Efficiency is all about using resources responsibly without wasting them. Whether it’s minimizing the amount of unused water flowing down the drain or insulating your home to prevent heated air from escaping, being efficient with resources in your home is a great way to contribute to protecting the environment, and lowering your monthly utility bills.
When you work with an experienced architecture and construction group, you have the option to customize your home to make use of resources efficiently from the start! Ask your builder about these top trends in efficient home design and enjoy the benefits of efficient living.
Eco-Friendly Construction Materials
Building a home requires valuable resources from the start. Substituting traditional construction materials, like forested lumber, with eco-friendly, renewable materials, such as bamboo, help reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Since bamboo regenerates more efficiently than lumber, using it for general construction and flooring is better for the environment than traditional construction with wood.
Install Solar Panels
Over the past years, solar panels have gained popularity and become more affordable to install in homes. In some states, the government offers rebates and incentives to homeowners who install solar panels. The average cost to install solar panels is about $18,000, but in the long-run, using solar energy reduces your home’s need for pollutant sources of electricity, resulting in lower energy costs.
Embrace Smart Technology
Smart technology refers to the devices in our homes that can be easily programmed to run according to user-specified patterns and conditions. For example, you can set a smart thermostat to maintain a particular temperature or program it to turn on automatically when the room drops to a particular temperature. Many types of smart technologies are easy to use and react to verbal cues.
Smart technology is a growing field and new devices are developed every day. Some are more useful than others, but to achieve a more efficient home, you may want to consider making use of smart thermostats, smart light bulbs and switches, smart faucets, and smart appliances, like washing machines.
Smart thermostats are incredibly useful in improving heating efficiency in your home. Smart light bulbs and switches are another easy upgrade to make your home more efficient. These devices allow you to automate when lights turn on or off and when switches and outlets are actively receiving power. Smart faucets can dispense precisely measured amounts of water and provide touch-free access to water while you’re busy cooking in the kitchen. Their ability to measure water and turn off automatically helps reduce the amount of unused water being wasted.
Smart washers can also improve the efficiency of your home because they use less water than traditional options. Smart washers sense the size of your laundry load and adjust the amount of water and detergent dispensed each load accordingly. This way, smart washers avoid using too much water and wasting resources.
Installing a combination of these smart devices in your home can improve efficiency, enhance comfort, and make your home convenient to customize to your liking.
Look for Energy Star Certification on Appliances
Energy Star certified kitchen appliances save energy, emit less pollution, and can help save money in the long-term. These appliances have passed a rigorous standard for performing efficiently. Installing energy star appliances in your home ensures your kitchen will consume less energy, contributing less pollution to the atmosphere.
Install Your Own Electric Car Charging Station
If you’re interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle, you may drive an electric car or plan to drive one in the future. EV charging stations are the equipment used to recharge an electric car and is necessary for any electric vehicle owner. Working with an experienced architect and build group, you can customize your home with an EV charging station built right in! Some EV chargers even have smart technology features allowing you to set up reminders or even schedule charging to occur at predetermined times.
Grow a Green Roof
In a city or neighborhood, buildings tend to absorb and reflect the sun’s heat more readily than natural vegetation does. Growing a green roof, or living roof, on top of your home can help reduce this heat island effect and serves as an eco-friendly roofing alternative. This makes your home insulation more efficient with style!
There are three main types of living roofs you can install to make your home more efficient: intense living roofs, extensive living roofs, and hybrid living roofs.
Intensive Green Roofs:
Intensive green roofs are capable of supporting large plants and even water features. This is because they use a deep bed of planting medium, creating space for plant roots. With an intensive living roof, you want to choose an area of your home that is accessible to regular maintenance. Working with your architect and build group, you can customize your intensive green roof with furniture and walkways to make it a functional outdoor space of your home.
Extensive Green Roofs:
An extensive roof uses a setup of thinner planting and makes use of low-maintenance species that can grow on their own. This type of living roof is ideal for sloping rooftops and areas that are harder to reach.
Hybrid Green Roofs:
The hybrid living roof takes features from both intensive and extensive living roofs. While a thicker layer of planting material is used, the plants that are grown typically require less maintenance and access. This type of living roof works well on roofs that are accessible for occasional maintenance, but be aware they typically won’t function as outdoor living spaces.
When you build a custom home, it’s an opportunity to install energy efficient technology from the start. In the long-term, these decisions reduce the negative impact your home has on the environment and can even contribute to lower utility bills. Ask your architect and build group about the possibilities for creating a more efficient home and enjoy the benefits of a convenient and eco-friendly house!