5 Green Home Design Planning Options
Planning a green home design for either a new construction or a renovation can both be fun and rewarding. On the one hand, you have the ability to choose the features you want to create the home of your dreams. On the other side of things, the final product will end up saving you a lot of money over the long run in terms of reduced energy costs. Although the initial cost may be high, over time, you will see a return on your investment. Living green means living sustainably. That means equipping the home with systems designed to harness the natural energies of the earth. These include—but are not limited to—solar power, thermal mass and the structural integrity of certain geometric forms. In the spirit of designing a green home or retrofitting your current home to meet green standards, here are 5 planning options.
Designing and living in a geodesic dome is one planning option that is catching on. Not only is a geodesic dome one of the strongest structures known to man, its sustainable design works well with other systems that help to reduce energy costs. Dome homes are energy efficient and, depending on the part of the country you live, entirely storm-proof.
Earth Sheltered Homes
Also called earth ships, these are homes that are almost entirely covered up by the earth. They can be built on flat land, into hills or underground in an atrium style with an open courtyard. Earth sheltered homes are insulated by the thermal mass of the earth, keeping the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Many designs are built as domes and covered with earth, able to withstand up to 50,000 pounds per square foot of pressure. Thus, little space is needed for a strong and spacious earth sheltered home.
Passive Solar Homes
Homes that incorporate passive solar heating are designed and built to fully utilize the natural ability of the sun to heat a home in the winter and keep it cool in the summer. Rather than use electricity producing solar panels, passive solar homes rely on ventilation, open spaces and heat absorbent materials to greatly reduce energy costs.
Solar Water Heaters
Installing a solar water heater in your home to replace the electric or natural gas-powered variety is a great way to reduce your energy costs by a tremendous amount. Using a solar collector, the sun’s energy is harnessed and transferred to potable water that is used in showers, sinks and the laundry. A solar water heater is a green home design that can be added to an existing home with relative ease.
Installing solar panels on the roof of your current home, capturing the sun’s energy to power electrical systems and even storing some of that energy in battery form is another green retrofitting idea. If you live in a sunny area, power bills will drop drastically by utilizing the sun’s energy in an active manner.
These are but 5 options for designing a green, sustainable home. By decreasing reliance upon fossil fuel energy systems, long term costs associated with homes will be greatly reduced. Thus, green home designs are sustainable in both an environmental and a financial sense.