Five alternative housing ideas for the environmentally conscious

November 27, 2017
alternative housing environmentally conscious

Green homes are increasingly popular. Environmentally conscious folk love them because they are sustainable, requiring less use of natural resources from water to oil and coal. Sustainability keeps the planet healthy and preserves it for their children. Budget-conscious homebuyers love green homes because energy efficiency often equals reduced costs.

alternative housing environmentally consciousAn environmentally conscious home can maximise efficient use of resources in multiple ways. It can use renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power, for example, which require little or no use of fossil fuels such as oil, coal or natural gas. Fossil fuel use contributes to global warming and climate change.

Green homes often have heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) that require minimal energy to regulate temperature. They are often designed with the natural environment to regulate temperature sustainably as well, making prudent use of the sun’s heat to warm and shade trees to cool.

Environmentally conscious homes can have water-saving devices such as low-flow toilets and water regulators in showers.

Green homes often make use of minimal natural resources in construction as well. If they use wood, for example, they will use wood harvested sustainably. They will use natural products such as wool and sisal for flooring rather than synthetic materials that require petroleum products.

Now, which type of house allows you to use these green ideas the most? Often, alternative housing is the most environmentally conscious. Here are five ideas for environmentally conscious homes.

Tiny houses

Tiny houses aren’t just an idea, they’re a movement! A tiny house by definition is very small, ranging from 150 square feet to 500 square feet. Tiny houses are green often simply because they leave a small footprint. Heating and cooling 150 square feet, for example, is not a big drain on energy resources — much less so than 3,000 square feet!

tiny houseBecause tiny houses and the green movement often go hand-in-hand, many tiny homes are designed to be as sustainable as possible, with solar energy panels on the roof and energy-saving appliances.

Fixer-uppers

Fixer-uppers are green for two reasons. First, existing elements contribute to conservation of resources. If a home already has brick walls, no new brick walls need to be ordered or built. Second, any construction required allows homebuyers to install up-to-date environmentally conscious elements.

If a fixer-upper needs a new roof, for example, solar panels can be considered after the new roof goes in if the site is right. If new appliances are needed, homeowners can make a point to purchase models designed to use less energy.

Modular homes

Modular homes are energy efficient in the construction, as uniform elements are put together with minimal waste.

They also often require less construction time. This contributes to energy use because construction crews use trucks and other equipment that are driven to the site, using the natural resources of oil and gas.

Houses with green roofs and walls

Green roofs are roofs designed to carry a dense plant cover. They are environmentally conscious in several ways. First, they provide insulation for the building, making it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Second, plants create a healthier environment, breathing out oxygen and purifying the air. Third, it’s possible to grow vegetables and herbs as part of a green roof, which contributes to sustainable living.

Green walls are individual walls in a house with the same kind of dense plant covering. Like green roofs, they provide insulation in the home, create oxygen and purify the air. Green walls can also be used to grow vegetables and herbs. Generally, green walls need to be limited to one or two walls or the house can become too humid.

green wallPassive solar homes

Homes with passive solar design harness the sun to give their homes heat and light. When many people think “solar,” they think solar power requiring photovoltaic cell installation. Not all homes have a suitable site or roof for this kind of installation, though. But passive solar design doesn’t require panels. It requires appropriate siting of the home and openings to let the sun shine in.

Passive solar homes often have at least one sun room with floor to ceiling windows facing south or west. These room collect heat than can be dispersed throughout the home with fans. Passive solar homes often make use of skylights in kitchens and living room as well. These provide light as long as the sun is shining and also provide heat.

These five methods of alternative home building are ideal for the environmentally conscious. They use renewable energy sources, minimize consumption of natural resources and maximise sustainability. They often minimize the space and construction needed. These types of homes leave the planet in better shape.

 

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