It is 2019, and we are being bombarded with dystopian outlooks on the future. There is talk about future energy and water shortages, economic instability, and some of the most-talked-about issues are global warming and environmental destruction. Naturally, people are wondering what they can do to protect themselves, their family and our planet. As it happens, building, remodeling, or adding to your home is a prime opportunity to do just that, while saving and even earning hard cash from doing so! Intrigued? Here is a short guide to environmentally friendly building!
Generally, there are four sectors to sustainability when it comes to construction: Energy, Water, materials and human health. Let’s look at how to optimize…
Energy is the component with the biggest noticeable impact, be it globally, locally or on your bank account. Not only does energy production hugely contribute to pollution and global warming, but in this day and age, where just about everything, from your toaster to your car, depends on electricity and the internet, it has become an absolutely essential need. And an expensive one, that is! Electricity is generally the most expensive utility. Here’s the good news: By designing your home in a way that maximizes the use of sunlight (with lots of big, intelligently placed windows,) and is well insulated (so you don’t have to constantly control the temperature,) you can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but drastically cut your utility bill. Or, even better, declare your independence from the city grid by installing solar panels. Here in Southern California, we get free energy year-round! That way it’s possible for your home to be completely emission-free, and as a bonus you will not only be immune to power outages and electricity bills, but you can even sell excess energy to your city!
California’s never-ending sun, a strength in energy, is also a weakness: As you probably already know, we are chronically short of water. That is why it’s even more important to save it wherever we can: Install water-saving appliances and irrigate your garden at night to help the aquifer recover. Another smart thing to do is investing in your own rainwater catching system. That way, when it rains, you will get free water to use for flushing your toilets, maintaining your yard and more! All in all, these steps will also translate into savings, because your water bill will be cheaper!
When you are ready to remodel, and want to be environmentally conscious about it, pay close attention to what materials you use. As a rule of thumb, natural materials are better for the planet than artificial ones: They are biodegradable and less chemically contaminated, less energy has been used during production, and in many cases are superior in look, feel and durability. However, there are factors to look out for. Do not buy exotic woods whose harvest contributes to deforestation, stone which is being mined in quarries that cause habitat destruction, and generally make sure a product is renewable and sustainable. Apart from this, look into salvaging materials – you can craft interesting and innovative creations by recycling!
Lastly, pay attention to your own health. As history shows, many artificial materials turn out to be toxic and can cause premature death or severe illness – lead paint and asbestos are just two of the more prominent examples! By making sure you use non-toxic substances and building blocks, you not only improve air quality and your family’s health, but also do your part in preventing environmental contamination.
Sustainable building may seem like a lot at first, but with a bit of research you can easily create living spaces that not only help keeping our surroundings beautiful and healthy, but can even save you hard cash in the short-, mid- and long term! If you have any more questions about anything related to construction, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 562-439-5294!