What is a green home? A green home must not only be energy- efficient and have an eco-friendly structure, but the people that live in the home need to live a green lifestyle.
Energy-efficient and eco-friendly structure
Energy-efficiency is a key component of any green home. Energy- efficiency can be achieved by ensuring proper levels of insulation, making sure your home’s envelope is well sealed, fitting your home with energy-efficient appliances and using intelligent control systems to eliminate the unnecessary use of electricity, heating fuels, and water.
Eco-friendly structures are built from sustainable and/or high-recycled content materials. The use of these materials should be closely managed to control waste and to ensure that they are sourced and manufactured locally. Finally, eco-friendly structures are made from natural materials which do not release dangerous chemicals into your home’s air and local water supplies over time.
A ‘green lifestyle’ refers to the choices residents make on a day-to-day basis. At the core of any ‘green lifestyle’ are the principles of reducing, reuse and recycle.
- Reduce – The easiest way to reduce your impact on the environment is to reduce the number of items you purchase and consume. This includes not only household and personal items, but also electricity, fuels, and water. Learning to live with less is not only good for the planet, it is also good for your pocketbook.
- Reuse – If there is something that you cannot do without, consider buying it used or borrow it from someone else. By reusing items, you not only extend the useful life of these items, but you also eliminate the need to put them in a landfill. Additionally, before throwing anything away, try to reuse items for a different purpose (repurposing). An example of this is using old bath towels as rags.
- Recycle – By recycling, you not only reduce the need to grow or extract raw materials, but you save the energy it takes to make the products and the fuel required to distribute them. When you have finished using something and you are ready to throw it out, (and it cannot be repurposed) find a way to recycle it. A majority of household items can be recycled. Finally, when shopping, try to purchase goods which include recycled materials.
A green lifestyle also includes well-informed buying habits. Priority should be given to goods that are local, organic, free of toxins, energy-efficient, durable and made from recycled materials.
The benefits of a green home
There are many benefits to living in a green home. Green homes can be significantly healthier, more durable, more energy efficient and have a higher resale value than a traditional home.
A healthier home – One of the most important ways to make your home a healthier place is to eliminate your household toxins. At any given time, the typical home is filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of household toxins. They exist in cleaning liquids, in the paint on your walls, in the pesticides you use in your garden, in the food you eat and even the air that you breathe.
A more durable home – By using eco-friendly building materials in the construction of a new home or the renovation of an existing home, your home will be more durable. Green building materials are built to be long lasting and made from natural or recycled content. A green home is a home that is built to last.
A more energy-efficient home – People who live in green homes save money by consuming less energy and water than typical homes. Over time, this adds up to big savings.
A higher valued home – The value of green homes is often higher than that of a comparable standard home. As the market demand for green homes continues to rise, this trend will likely accelerate. Additionally, an increasing number of insurance and mortgage companies are offering policy and lending discounts for green homes.