Building a green home can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. With so many options and choices to consider, how do you decide which sustainable materials to include in your project and where do you start? Here are some simple ideas to get your construction project off to an environmentally friendly start:
Start with a Timeless Floorplan
It doesn’t matter how many sustainable materials you use in your project if you tear them all out to remodel after a few years because your home’s layout doesn’t suit your needs. Avoiding future remodeling waste by thinking through your floorplan now is a sustainable building choice everyone can make. Choosing a flexible floorplan that will work well as your family changes is a key starting point for any green home. Take your time when designing or selecting your house plan to ensure the floorplan will work with your lifestyle both today and in the future.
Planning Your Building Project
If you’re thinking about building or remodeling and aren’t sure where to start, check out the LEED home construction guide. Even if you don’t plan to certify your project, the checklist provides a good starting point, listing the many sustainable features you can incorporate into your home. You may want to go through the list with your contractor and ask which items add significant cost, which cost the same or only slightly more vs. traditional building, and which may be less expensive. Consult with product manufacturers regarding an expected return on investment. From there, you can make decisions based on the specifics of your new home project. For example, if the cost of upgraded insulation adds $1000 to your budget but is expected to reduce your utility bill by $100/month, this is probably a worthwhile upgrade.
It’s Not All or Nothing
Realistically, not every budget can afford every ‘latest and greatest’ product or material on the market. Don’t let this stand in the way of adding a few sustainable features to your home. Each sustainable product or material choice you make is a step in the right direction, and compounded across many millions of homes, even small changes have a huge impact.