How to Build a “Green Home”?October 5, 2020
Sustainability. It focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It’s precisely what the world needs and is lacking in today’s society. If you’re an advocate of a more sustainable way of life, “going green” is the way to go. It is the same for those who are building or buying their new homes.
People are more aware of environmental issues and would love to contribute to making the world a better place. That said, construction companies, architects, and engineers are coming up with designs and builds with sustainability in mind. Thus, it creates a cycle where more people are becoming interested in “Green Homes”. Because of the increasing demand for it, home builders and designers make more of these projects.
You might be wondering, “What makes a house ‘Green’?” Is it the paint? A garden, perhaps? Well, it’s so much more than that. Building an eco-friendly house can be traced back to its foundation, design, and overall construction. Let’s dig deeper and find out exactly how to create a “Green Home”.
Started from the Bottom Now We’re Green
A well-planned foundation can significantly affect a structure’s ability to control temperature; this translates to lower energy costs in the future. It can also prevent moisture and mould problems which would mean using less harmful chemicals to rid of moulds and termites. It also needs to be constructed based on the climate, soil condition, proximity to the water source and other factors.
Heat is lost through walls, small gaps and even through concrete slabs, which is the reason why the foundation must be adequately insulated from the outside. It creates a thermal envelope that reduces the risk of acquiring condensation on key areas and contributes to the home’s energy conservation. Insulating a basement from the inside is also vital. It controls the movement of moisture and condensation, so what’s cool remains cool and what’s’ warm remains warm for longer periods.
These are becoming a trend in Australia, especially in Sydney where more and more people are seeing the benefits of properly insulated houses.
Here are some tips to make a “Green Foundation” according to GreenBuilding:
- Build from plywood or aluminium
Initial costs are higher, but they save the trouble and expense of replacing forms made from dimensional lumber.
- Reuse forms as much as possible
Most foundation applications make modular structures. You can keep as much material out of the landfill as possible and reduce landfill costs. You must clean and stack used forms after use and reuse them on another project.
- Use insulated concrete forms
Combine insulation and concrete to form one wall. Polystyrene blocks are stacked to create a foundation wall, and concrete is poured into the void for rigidly. Doing this results in savings on both concrete and labour costs. Many companies make ICFs. Some blocks are made from recycled wood chips and mineral wool.
- Install a perimeter drain at the base of a foundation wall
A perimeter drain gathers water that might otherwise damage the foundation wall and channels it away from the foundation. A perforated pipe wrapped in landscaping felt and placed in a bed of crushed rock located around the footing of the foundation.
- Insulate foundation walls and slabs with rigid foam
Use at least 2” of closed-cell extruded polystyrene. Insulate the exterior of the foundation before backfilling.
- Specify a minimum of 15% of fly-ash in your concrete
Fly Ash is not always suitable for flatwork as it takes longer to cure. However, fly ash makes concrete more robust, more durable and water-resistant. Fly Ash is a by-product of coal-fired energy plants. When ordering concrete, ask to add it to your mix. Notify the structural engineer that you intend to use fly ash.
- Use a shallow frost-protected foundation
Save money and materials by using shallow horizontal insulation for foundations in cold climates.
Using Sustainable Building Materials
In essence, using sustainable materials will lead to a more environment-friendly house. Building a green home from the ground up allows you to do everything the right way from the very beginning, which involves recycling and reusing some components of an older home such as windows, doors, and flooring. Of course, one must take into consideration the condition of such features to make sure they are in-line with the energy conservation theme of the house. Some old components may need some fixing to make sure there are no holes or cracks which may lead to poor control of temperature.
If you’re building a house made of wood, make sure that it comes from well-managed forests and that the supply chain is documented and certified. A better option would be using bamboo-based materials (more commonly as flooring), which are quickly renewable. They grow faster than wood, and if done right, bamboo can be more durable than any other material in the market. It’s relatively cheaper too, so it’s a win-win!
Choosing non-toxic, non-allergenic building materials can be quite pricey at first. Still, in the long run, you’ll thank having them as they can prevent unseen risks brought about by toxic materials found in construction materials like formaldehyde and black mould.
Also, selecting locally sourced materials for building your house will not only help your community, but it will also help you save money from freight charges. Furthermore, if you’re familiar with how and where to source the raw materials, the easier it is for you to distinguish if the said materials are sustainable or not.
Avoid Water and Energy Hogs
Homes built with sustainability in mind are almost guaranteed to be water and energy-efficient. In the design and planning, there are already several features which will showcase sustainability.
Water efficiency can mean collecting rainwater and reusing greywater—such as dishwasher, laundry, and sink run-off—in flushing the toilet. It can also mean simple measures like installing low-flow showerheads and toilets.
Energy efficiency is all about installing energy-smart appliances, insulating to the max, and installing plenty of skylights and windows for increased natural light. Some even go as far as turning their living room into a sunroom to maximize light during the day.
Building a “Green Home” has its fair share of hardships from the design and planning stages, up to its construction. However, if you can get past those trials—and choose to build your house for sustainability—then you’re not just giving back to the environment, you’re also saving more money in the long run.
Build With Us
You don’t have to build a sustainable house on your own. We can help you achieve your ideal home with less fuss and stress. Choosing the right partner in this tremendous undertaking is as important as buying or building the house itself. After all, you deserve the best services and value for your money.
That said, BuildQ properties are certainly a great choice. Our home and land packages are located in prime locations, at the same time, suitable for most budgets.
Choose a win-win purchase where you can get comfortable living spaces perfect for the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Suburbs in the West, North-West, and South-West have lots of residential areas that are quickly rising in terms of value. These have more space with easy access to amenities. BuildQ’s top selections include properties found in these new star districts such as The Ponds, Marsden Park, Riverstone, Caddens, and more. The best part is in the feature-rich inclusions we incorporate to our projects which have elements clients can customise to their liking.
It’s only fair to know that the firm you’re buying the package from has a good reputation. BuildQ Group has more than 500 projects successfully finished and has a strong relationship with past clients. Our build history, completed projects and customer reviews will help you with your decision-making process.
At BuildQ, living is not just about having a roof over your head. It’s about how better you can live your life at home.
Let us help build your dream “Green Home”. Sit back, relax, and leave it to us.
We are the BuildQ Group – builders you can TRUST.