Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply remodeling, you want to leave the world a better place than when you started so that the home you live in does no harm to the planet it rests on. Not only does this mean more work (since eco-friendly construction is not exactly common) but also a greater expense, in all likelihood.
On the other hand, you stand to save a lot over the long-haul by implementing eco-friendly alternatives during the building process. Here are just a few options you may not be aware of when it comes to creating a space that is clean, green, and the home of your dreams.
Creating A Green Home
- Embrace concrete. If you’re building a structure from the ground up, consider using insulated concrete forms (reinforced concrete) instead of a wooden framework. They are an eco-friendly alternative to denuding forests and they are resistant to damage from fire, water, mold, and insects. And you can use concrete in other areas throughout your home as well. Flooring made from stained concrete can not only be beautiful and functional, it can also be patterned or stained to look like tile or stone flooring. It can be used on countertops and other areas in your home, as well.
- Look for reclaimed wood. Cabinets, flooring, and other projects in need of wood can give a second life to used items and stop the widespread destruction of a rapidly dwindling rain forest in one fell swoop. Plus, you can often find nicer woods for less money by getting items that have been saved and refurbished.
- Power up. Including alternative power is not only a great way to cut back on energy consumption from the grid, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Whether you choose to go with sun, wind, water, or geothermal sources (or a combination thereof), you can try to secure government incentives to help with the initial cost and then reap the benefits of lower utility bills throughout the year. You may even be able to sell excess energy back to the power company in order to recoup expenses and ensure that others are using clean energy as well.
- Utilize natural light. Make every effort to create an open space that makes the most of the natural daylight (to cut down on the use of artificial lights in your home). If you can’t afford to knock out walls or install bigger windows, fake it by directing sunlight throughout your home with mirrors. You can even consider installing fiber-optic light transferring devices to bring sunlight directly into basements or other rooms with limited lighting options.
- Go local. Rather than buying materials that have been shipped in from other parts of the country (or the world), adopt a local flavor buy opting for sustainably harvested wood or stone that can be found around your geographic area. You can use your consumer dollars to boycott operations that pollute the Earth and strip the planet of its natural resources, cut back on greenhouse gas emissions involved in transport of materials, and funnel money back into your community. In short, your green construction can form a multi-pronged attack against environmental abuse.