a sustainable house requires intricate planning and design. Taking advantage of adjusting the floor plan before construction will allow you to optimise natural light and heat to reduce energy costs. The initial cost of building a sustainable house may be high, but the environmental benefits and eventual savings make it all worthwhile.

To ensure your home is sustainable, speak to your builder throughout the design and construction process to ensure your energy efficiency optimises and takes advantage of sustainable design features. Cougar Homes can help you incorporate sustainable design features into your new home in North Queensland. When you build with the leading builders in Cairns, you’ll ensure that your new sustainable home is eco-friendly and built to last.

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