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Principles of Green Home Designs

Green home designing can allow homeowners to participate in caring for the environment. The negative effect of modernizing can be reduced with the help of green home designs. A lot of people nowadays opt for environment friendly things to ensure that they participate in caring for the Mother Nature. The following are considerations that many architects consider when they design a home that is 100% eco-friendly.

1. Site- when you talk about the site where the home would be built, there are lots of considerations that should be taken into account such as the soil, access, bodies of water, ledge, slope as well as the vegetation around to decrease the impact of creating home to the natural environment of the site. Remember that anywhere you build your home, there will always be a vegetation or life surrounding that area, and architect should be very careful building houses to protect the flora and fauna around the place. The location of the site is very important. It should be well inspected if it is near any farmland, protected species, and wetland. When it comes to accessibility of the house, the location should be near to schools, market, public transportation, and parks.

2. Size- if you desire to have a home that is eco-friendly, then you have to limit the square footage of your home to a minimum. This will reduce the amount of energy that you need to consume to be able for your home to be an ideal place to live. A nice home should have efficient lightning, heat and air-conditioning system, appliances and other gadgets and materials that will consume electricity or energy. The smaller the home, the lesser energy it needs to consume to be able to operate the entire home.

3. Solar- green home designs should not forget the use of solar energy. Whether you choose to have solar energy system inside your home to produce electricity around the house, there are diverse solar considerations when it comes to in green home designs. It is imperative to design the home in a way that it is passive for the use of solar system as lightning strategy of the entire home, natural ventilation, heating and cooling of your home and for all kitchen appliances.

4. Energy- as said earlier, the lightning, cooling as well as heating system are very important considerations when it comes to green home designs. There is a lot of renewable energy that you can use to be able to produce energy or electricity around the house such as wind, solar as well as geothermal energy. With the use of Earth’s natural elements, this can produce energy around your home.

5. Water conservation- there is a lot of ways in how a home can participate in conserving water. By observing low-flow fixture, installing aerators, installing low-flow shower head nozzles and low-flow water fixtures will make your home as effective in conserving water.

It is imperative that new home minimize its use of fossil fuel. Being an eco-friendly home will result in a beautiful and healthy home for the whole family.

Tips on Building a Green Home

A home that is built and operated using sound environmental practices is considered a “green home” We are hearing more and more on the topic of climate change on a daily basis and it is becoming obvious that each one of us should do our part to reduce the impact that we have on our planet.

“Going green” is the simplest way to accomplish this, and your home is the obvious place to start . When you make the decision to build a new home, you are given a great opportunity to think ‘green.

The Internet is a wonderful source of information. It will give you a vast array of items that you can use for your kitchen and bath that will help the construction of your home from an environmentally friendly perspective. In fact, you will find environmentally friendly products that cover the entire building process. Green products from carpets to paints and plumbing fixtures are obtainable to add to the decor of your home,

The choice of building a “green home” is not made just because it is the environmentally friendly way to go. In actuality you will have a much healthier home for you and your family and the cost to operate the home will be considerably less than traditional homes.

Building Materials

If you are considering building a new home, you should think environmental and the use of renewable resources should be a high priority in your mind. The use of materials such as lightweight concrete, straw, timber or readily available earth to build the home should all be investigated. Each one of these building resources has distinct advantages and disadvantages, but none should be ruled out without thorough research.

If you are fortunate to be in a climate that would make an earthen building practical, what better choice do you have than to build a home from the very dirt below your feet? This proved practical for millions of years for a very good reason.

Another viable option for a green building material that has been used in the United States for more than fifty years is lightweight concrete. Although this type of concrete is not as strong, it will hold up to the weather and will perform as well as traditional concrete. This type of lightweight concrete is often used as insulation for the home, and has outstanding fire retardant properties. In addition, lightweight concrete has an additional benefit that it doesn’t need as large a foundation and less reinforced structural steel is needed.

There is a trend now days towards the use of manufactured building materials. Individuals who are concerned about the environment, but are not quite ready for an earthen home are choosing this option. The use of manufactured materials results in a home that is more in harmony with the environment.

Wood remains an particularly versatile building material and is readily available. However, Environmentally speaking though, wood was once considered a sustainable resource for construction, but over harvesting of our forests throughout the world, has grow to be a serious environmental concern. Our greed for lumber has far outpaced our ability to regrow our forests. If you are considering wood to build your home, choosing woods that are from environmentally friendly sources should be considered..

Green Home Styles

When choosing a design for your green home, there are many styles you can decide on. Obviously, you can choose a traditional design or even consider rounded styles, earthen homes or even organic designs. The possibilities are endless.

