Building a new home comes with numerous advantages over buying an existing one, not least of which includes the benefit of being able to make your home your own, customizing selections throughout. However, your options don’t end at selecting tile and cabinet facings. As you go through the initial planning and selection processes, there is another factor to keep top of mind, beyond the overall aesthetic, and that is your home’s eco-friendliness. Build the home of your dreams—and the planet’s—by considering these five ways to make your new-build home greener.
1. Consider your space
One of the easiest ways to build a more eco-friendly home is to simply build smaller. Less square footage means less materials and waste, not to mention less energy expenditures for the many years you’ll be in the home.
This doesn’t mean you need to relegate yourself to tiny home living. Simply strategize your home’s footprint to make efficient use of every square foot and eliminate wasted spaces. For example, tiny lofts or landings require square footage that are often unutilized living space; work with your builder to make more efficient living areas.
2. Shop smartly
Energy costs drain the planet’s resources—and your wallet. One of the easiest ways to lower them and give the planet a break is to select a floor plan and builder that will build in a way that strategically lowers your energy costs.
Many homes today feature a green score or comparable rating. This score reflects things like the insulation materials and airflow to indicate to buyers their home’s projected efficiency. Different builders hold different certifications, so research each builder and dig into what their certification means and which elements of a green build those certifications reflect.
3. Consider alternative energy sources
Solar panels and systems have come a long way in recent years and may be a viable option for your new build. Because you are building new, you have the added advantage of being able to situate your home on its lot in an ideal position and direction to maximize solar energy’s benefits. Depending on your location and solar plan, you may even be able to produce enough energy to sell back to the local utility company to recoup some of your upfront costs.
4. Intentionally invest in materials
While upgrades do cost money in the build process, investing in materials to make your home greener will usually return costs to your pocket over time. Consider upgrading to Energy Star appliances to save on utility costs. You might also consider splurging on enhanced performance windows to better maintain your home’s temperature. Another area that typically proves a good investment is upgraded insulation which can also lower heating and cooling costs while extending the lifespan of your roof when they work as a cohesive system.
5. Choose sustainable aesthetics
By choosing strategic customizations, you can make your home simultaneously green and beautiful. Clay tiles are beautiful and sustainable, for example. Bamboo floors are another popular option that enhances the aesthetic while also incorporating green materials. Insist on low or zero-VOC paints to lessen emissions without limiting your color palette. There are countless selections you’ll make throughout the process, and there are greener options for everything from your floor plan to the floors themselves.