This is one of the common questions we ask our self when building, flipping a house or doing some renovation projects. Imagine you are having your ideal living arrangements on each day, I bet you would agree that it feels so great. Let’s have some freedom in building and styling your own home by taking note of these important things that we have to consider.
Your Budget: Tips for affordable ways to GO GREEN
1. Build Vertical, Not Horizontal
Two of the largest costs involved in building a home are the foundation and the roof. Therefore, a ranch home with the exact same amount of square footage as a two-story home will cost more money. Avoid this by building multiple stories, simultaneously improving your energy efficiency by reducing plumbing and duct runs. Furthermore, multiple story houses have a higher surface area to volume ratio than ranches, which means they expose less area to outside air and reduce the energy needed to heat or cool the home.
2. Pay Attention to Landscape and Orientation
Think about ways to use your land to your advantage. For one, laying a foundation on level ground is far cheaper than laying one on a slope. If you must lay your foundation on a slope, consider building vertical by turning your basement into a garage. To maximize heating and cooling benefits, orient your house so the longest side faces the south to catch maximum sunlight. Build an overhang on your roof to shield the house from the higher-angle summer sun while still allowing the winter sunshine in.
3. Choose Low-Cost, Renewable Materials
Materials are a huge factor in the overall cost of your home. Low-cost options, such as natural linoleum tile for your bathroom or kitchen, can generate serious savings. Finding and using local goods can also make a big difference. Instead of shingling your roof with expensive slate or polluting asphalt shingles, you can use sheet metal from your local recycling center. Depending on your area’s building codes, you might also consider earth-bag construction and small-diameter wood.
4. Choose Simplicity Over Complexity
Here’s one from Howard Roark, famous fictional architect: build for purpose, not for ornamentation. A simple square is far easier and cheaper to build than a jigsaw floor layout. Clean roof lines are preferable to fancier, fashionable options, as they are easier and cheaper to build. Unnecessary external or internal design touches can be nixed. Done correctly, these choices can create a natural, everything-in-its-place sense of purpose for your home.
5. Invest in Insulation
Good insulation is one of the easiest ways to lower your ongoing heating and cooling costs. A properly insulated home will require a minimal amount of heating or AC use, which reduces your home’s carbon footprint while lowering your bills. It’s also important to seal any passages air may escape through, such as around vents, ducts, windows or doors. Without proper caulking, even the best insulation loses a large degree of effectiveness.
6. Set Up Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great way to reduce your ongoing electricity costs in an environmentally friendly way. It’s possible to power your entire home with installation and sell excess electricity back into the grid. The orientation of your house plays a large role in the effectiveness of solar panels; the greatest exposure should be to the south, allowing you to take advantage of the sun’s angle in the northern hemisphere.
7. Consider Geothermal Heat
Not every home is capable of using geothermal heat, which pumps up heat from deep in the earth. For the ones that are, it can be a goldmine. Although it does require an upfront installation cost, the system can effectively eliminate your ongoing heating bill due to its low usage costs and high heat volume. Even better, especially for those with large families, it provides a nearly unending supply of hot water.
8. Pick Energy Efficient Windows, Fixtures, and Appliances
One of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint while lowering your energy bills is the use of Energy Star rated windows, fixtures, and appliances. These windows are highly effective at insulating your home, due to features like multiple panes, pane distance spaces, quality frame materials, specially coated glass, and noble gases as insulation between panes.
9. Take Advantage of Incentives, Tax Breaks, and Certifications
The federal government, as well as many state and local governments, provides incentives and tax breaks for green homes. Solar panels and geothermal heat can yield returns, as can energy-rated appliances and fixtures. Consult your local government to learn about becoming certified, and therefore eligible, for incentives in your area.
10. Lock in Your Electricity Rates with a Fixed Rate Energy Plan
There will always be room for improvement once your house is complete. One of the ways to budget for this is with a fixed rate energy plan from a third party energy supplier. A fixed-rate plan means you pay the same rate every month, as opposed to the typical variable-rate plans, which shift with the market. Knowing what your energy bill will be ahead of time can help you put together a budget, and put away savings to invest in finishing touches and new home projects.
Building your own home is a powerful expression of self. It’s an exercise of freedom. The best part is, once the project is complete, you get to start living in it for as long as you like.
Use Sustainable Building Materials
In the context of green homes, sustainable is a catch-all term that experts generally agree on hits as many of these points as possible:
Recycled or Reused: A recycled material is one that has been reprocessed, such as turning rubber tires into flooring. Reused materials are used whole (but usually with fixes), such as windows, doors, and flooring.
Sustainably Harvested: Wood is the prime example of a material that is sustainably harvested. This means it comes from well-managed forests and that the supply chain is documented and certified.
Quickly Renewable: Bamboo, mainly used for flooring, is a good example of a sustainable material that renews quickly, as it is a grass and not a wood.
Non-Toxic and Non-Allergenic: Formaldehyde and black mold are two elements often found in toxic and allergenic building materials.
Locally Sourced: Whenever possible, materials are best sourced within a roughly 100-mile radius, rather than being freighted great distances.
Build Water- and Energy-Efficiency into the Plans
Intelligently built green homes are not water and energy hogs. Instead, they sip both resources.
Water efficiency can mean collecting rainwater and reusing graywater, such as dishwasher, laundry, and sink run-off (not toilet water). Or it can mean simple measures like installing low-flow shower heads 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.
Building a green home means using sustainable materials, improving energy and water efficiency, and taking measures to improve your indoor air quality.
Stay tuned for my next blog!
I am your Wellness LifeStyle Real Estate Advisor.
Broker/ Owner: Cynthia McGuire
Real Estate License Number: 3279376
Office Address: 7000 W Palmetto Park Rd # 210
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Contact #: 561 – 542 – 2262
Email: [email protected]