Home Architecture Guide Green homes designs and concepts           

Green homes designs and concepts           

by DrPrem Jagyasi
Green homes

A green home has many advantages. It stays cool in hot weather and hot in cool weather naturally, is energy efficient as you can use solar, wind and geothermal energy, instead of using energy from the grid. Or you could have the option to be connected to the grid and use renewable energy sources when you want to. It all depends on the design of your green home. Read on to know about some green home concepts and designs:

 Location

 reduce carbon footprint

Choose a location, if possible, which is close to public transportation, as you could use that instead of your car and reduce your carbon footprint. Also, try to find a place which has existing infrastructure and avoid building on hazardous sites like flood zones. 

Size

Small houses are more energy efficient as they require less energy to heat and cool. Small houses also need fewer materials. Think of your needs and try to keep the size of your house down. 

Who will design your green home?

Green homes

You could hire an architect who would design, take care of bidding contracts, get permits and approvals. Architects don’t come cheap so keep some capital aside for the architect’s fee. You can draw your own plans but remember that the process is time consuming and complicated. Also, check with the municipality for their approval and requirements before drawing your plans.

Be sure to do a lot of research into green home designs before starting on your own. 

The shape of your house matters

There are certain shapes which are more eco-friendly than others. For example, a wider house is less energy efficient and has more heat loss than a taller one. Cubes and spheres are efficient shapes. The concept is to design a compact house than one which is spread out.

Orientation

Green homes

The orientation of your home is important when you are constructing a green home. You should build more windows facing south, as this will fill your home with light and keep it warm. You should avid west facing windows as the sun will be too hot in the summer. If you cannot avoid west facing windows, plant trees outside to block the sun, or use sun shades. Planting deciduous trees in front of south facing windows will provide shade in summer and in winter, as they lose their leaves, you will get the benefit of sunlight.

Use local and reclaimed/recycled materials

One of the ways to become a part of the green home building movement is to use reclaimed materials and sourcing materials locally. You should find out which recycled materials are available locally during the design phase itself. For example, if you want to use old / antique doors or particular flooring materials then you would have to make adjustments in your design accordingly.

You can use recycled glass for your countertops, use reclaimed wood for your wooden structures, reclaimed bricks, stones pavers can be used in your green home. Roof shingles too can be made from recycled materials, drywall and soils can also be derived from reused materials.

 

Insulation

Insulation

Resistance value is used to measure the insulation of a material. The R value must be high so that your home has efficient insulation, reducing the use of gas or electric energy to heat or cool your home.

Create a sustainable roof garden

Having a roof garden would reduce the heat and cold in your home. Dutch landscape artist Bart Hoes uses olivine stones (crushed) on the pathways as these binds carbon dioxide. You can use your imagination and do some research into plants which are best for your roof garden.

Water conservation

 water-conservation

Collecting rain water, recycling water and using toilet and plumbing fixtures with reduced water flow can help to reduce your water consumption.

Electrical and appliances

To conserve energy, buy appliances which have a high energy star rating. Using LED bulbs instead of incandescent will reduce energy bills and keep your house cool in summer.

Solar water heater

Solar

You can install solar water heaters to warm the water in your home, or opt for instant water heaters.

Your green home can be designed to make optimum use of natural light, good insulation, using recycled materials and renewable energy. Build a home which will make you happy.