Traditional homes are the designs we are, for the most part, familiar with, and usually fit into our impression of what a home should look like. There are many traditional designs to pick from such as contemporary, Victorian, bungalow, ranch homes and more.

A rounded home helps the owner be more in harmony with the environment and in many parts of the country this type of construction is being seriously considered for it’s hurricane resistant design. Rounded homes are considered to be very environmentally friendly.

Earthen homes are built either entirely underground, or only partially into the earth. When these homes are built at least six feet under the surface, the home will have a stabilized temperature, and will only fluctuate about six degrees. This bit of information is significant because it takes much less energy to heat and cool this type of home. That not only saves the homeowner money, but saves our precious resources as well.


Green buildings are a wave of the future. We should be considering our environment as a natural resource, and if we plan on passing a healthy environment on to our children and grandchildren, we need to “think green” right now.

Building a Green Home Requires Teamwork

The Traditional Approach

Green home building and remodeling requires a different approach than the traditional, established way of building. Traditionally, the homeowner, you, approaches an architect who designs the home, based on your descriptions, ideas, dreams and wishes. The finished design is then distributed to several general contractors for bid.

The general contractor in turn contacts his/her subcontractors to get bids from them for framing, roofing, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, excavating and foundation work, landscaping, interior finishes.

The bid prices are based on the interpretation of the drawings by each contractor. Rarely do the subcontractors talk to each other during the bid process. Rarely is the architect contacted with questions. Almost never is the homeowner, you, contacted. The contractors’ final bids usually include a list of exceptions and/or a contingency allowance, which might never be used, but is paid for by you anyway.

Homeowners most often accept the lowest bid. Why not? Unless you are familiar with and know the construction business, know the contractor’s quality of work, what other criteria could you apply?

The procedure outlined above often results in considerable construction cost increases, dissatisfied homeowners and sometimes lawsuits.

Huge resources are being neglected and missed when homes are remodeled and built the traditional way: Experience and trade-specific expertise, which could save you time, money and headaches.

The Green Approach To Building A Home

Building a green home must be a systematic approach and done as a team. The project must be looked at as a system, in which each component is connected to and depends on the other components. For example:

  • Location of the home on the property will determine the amount of soil disturbance, excavation and landscaping
  • Location, size and types of windows will impact the heating and cooling requirement
  • Type of heating and cooling equipment will impact space requirements for furnace, heat pump, solar collectors, piping, ductwork, etc
  • Choice of exterior wall will impact first cost versus installation cost versus insulation values versus appearance

You get the idea

Teamwork is required to make it all come together. The folks who design and build your green home, will be working with you and with each other for weeks or months. These are some important questions to ask when assembling your green building team:

  • Do all of the team members agree on the importance of building green and are they committed to it?
  • Do architect and contractors have experience in green home construction and if not, are they willing to learn? The majority if the team should have some experience in designing or building green homes
  • Do you like and respect them? Can you see yourself interacting with each of them frequently and maybe work through some challenges?
  • Do they like and respect each other?
  • Do they take pride in high quality work?
  • Can they accept input about their trade from other trades?

Don’t underestimate the importance of your team getting along and working well together. There will be times during the construction when tempers flare, tensions are high, pressure is on. And this could be just when the insulator has to do some very meticulous work to seal all leaks, while the electrician is breathing down her neck to hurry up so he can get his work done.

It is important to include as many of the trades as possible during the design phase. Decisions about choices in materials or heating system can then be done by all involved parties from a fully informed perspective. For example:

Someone mentioned to you the advantages of using structurally insulated panels (SIP), and that is what you would like to use for your green home. Preliminary investigations show that these panels would have to be shipped from hundreds of miles away. The general contractor suggests using insulated concrete forms (ICF). The factory is only 50 miles away, his team is very experienced with this system and he knows that he can do it cheaper than with SIP. The architect supports this idea, because she also knows that homeowner insurance rates are sometimes lower for homes built with ICFs, due to their resistance to termites, wind and fire.


General contractor, architect and HVAC contractor work closely together to determine if your green home should use solar collectors or a geothermal heat pump system for hot water and heat. They contact the wood truss manufacturer to help determine the impact of the heavy solar collectors on the roof frame. A call to the local geothermal heat pump specialists reveals that your future neighbors down the street installed a geothermal heat pump system two years ago and are very satisfied with it. With all this information, you can now make an informed decision.

When the time comes to put the final cost for your green home construction project together, you can be assured that unexpected costs will be minimal. You will know that you and your green building team are all pulling in the same direction.

Addressing and optimizing key factors up front with the whole team will result in a smoother construction process, lower costs and a much better green home for you and your family.