What Really Makes a “Green” Home?
Despite the fact that the term "green" has become a home term in the construction and design industries, it is not always clear what it means. There are a few rules for eco-friendly homes, but the term "green" isn't defined in any manner other than as a color generated by combining yellow and blue. So, how can a buyer discern if a house labeled "green" was actually created with an ecological concern, or at least enough of one to justify its price?
Increased insulation is one of the prerequisites for ecologically conscious housing. A home should be insulated beyond the minimum local requirements to be really energy efficient. Floor insulation, which is sometimes installed right into the concrete base, is one example. In addition to insulating the walls, floors, and ceilings, it is recommended that the windows also be done. Windows with dual panes or vinyl frames are therefore soon becoming the standard for "green" homes.
It is important to keep the house's energy efficiency at a high level. The environment benefits greatly from water-saving toilets with several flushing options. These options allow you to flush solid trash more efficiently, while liquid waste is flushed more cautiously. It is possible to incorporate water-saving technologies into shower heads, washing machines, faucets, and dishwashers without affecting their usefulness. Air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters, and all other appliances in the home should be energy efficient to the highest degree possible. Additionally, if practical, LED lights or CFLs should be utilized to illuminate the home.
The use of non-toxic or at least less-toxic materials is a need for "green" homes in addition to energy efficiency. Look for a house that employs low-VOC paints. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are contaminants generated during the application of conventional paint. Because lighter pigments generate fewer VOCs, white or off-white walls are healthier than some of the brighter, popular colors. This is because the paint base is regulated for quality, but it is challenging to remove VOCs from particular pigments.
Bamboo or cork flooring is another current finishing touch for eco-friendly homes. Bamboo is popular due to its quick growth. Bamboo takes roughly five years to reach the size required for flooring. It can be worn in a variety of ways and in a variety of colors and designs. Sustainable harvesting of cork ensures that the cork tree, which replaces its cork bark every year, is not harmed during the process of harvesting the cork. Cork is a gorgeous, silky, springy surface that is also intrinsically warmer than many other flooring options.
For our final interior consideration, eco-friendly homes will utilize more natural fabrics for carpets and window coverings, such as wool and cotton.
There's plenty of scope for "green" concerns outside the house, too. Xeriscaping is a trendy landscaping technique that uses native plants from the area to create a more natural look. Because they have acclimatized to the local environment, these plants are inherently drought-resistant and require less watering and upkeep than lawns or flower beds full of exotic blooms.
Permeable paving stones are another "green" outdoor trend. These absorb water, which is then filtered naturally via the earth and returned to the groundwater source. Water flowing over cement and into drains can cause toxic run-off, conveying oil and exhaust waste right into the drainage system, which finally ends up in a nearby body of water.
If a home is touted as "green," don't be hesitant to ask the builder about some of these features. If they don't live up to your expectations, don't buy it.