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How to Build a Green, Sustainable, and Cozy Home

At this point, the need to go green is a persistent one. In fact, a recent report released stated that we have to make a change within the next 12 years if we don’t want a severe and irreversible result of climate change. With this in mind, many people want to do their part to go green and save the planet. 

However, many people also don’t want to sacrifice their comfort or lifestyle for this contribution. Luckily, there are ways that you can help your home go green without sacrificing how cozy your home is. 

Try to Stay Small

This isn’t to say that every home has to qualify as a “tiny house” but it is important to use the space you have in a smart way. While someone may want a sprawling mansion, very few people have the use for one. Creating a moderate-sized house is much better for the environment and doesn’t have to sacrifice quality or comfort. 

Use Sustainable Materials

When it comes to building a home, the materials you use can go a long way in how green a home is. Using natural, renewable products like cork, bamboo, or linoleum can make a house more green. You can also used recycled products such as recycled plastic, recycled glass, or even reclaimed lumber. 

Other sustainable materials that might not be thought of right away include non-toxic and non-allergenic materials. Additionally, it’s always best to try and locally sourced materials. Locally sourced is usually considered any materials that are sourced within approximately a 100-mile radius from the build site instead of being freighted in over great distances. 

Use LED and CFL Lights

By most measurements, most homes use about 12% of their energy bill to run the lights in their home. If you take the time to switch to light emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) bulbs, you can not only reduce your bill but the environmental footprint you leave behind. 

These bulbs use about 75% less energy than the average light bulb - incandescent light bulbs. Not only that, these light bulbs are set to last you 10 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, so not only are you making a change for the better, you’re making a change that helps you, personally, in the long run as well!

Try to Incorporate Solar Energy

Speaking of clean energy, the cleanest energy we can get is that absorbed from the sun. New homes have the advantage over old homes that solar panels can more easily be installed into a house when it is being built rather than installing it years later. 

Use Recycling Bins and Install a Compost Bin in the Backyard

This one might seem simple but its importance can’t be stressed enough: recycle. This is made easier than it once was because most cities now collect recycling just like they do standard garbage. 

Recycling is used to dispose of glass, paper, and plastic in a green way. The best thing to do is to do a little research to see what can and can’t be recycled to ensure your recyclables are correctly processed. 

On top of that, though, about half of the waste created in the home is food. Everytime you toss leftovers that have gone bad or scraped a bit of food off a plate after dinner, you are throwing away food scraps. A cleaner way to get rid of this food waste is to compost it. You can also compost waste such as used paper towels, spoiled lactose-free milks (i.e. soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk), and coffee filters. 

When you create a compost bin, make sure it has a tight lid. After all, you don’t want neighborhood critters to dig around in your compost bin. You can, in turn, use compost for purposes such as fertilizing your garden. 

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Another idea is to keep your central heating system at an ideal level. A few ideas here would be to turn off the system when no one is home and reduce the temperature at night when people are wrapped up in their beds. 

However, this is hard to remember at times. When you are hurrying out of the house in the morning or dragging yourself to bed at night, your first thought probably isn’t to double-check the thermostat. 

For this problem, the solution can be found in a programmable thermostat. With one of these thermostats, you can set times for the temperature in your home to change. For instance, if you leave your home at 7 each morning, you can set your programmable thermostat to turn the heating and cooling system off around that time. 

Insulate the Home

You should be sure to make sure the home is as well-insulated as possible. If air seeps in or out of the house excessively, the central heating and cooling system will have to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. This wastes energy that could be preserved. 

This is particularly important around places that air would easily seep in and out without the proper insulation. For instance, around windows and doors are important areas to insulate properly. Attics are also important to consider. 

For windows, there are a variety of ways to insulate. Well within the top 15, though, is using Energy Star windows. These not only help insulate but they help to reduce the amount of noise that gets in and out of the house. 

Use Low-Flow Appliances

Another important part of building a green home is making sure it doesn’t waste water. One way to do this is to install low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets. These appliances make sure that no water is wasted during everyday activities. 

With low-flow showerheads, many homeowners might be concerned that their waterflow in the shower will be weak. However, these showerheads are made to conserve water without sacrificing quality. 

Other ways that water can be conserved is by making ways to collect rainwater for use and ways to reuse greywater such as dishwasher water, laundry water, and sink run-off.  

Pete Alman Bio:

Hi there, I'm Woodworking Pete Alman. I'm a former carpenter turned writer, and proud resident of Nashville, Tennessee. When not working on a project in my shed, I'm lifting weights or hanging out with my three dogs (Dobermans).


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