How to Design your House Plans with Sustainable Living in Mind
Today, green is one of the most-popular trends in house building. Insulating wall systems, recycled-glass countertops, non-toxic interior paint and energy-efficient building materials, all go a long way in making your home “green”. But it’s important to keep in mind that green design is the foundation of every sustainable home.
Sustainability in Building
When you opt for a house plan with sustainable living features, it means that the structure should have sufficient amount of ventilation and natural lighting, be built with environmentally friendly materials and should have a modest size & footprint. An energy-efficient and high-performance home might include a range of features such as solar panels, wind power and geothermal heating. Though these are important, they come in second in your building plans. A green home essentially starts with being very well-designed, well-positioned and well insulated. The idea is that it should largely rely on passive heating & cooling.
Energy-Efficiency, Orientation & Insulation
An efficient & resilient home follows certain principles. It uses minimal energy for lighting, operating appliances and air conditioning. The latter becomes one of the most significant factors in this process. The one way to reduce your carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions from your home is to reduce your cooling and heating requirements.
The Right Perspective
A house that has 60% of windows facing southward (passive solar) might experience a 25% reduction in its heating requirements, practically at zero cost. The aspect to keep in mind here is that these windows have to be designed properly to avoid overheating, as you will negate the heat savings by increasing your air-conditioning bills in the summer. It is crucial to have a well-sealed and well-insulated building envelope if you want higher energy-efficiency in your home. Regardless of the number of solar panels you install, they will not compensate for walls & windows that leak moisture & heat.
This is one aspect that cannot be stressed enough. The smaller your house, the more efficient it will be. When you build a smaller house, you excavate less, fewer materials are manufactured and shipped, less space has to be air-conditioned, you pay less taxes and there is much less space and fewer things to clean. It goes without saying that building a smaller home is lighter on your pocket too. You don’t need to live in a matchbox, but you can definitely reduce the amount of square-foot average per person without compromising on comfort.
When Flexibility Matters
The size of your family will change right through your life. Having a flexible house is about having a plan that will be able to accommodate changes at the lowest costs and with as little disruption as possible. This helps in reducing financial expenses and takes the stress off the environment too.
Think about any future changes that you may want to accommodate. If you think you are going to be adding a granny suite to the structure, think about where that will be. While you are building, run all the required wiring & plumbing as well as framing for the doors that you will be adding in the future. It’s also an excellent resale point, in case you plan to sell the home.
Use Local or Reclaimed Materials
Sustainable building is also a lot about using local or reclaimed material. Even as you plan on using all these things, do not lose focus about the planning and building of your home. These materials should be incorporated into the future building plans. Identify which materials you are going to use and make the required adjustments beforehand. For example if you are deciding to use some old windows or doors, ensure that the framing is done keeping their size and shape in view.
The Right Designer
Use the services of a knowledgeable building designer who is in sync with your ideas, personal tastes and vision. You will want to work with someone who will incorporate your ideas and help you design your sustainable home just as you want it to be. For some of the best building designer & draftsmen services, call Elementree Drafting Services at 1300 566 873. You can also use this contact form to connect with us.
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Elementree Drafting Services
1300 566 873