North American Coalition for Maintaining Mother Earth

Posted by admin On January - 8 - 2014 0 Comment

Green Home DesignThe latest trend in home building has turned its attention directly toward green homes and there is a very good reason for this. Not only do green homes lessen the footprint our modern lifestyles levy on our environment, but they also express a whole new way of thinking: conservation over consumption. Simply choosing to build a green home, however, is much different than the reality of building one. This is why you must thoroughly research all of its design elements, thinking carefully about the types of materials and features your home will have, as well who’s building it. So, are you ready to build your green home? To help you navigate through the potential problems and challenges, here are five big mistakes to avoid when building a green home:

1. Choosing the Wrong Lot.

Many people equate building green real estate with a more nature-inspired way of living, and subsequently head off to more remote, undeveloped rural areas. Big mistake. The journey out into unspoiled countryside often means the deconstruction of a perfectly functioning ecosystem, causing more damage to the environment than if they had just built their green home in the city, closer to work and school. When you build outside of existing infrastructure, you are talking about additional roads, sewer lines, utilities access, waste removal (trash pickup), and sometimes even the inadvertent diverting of water sources through the drilling of a well. If building your green home stems from a desire to protect your world and environment, but you still want all the amenities and services that you have now, then choosing a remote location is probably not a great idea.

2. Overlooking Solar Power.

One of the best ways to participate in energy conservation is to go solar. How this gets skipped is beyond me, but it happens particularly with builders promoting entire tracts of eco-friendly homes. In fact, it happens a lot. In an effort to capitalize on the emerging green home market, builders are pushing green homes without solar because it is a more attractive price point for entry-level buyers. Solar power is a key component in a truly green home, though, and purchasing a green home without solar just doesn’t make sense. It may raise your purchase price, but the overall cost of adding solar when it’s incorporated into your home loan, is virtually next to nothing. So, even when looking simply from a financial standpoint, if you consider how much your monthly payment will go up over the amount of money you are saving, then it is totally worth it.

3. Poor Insulation.

Poor or inadequate insulation is a killer of an otherwise fantastically-designed green home. Now more than ever, the U.S. is becoming more in tune with energy conservation and has recently upped their standards for insulation. While most people think of their attic space and walls as the only places that insulation is needed, proper insulation covers all areas of your home; this includes the foundation, windows, walls, doors, the attic, and even the roof itself. When a home is properly insulated, it will prevent significant heat loss or gain, allowing your home to retain its heat in the winter, and stay cooler in the summer.

4. Failing to Significantly Minimize Your Footprint.

In theory, all green homes would be efficient, earth-friendly machines. But, let’s face it, that’s not always how it turns out. It’s easy to get carried away with your plans, and sometimes the efficiency aspect goes out the window. Before you solidify your building plans or make any changes to them, be sure to look into all aspects of energy conservation. True energy conservation is more than just your main energy source and some great insulation; it also means having effective air circulation, positioning your home properly for maximum use of sunlight, and designing the rooms for the most efficient use for your particular lifestyle. The whole point is to minimize your footprint, so don’t lose sight of your goal.

5. Skipping the Home Inspection with New Construction.

Getting a home inspection is standard when purchasing an existing home. Unfortunately, this step is frequently skipped when building or purchasing a new eco-friendly home. People just assume that everything has been built to “green” standards, and that’s not always the case. Mistakes can be made, and your home may not be as efficient as you want it to be. Hiring a home inspector who specializes in green or eco-friendly homes may help you find areas in your home that may have been overlooked, and they can also give you tips for improving efficiency, as well as pointers on efficiency maintenance.

When considering all the mistakes to avoid when building a green home, try not to get overwhelmed! There is a lot of information to take in, but there are also many resources to help guide you. The best way to make your green home a reality is to outline all the details you believe are important and go from there. As long as you’re armed with information and you care about the environment, then everything else will fall into place naturally.

About the Author:

My name is Karen Sacksteder and I own an Interior Design company that focuses on sustainable, environmentally friendly home decor. I work with many home builders who build green homes and commercial buildings.

Related Articles:

  • Green Building – Why You Should Care
  • Changing To An Eco-Friendly Home In Four Easy Steps
  • Green Home Building Ideas


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