You may be thinking of building your first dream home and might be considering going down the Eco Friendly route. Then the questions emerge, like where do you start? What is an Eco Friendly home design? Is using the majority of building materials that are renewable enough to call your new home Eco Friendly? Are the building codes in my area open enough to build the way I’m wanting to?
These are all valid questions! The best place to start is to consider how you use your home. Do you spend most of your time in a living area, a dining area, or an office area? Are you entering and exiting the home a lot i.e. kids running inside and out to a garden. Doors being opened create the biggest loss of heating or cooling which could be reduced with the use of an enclosed patio area at the entrance that is most used. Does your family sleep in or are they early rises? These factors will impact the direction you face your home, as you may prefer bedroom light in the morning and living area light in the evening. What is your local climate like? Can you utilise the sun for heating in winter and make adjustments like using directions shutters for protection from the suns heat in summer.
With these things in mind it’s now time to talk to an architect. Finding an architect that specialises in eco friendly home designs is a great idea as they often have some unique ideas specific to your location. If you cant, you will need to give your architect clear criteria. Here are some important considerations you may wish to discuss:
Water Conservation: Capture and use and reuse of water
Energy Efficiency: insulation, natural heating/cooling, and Solar energy
Building materials: Recycled, recyclable, renewable and toxicity
Appliances: Energy efficient and conservative with water
Remember, The most important factor for your design is how it fits you, your family and your activities. Your home must fit your families’ physical and emotional needs to ensure you live happily in your new environment.
Being Eco Friendly should not just be a home design choice, but a lifestyle choice. Use Eco friendly soaps and detergents; if you’re recycling your grey wastewater, your garden will thank you. Minimise your use of plastic bags when shopping, reusable bags can be obtained from most grocery outlets. Eat healthy, minimise consumption on foods with non-natural additives and flavourings. Keep active and enjoy your new home.