Owing to climate change comprising rising sea levels, depletion of the ozone layers, and increased air pollution, we must take accountability for our roles. The built environment essays a significant character in the episode of climate change. How can homeowners and residential architects help to reduce this natural crisis?
Sustainable houses are now the talk of the town. They have gained momentum in recent years because of the low impact they have on the environment. For many homeowners, having sustainable features on their property is now a must. And rightly so!
Residential architects have also upgraded by adapting their designs to be more sustainable and environment-friendly. Let’s look at some essentials that can make your houses sustainable.
Insulating the Walls and Floors
Properly insulating the walls and floors could help reduce energy bills. Insulation makes the house more comfortable because it traps heat inside. It helps maintain a comfortable temperature inside irrespective of the outside temperature. Insulation balances the temperature in all seasons.
Use the Sun
For this method, orientation is essential. It involves passive heating designs and making maximum use of daylight. By incorporating passive solar heating, the windows can let in energy, and the absorbed heat will reduce the need for heating the house during winter. Most residential architects use passive heating to promote sustainability in homes.
Use Vernacular Materials
Using locally available materials is the perfect way to eliminate the degradation of the environment during transportation. Several residential architects have been known to use mud as a prospective material in homes to promote cooling. But I have not seen this happen in New Jersey!
Install Double Glazed Windows
Installing double-glazed windows is one of the most efficient ways to improve the sustainability of your home. These windows make the house warmer during the summer and cooler during the summer.
Minimize Material Waste
During construction, the waste can be recycled to reduce accumulation. Several residential architects source materials that have been recycled.
Fewer gaps in the structural envelope mean less heat will be lost. Airtightness maximizes the efficiency of insulation thereby lowering the overall energy costs.
Install Energy-Efficient Windows
Due to their insulating properties, energy-efficient windows will keep the house warm in the winter and cool during the summer.
Create Efficient Heating
Creating efficient heating is a crucial step in making your house more sustainable. It can be done by using blinds and curtains. Many residential architects make use of the shade from the sun to create an insulation-like environment.
Use Renewable R
Solar and wind power is two of the cheapest renewable energy resources. These resources can significantly reduce your energy bills and also curtail the use of fossil fuels. Solar panels are installed on the roofs and reduce energy costs by independently generating electricity.
Use Eco-Friendly Roofing Materials
Now, roofs are built to reduce energy costs while retaining the energy in your home. Some examples of eco-friendly roofing materials include solar power roofs, corrugated roofs, recycled shingles, etc.
Install Low-Flush Toilets
Low-flush toilets can significantly reduce water wastage compared to traditional ones. Low-flush toilets use around 1.3 – 1.6 gallons per flush.
Skylights are an architectural marvel that has been in use since old times. These not only enhance the aesthetics of the room, promote natural light, and also save on energy costs by promoting natural ventilation.
Sustainable materials on the floor will make it appear more pleasing and well-made. Bamboo is a very common material used for flooring to enhance sustainability. Bamboo is abundantly available and grows quickly thereby replenishing the lost material. Bamboo has now become a cult favorite among homeowners who also use it for decorative purposes.
Choosing energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) is an integral part of a sustainable home. The correct selection and maintenance of the HVAC system could reduce energy costs, conserve water, and also save the environment. HVAC systems are costly to repair. You must always keep them in supreme shape through annual maintenance.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
In a house, energy efficiency is not just promoted through the building. The appliances have a role to play as well. Swapping old electrical appliances that have a low energy rating with energy-saving certified products is one of the best practices for a sustainable home.
Thermostats can be used to monitor the temperature of the house, thereby balancing the heating and cooling inside the house in all seasons. These are great options to reduce energy bills and help better the environment.
Use Energy Savers
LED bulbs or fluorescent lamps are now the only used lighting fixtures in most homes. People are now reducing the use of incandescent bulbs that not only increased energy bills but are also harmful to the environment.
Use Non-Toxic Building Materials
Non-toxic building materials lower the environmental impacts the house might pose to the environment. They are sustainable, recyclable, and readily available. Although they might cost slightly more, in the long run, you will be saving yourself some money and the environment.
Collecting rainwater in tanks for reusing it in washrooms or gardens is a great way to replenish water. The process is called rainwater harvesting. Underground tanks are a great source of rainwater harvesting. Since there is no direct sunlight, the chance of evaporation is also less. Once the tank is full of rainwater, the clean water then passes through a filtration pump for use. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to sustainable living.
Sustainable design is something that a residential architect or a sustainability expert can guide you through. You must ensure that the house uses materials that are easily available, viable, durable, and can be recycled. The house must also be able to adapt to changing needs without incurring any additional costs. This is the most crucial aspect of sustainable living as the residential architect is trying to incorporate green practices into the fabric of the house itself.
These are some of the most widely-used sustainable design practices that residential architects, builders, and designers have been incorporating into new houses. Some architects have also had projects where homeowners wanted to upgrade their homes to be more sustainable.
Sustainability is now the need of the house, and it is time that people related to the built environment also took a stand. So, if you’re thinking of becoming more sustainable in the ways you live, then look no further. Speak to your local architect and find out ways that you could be benefitting your home, yourself, and the environment.