Everything You Should Know About Eco-friendly Homes
Apr 19 2021
We all understand that taking care of the environment is the need of the hour. Property owners today, are looking for more ways of constructing an eco-friendly house by not harming the environment. In this article, we will be discussing eco-friendly house construction materials and methods you should consider when you decide to build an eco-friendly house for you and your family.
Eco-friendly House Construction
Building an eco-friendly house is not only environmentally friendly but equally good for you as a homeowner. Whether you’re building a home from scratch or designing your home into an eco-friendly house. Here are some eco-friendly building materials that you should opt for while building an eco-friendly home for yourself.
Bamboo for Construction
Bamboo is one of the materials used in eco-friendly house construction. Bamboo is a highly renewable and fastest-growing material and has properties that make it suitable for construction. Bamboo grows throughout the world. Also, regular replacement of bamboo is not required because of its strength. Bamboo has a great deal of durability and tensile strength. Bamboo fabric is made from fibers that have been harvested from bamboo plants. Bamboo can grow to full size in just 3-4 months, compared to standard trees which can take 30+years to grow.
Reclaimed Wood for Construction
Reclaimed wood or lumber has a past and has been used for buildings and structures for years now. The wood is recycled and reused to meet today's ever-growing need for sustainable and eco-friendly homes. It is one of the most popular options for eco-friendly home construction. It can be used for construction, flooring, and also used as a decorative wooden beam supporting your wall or ceiling to add a traditional charm.
Straw Bales for Insulation
Straw bale construction is a relatively sustainable construction method, with straw being a renewable material that is readily available. Straws are placed in the walls and ceilings to keep the temperature under control during the summer. We all know straws can be harvested easily and hence straw bale is a sustainable and renewable building material a is a great eco-friendly building material used for construction.
Recycled Steel for Eco-friendly House Construction
Recycled steel is one of the most popular green building materials out there. Between all of the mining, forges, heating, shaping, and transporting heavy metal, the process of producing steel takes a lot of energy so using recycled steel for construction is a wise decision. Recycled steel is a type of material that doesn’t lose its properties when recycled. Did you know that steel is the most recycled material in the world? More steel is recycled each year than plastic, paper, aluminum, and glass all combined. Using recycled steel in the building process, you know for a fact that it will be strong and durable. It’s a massive saver in energy and costs too.
Using Cork for Eco-friendly House Construction
Cork is natural, sustainable, renewable, and good for the environment as we can imagine a material to be. In construction, it stands out due to its thermal and acoustic insulation capabilities. Cork is used for flooring, insulation, and exterior finish. This non-toxic material is so versatile and is mostly used in eco-friendly home construction projects because of its popularity it is in high demand now.
Sheep’s Wool Insulation
Sheep wool is an entirely natural and environmentally friendly material that can be grown easily. Homeowners now use wool insulation as it is natural insulation made from sheep’s wool. As sheep naturally reproduce their coat so it's highly sustainable. It can be a little expensive as compared to other natural insulation materials. Wool has a 10% greater insulating factor and can absorb, retain and release properties. You will be warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Wool insulation is a great option for the eco-friendly home construction as it plays the role of an outstanding home insulator.
Few Other Eco-friendly Building Methods
Advantage of Building Vertically
Take advantage of building vertically. This way you keep as much land around the house as undisturbed as possible.
When deciding what type of stairs to use, think about what’s most important to you. If you want the stairs to take up the least amount of space as possible, opt for spiral staircases. If you want to avoid disturbing the light coming through the windows choose modern stairs. The best suggestion is to play with the floorplan and layout of the stairs until you’re satisfied.
Eco-friendly Home Designs
We all know that your surroundings can, affect our mood but thankfully eco-friendly house designs are naturally aesthetic. The reason you want to design your home is that you want to live a truly eco-friendly lifestyle. Eco-friendly designs don’t only stop you at the eco-friendly building materials but few eco-friendly designs ideas that you can incorporate are as follows: -
Bring the Outside Inside Your Home
The idea of eco-friendly living is to bring more of the outdoors into your home and decorating with organic materials. Indoor Plants not only liven up your space but also improve the air quality of your home by adding some green you have a complete eco-friendly home design style.
Placement of Windows
Large sun-facing windows let in a lot of natural heat during the day so your home can remain warm during the winter, but too warm during the summer. This is easily remedied by using blinds or coupling the large windows with the right wall insulation so it remains cool even though there is a lot of sun coming in.
Using Eco-friendly Home Products
Natural Paint or Eco Paints would give you the same result as the regular one but the regular paint release toxins in the air as they dry which can be very harmful to the environment. When deciding on any aspect of the design of your new home, do a little research to see if there are eco-friendly alternatives products to those in the mainstream market
Also, energy-efficient appliances like installing energy-efficient lighting like LED lights are a perfect match and more energy-efficient than CFL’s. Highly efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling systems are essential to meeting the net-zero energy goal. Zero-energy homes are healthier and more comfortable than standard homes.
Sustainable or Recycled Furniture
For your eco-friendly home design using sustainable furniture can make your home truly environment friendly. But finding the right furniture that perfectly matches your needs can be an uphill task but it's not impossible taking the time and picking the right furniture for eco-friendly home décor is important. When it’s time to get rid of the furniture that no longer lines up with your green lifestyle, make sure you repurpose, sell, or recycle. If the furniture item was pretty bad for the environment just to produce it, imagine how bad it could be if it’s improperly disposed of.
Keep Your Utilities Eco-Friendly
Heating and Cooling
Install a programmable thermostat that allows you to set at what time during the day want the house to be heated or cooled. You save money and energy especially if your home doesn’t let in as much sun. Also, if you want to keep up with modern technology and inch your home into the smart-eco-home realm then a smart thermostat can do that and more!
