There is a lot of thought and consideration that goes into the design and building of an eco-friendly home. From the home site and how the land is used, to the appliances and fixtures used in the final build, architectural design firms put a lot of effort into every green home design.
Let’s take a look at a typical checklist that many leading architects use to ensure they design an eco-friendly home that meets their client’s needs.
Green Siting & Land Use
- Build within already developed areas. This helps to avoid urban sprawl and the depletion of wildlife and wetland areas. It also increases the density in neighborhoods so homeowners can rely less on transportation to get to shops.
- Locate buildings to provide access to public transportation, bicycle paths, and walking access to basic services. This further helps to minimize automobile use.
- Locate buildings to minimize environmental impact. By clustering buildings together, it can also help preserve wetlands and other areas close by for wildlife.
- Situate buildings to benefit from vegetation. Trees on the east and west sides of a building can reduce cooling loads while dense shrubbery can block cold winter winds.
Green Building Design
- Smaller is better. Making better use of interior space through good design can decrease the amount of natural resources used to build the home.
- Design an energy-efficient building. High levels of insulation, less thermal bridging, high-performance windows tuned to the sun (heat reflective in east & west), and tightly sealed construction all work to make a home more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
- Get free energy. Designing buildings with solar water heating and photovoltaic (PV) panels and sloping roofs towards the south for optimal solar energy will give the homeowner free or low-cost energy.
- Make it easy for occupants to recycle. Making recycling easier to do will ensure that homeowners are more apt to recycle since containers will be handy.
- Use rooftop water catchment systems for collecting rainwater. This is an easy way to get free water for landscape irrigation.
- Look into the feasibility of using gray water. Used water from sinks, showers, or clothes washers have many purposes on today’s green homes.
- Avoid ozone-depleting chemicals in mechanical equipment and insulation.
- Use locally produced building materials.
- Use salvaged building products or products made from recycled material.
- Choose responsible wood supplies.
- Use high-efficiency appliances and lights. Using Energy Star rated appliances and LED lighting will help reduce energy usage and costs.
- Use water-efficient toilets, fixtures, water heaters and other elements. Water-conserving toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators reduce water use and they reduce the demand on septic systems or sewage treatment plants. Centrally locating fixtures reduces hot water cost.
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