Your beautifully built home will stand the test of time but still might someday need repairs or replacements to common items. While home construction in the US is more environmentally safe and responsible than ever before, you want to make sure your home is the most responsible as it can be. This includes using products that are sourced ethically and sustainably. But it can also mean thinking ahead to make sure you do not need replacements for shoddy workmanship or materials, and that you use materials that can be recycled in the future. What are home building materials that can help construction be, and stay, green for decades to come?
Besides being gorgeous to look at and peaceful to touch, using stone materials in home building is extremely sustainable. This is because durable materials need to be replaced less frequently, and need less maintenance than many other types of materials. Stone is also classical in style, so it is less likely to go “out of style.” Whether used within or without the home, stonework gives a sense of permanency, while also creating structures meant to last the test of time.
Bamboo has been used for generations in other countries but is just gaining traction and momentum in the United States. Besides being beautiful and available in many styles and treatments, it is much more environmentally friendly than using hardwoods. Bamboo is not wood, but a grass , and can grow up to six feet a year. Because of this, it can be assembled into planks that look similar to and have a similar natural feel to them as hardwoods. But unlike trees, which can take decades to grow to adult height, bamboo just keeps growing when cut and reaches adult height yearly.
It’s hard to remember that asphalt is different from concrete, but they are different materials entirely. Asphalt is called “perpetual pavement,” because when it’s worn or broken, it can be broken up and reused to coat another space. This allows for less waste because you can reuse it instead of just making more. Sealcoating can prevent having to replace your asphalt paving in the medium term.
Steel is essential in most homes, and adding in that it is recycled makes a green difference. Steel, like many natural materials which can be melted down and reused, retains its strength even when reformed into new material. This means that if recycled properly, it can be used not just for years to come, but for generations to come. Using steel that has been recycled adds in the element of intent to your build as well: you are committed to using greener materials whenever possible.
Build Once, Build Best
Whether within or without the home, it’s far better to think ahead and use the best materials possible, rather than to have ones that will fall apart and need to be replaced often. The ultimate sustainable home is one that needs repairs far more than replacements. For example, buying a well-made couch that will last for fifty years is a better option than a poorly made couch meant to be tossed after two to four years. The same is true of all materials used in the home. While you want your home to look lush and on-trend, the best options are changing decorations and paint colors, while using classic design for furniture and other implements. Even things like cabinetry should be made of the best materials possible, to create a sustainable design which can be used for decades to come.
Lawn and Luxury
It’s easy to forget that your lawn and landscaping impact the sustainability of your home’s design greatly. When creating landscaping, take into account your natural area. Many places, like Western desert cities, are cracking down on non-native lawns because water usage for them is so extreme. Water usage impacts your environment and all of the living things within it. Try to plant those things which are native to your natural landscape, and which will use the least water. Better, forego a lawn entirely, and replant with moss, which never needs mowing or rocky desert landscaping!
While the interior is being finished, think about those things which you need to use on a day-to-day basis. Your appliances will be energy efficient , according to US codes. However, you also want things that are long-lasting, not just trendy. If you can, find appliances that will both look and function in a style and manner that will suit your house. The fewer refrigerators that wind up in the dump, the better! Learn what to do to clean and maintain what you have, so that it can be best cared for.
It’s a trend to go solar right now, and not a bad idea. You don’t have to sign up under your energy company, however. There are plenty of other ways to have sustainable solar energy installed in your house, and adding a small amount to the cost of your home to gain the financial benefits for years to come is probably a good idea. Depending upon your square footage, it can take about four years for a set of solar panels to pay themselves off, and then your profit is not just in green energy but in green money.
Your beautiful home is just about ready to build, and knowing in advance what things to use to make it more sustainable can help you for decades to come. Dedication to environmentalism changes not just what sustainable things you use for within your body, and to wear on your body, but every aspect of your daily life. When dedicated to also using sustainable materials, you are creating a home that will stand the test of time. Because those materials are also natural and renewable, you know that you’re making a promise to the Earth that you will take care of it.
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H&H Home Builders have constructed Energy Star Compliant homes since we burst onto the building landscape in 1995 as ‘North Liberty’s Premier Builder’. Since then, Energy Star Guidelines have evolved into what we consider today as the pinnacle of efficiency and we, as builders of ‘green’ homes, have kept pace with those guidelines and have adapted them into each home that we build. H&H Home Builders will build you what is known today as a ‘green’ home, but what has always been lesser known as a ‘sustainable’ home. Sustainable homes are quality built so that they last not just decades, but are built to maintain value, encouraging pride of ownership for generations to come. An H&H ‘green’ Home uses raw materials in a responsible way, using fewer resources, resulting in the use of less energy.