You can also incorporate geothermal energy, which is getting energy from steam or hot water reservoirs underground. This is a much, much more advanced method and not retro-fittable to existing homes. However, since the heat from the water drives an electric generator, it is really awesome and highly effective at minimizing a house’s carbon footprint.
Install a rainwater harvesting tank. While you can’t use the tank water for drinking, but you can for laundry, watering the plants, washing your car, and more. They also reduce the risk of flooding and soil erosion since it’s collecting all of the rainwater around your home.
If you can’t do this you can still reduce your footprint by ensuring there are no leaks in your pipes or faucets, turning off your faucet as you brush your teeth, do dishes, only washing full loads of clothing, and more.
Bad news, electricity is expensive. The good news, it’s easy to manage it and make your home energy efficient. Simple things like using timers for your lights, getting a water heater jacket, and changing out the lightbulbs in your home for eco-friendly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) all add up to greatly reduce your monthly electric bill.
However, overall, it would be pretty wise if you wanted to invest in the power of solar energy. Don’t worry, it’s no longer limited to those giant solar panels that are bolted to your roof.
Nowadays there are solar roof shingles that are small and customized to fit almost seamlessly with traditional roof tiles. They’re sleek, durable, and withstand the elements while still absorbing light for your home’s energy use.
Modern Eco-friendly House Construction Tips
Tips you can follow if your planning for eco-friendly home construction:-
- Using Clay, mud, and blocks for construction instead of bricks
- Using solar water heaters and solar lanterns (for power shortages) to reduce consumption of electricity Skylights that serve as the major source of lighting.
- Efficient rainwater harvesting system that supplies all the water required by the household.
- Consider a Greywater recycling system that uses wastewater from washing machines and kitchens to clean cars etc.
- If no plaster, paint, and cement is used there will be at least a 15% reduction in cost as compared to a normal house
- Also, one great option is to get 80% of your fittings from demolished houses and wood, from scrap dealers and buy other households second-hand.
- The parts of the house, such as the windows, staircase, kitchen cupboards, bookshelves should be made from discarded pinewood packing cases that were polished using linseed oil.
- Solar power systems, rainwater harvesting units, and greywater recycling units should be installed.
- An eco-friendly house must be constructed on an existing building and one should make use of the structure as it is, without any changes.
Eco-Friendly Homes in Bangalore
G V Dasarathi is the proud owner of this beautifully built double storied house made entirely of “Kachra” i.e. trash. Yes, Kachra Manne aka trash house is made from second-hand / discarded material in Sadashivnagar. The owner of this house largely believes in the mantra of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink’. This house is a symbol of his strong motive i.e., persuasion can build houses at half the cost of a traditional one. A few of the most impressive features of this house are:
- 80% of the fittings are reused waste from demolished houses
- Staircase, Windows, bookshelves, and kitchen cupboards, made from waste pinewood crates
- Solar power systems, greywater recycling units, and rainwater harvesting units.
Designed by architect Satya Prakash from Varanasi, Hosamane is one classic example of sustainability. Constructed from locally available materials, the house can accommodate ample natural light. For its electricity and water requirements, the house depends on solar energy and rainwater harvesting respectively. The house also has provisions for Grey Water recycling and the owners regulate waste carefully and utilizes it for various purposes. Few features that make this house sustainable are:
- A home garden that grows nearly 100 varieties of plants.
- The house runs exclusively on solar energy and rainwater harvesting
- Recycled greywater is used for flushing, gardening, and other purposes.
A home that gets almost 90 percent of its vegetables from its yard and uses solar energy for most purposes. The owners Rajesh Shah and Vallari Shah are totally against packaged foods (like sodas, chips, detergents, and bleach). They indeed are leading a life that is very green and very close to nature. Through rainwater harvesting, the couple successfully saves nearly 15,000 liters of water and almost all of it is reused. Few sustainable features of laughing waters are:
Produce 90% of the kitchen need from own terrace garden
Almost all electronic devices run on solar
Greywater recycling system effectively irrigate the extensive gardens
This beautiful house located in the HSR layout follows a holistic approach to sustainable living. This house is built using natural materials on a 50×80 site, from handmade mud blocks, rainwater harvesting systems, organic vegetable garden, skylights, and ethnic Warli art, this house is one of the best green home examples to cite. Karunaprasad Kanavi, son of popular Kannada poet Chennaveera Kanavi is the proud owner of Hombelaku. A few of the most impressive features are:
- Use of Clay and mud blocks instead of bricks
- No plaster or paint on walls to avoid the use of lead
- Simple Kota tiles and clay tiles for flooring
- Skylights provide enough lighting from 6 am to 6 pm
- Solar lanterns and solar water heaters to reduce consumption of electricity
- Rainwater harvesting system and Greywater recycling system for effective recycling and reuse
Chockalingam Muthiah’s House
Chockalingam Muthiah who is a businessman by profession strongly believes in using only what can be preserved or generated. This house is energy-free, makes efficient use of rainwater for daily needs; basically, offers a lifestyle that symbolizes a perfect blend of traditionalism and sustainability. Sustainable of this house include:
- Use of Mud blocks and less use of cement
- House design ensures good ventilation and abundant natural light
- All electronic devices use solar energy
- Effective segregation of waste; dry waste is disposed of to BBMP and wet waste is used to produce biogas
- Rainwater harvesting meets nearly 80% of the family’s annual water needs
Stay clean and go green because success is not about how many resources you have but instead how resourceful you are with what you have!
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