The term “sustainable housing” is often heard bandied about, especially in light of continued awareness of global warming and climate change. Simply stated, “sustainable” pertains to any system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse. When applied to housing, a sustainable home is one designed and built with the environment in mind, meaning that building materials are chosen for their ability to conserve natural resources, reduce waste, and minimize impact on the environment over time. The end-goal of sustainable housing—lowering one’s carbon footprint and preserving the planet’s resources for future generations—can be met (or at least partially so) in a variety of ways.
Building with eco-friendly materials is one of the best ways to make your home more sustainable. Eco-friendly materials are those that have been harvested, processed, and manufactured in an environmentally responsible manner. These materials, such as bamboo and recycled plastic, help reduce your carbon footprint and lessen the impact on the environment in the long run.
By orienting your home to a southern exposure on the lot, you can maximize the amount of natural light that enters the interior of the house. This reduces the need for artificial lighting, which in turn decreases energy consumption and costs. Positioning windows to catch breezes from prevailing winds is also a great way to cool your home, with potentially less need for air conditioning.
Equipping your home with Energy Star appliances is an easy way to make your home more sustainable. These appliances are designed to use less energy than standard models, reducing utility bills and cutting down on emissions from electricity generation. Additionally, they often come with features like timers that allow you to set them to run at off-peak times when demand is lower. This can save even more energy and reduce strain on the power grid.
Incandescent bulbs are extremely inefficient, producing only around 10% of their energy as light, while the majority is wasted as heat. Replacing them with LED bulbs can save up to 90% of energy used for lighting and last over 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Additionally, most LED bulbs don’t contain any mercury, and they’re fully recyclable.
Installing low-flow toilets is a great way to reduce water consumption in your home. Standard toilets can use as much as 3.6 gallons of water per flush, while low-flow models use only 1.28 gallons per flush, cutting down on your water bill and conserving natural resources.
Reducing your home’s energy consumption is one of the most effective ways to make it more sustainable. This can be done by utilizing better insulation, sealing air leaks, and installing a programmable or smart thermostat.
Installing energy-efficient windows is another great way to make your home more sustainable. These windows reduce the amount of heat that escapes through the glass and helps maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home without having to rely on excess heating or cooling. Energy-efficient windows also block out UV rays, which can help reduce fading of furniture, carpets, and artwork.
Installing low-flow shower heads and faucets can help reduce water consumption and lower utility bills. Additionally, adding aerators to kitchen and bathroom faucets can reduce water flow without sacrificing performance.
Making your home more sustainable doesn’t just stop at energy and water efficiency—it can also extend to green cleaning products. Many traditional household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your health as well as the environment. To keep your home clean in a more environmentally conscious way, look for natural or organic cleaning products made with non-toxic ingredients.
Installing solar panels on your roof allows you to generate clean, renewable energy from the sun and reduce reliance on traditional power sources. Additionally, you may be eligible for various tax credits or other incentives that can help offset the upfront costs of solar installation. With the right setup, you may even be able to generate enough energy to power your home entirely.
Making your home more sustainable doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive process. By taking simple steps, you can make your home more sustainable and reduce your environmental impact.
At Sheffield Homes, we’ve seen many trends in the market come and go, but sustainable housing is one that’s here to stay. We’d love to discuss ways to build your new home with sustainability in mind. With nearly 50 years’ experience, we have the expertise, integrity, and established trade relationships to build the home of your dreams. Call us today and let’s get started! 303-420-0056