There is a big emphasis being placed on sustainability when it comes to the home these days. From the rising costs of energy to a need to be more conscious about the materials being used, a lot of homeowners starting out on a home renovation project may take the time to consider sustainable design. But what is green building, sustainable design, and eco-friendly design? And what do these terms mean? While they are often used interchangeably, the three terms actually mean slightly different things. Depending on your personal goals, that may also change how you approach things.
What most people think of when they consider green building is sustainability, meaning that the project has the least amount of impact on the environment, or that it’s sustainable long term in terms of environmental impact.
There are a number of different areas that this impacts, including green building materials and eco-friendly designs. Therefore, you can break down sustainable design into a few different categories:
Efficiency: The most efficient homes are the ones that use the least amount of energy. Efficiency can therefore mean using appliances designed to use less energy, or it can mean sealing and insulating your home so that less efficient appliances don’t have to work as hard.
Renewable Energy: Renewable energy sources include solar and wind power. Investing in solar panels or shingles for your home is an example of using renewable energy.
Green Building Materials: Green building often refers to materials, including reclaimed and recycled items such as flooring. It can also mean more environmentally friendly materials such as fiber cement, which gives off fewer VOCs in manufacturing than vinyl and, when compared to wood, requires less maintenance and creates less waste.
Water Management: Water use sometimes falls under the umbrella of efficiency, but usually comes under its own heading. Water can be managed in two ways: through the use of water-saving appliances, and through the recycling of “gray water” or water used first for things like dishes and laundry, then re-purposed to water the lawn or landscaping. Another use of water management is in the collection and harvesting of rainwater for purposes such as cleaning or lawn care.
Reusable and Salvaged Material: In addition to green building materials, there is also the use of salvaged items. This includes not only things like reclaimed flooring, but also reclaimed architectural features that are re-purposed from older buildings and placed into new ones. This may include things like moldings, mantels, claw-foot tubs, pedestal sinks, and even cabinetry. Reusing older items means that there is less waste from both tear-outs and from producing new materials.
Creating a Greener Home
When it comes to creating a more sustainable design for your home, you can include any of the above areas; sustainability is not an all or nothing proposition. For some people, creating the greenest home possible is the goal, while others may just want to reduce energy consumption and bills each month. Consider what sustainability means to you and how far you want to take it in your home to get the most workable solution for you and your family.
When you’re ready to begin, be sure to sign up with BEYREP to get matched to a Pro who has the expertise and knowledge necessary to help you create the kind of sustainable home you’re looking for. Sign up today to get started and create a greener home with BEYREP.
Download our free checklist for Green Updates here.