Whether you’re building a new home from scratch or making upgrades to your current home, incorporating sustainable building practices is a great way to make your home more energy efficient while reducing your impact on the environment. So-called “green” and eco-friendly architectural practices aren’t just a trend; sustainable residential architecture is important as we continue to address the effects of climate change, and understand more about how we can make a difference with our personal choices.
In this article, our residential architects will discuss some of their top tips for creating sustainable houses. Sustainable architectural design can be incorporated to all different types of homes, and we can work with budgets of all sizes.
Buffer against prevailing winds
Did you know that wind can increase your heating costs? Windchill makes it feel several degrees colder than it actually is outside, so your heating system works overtime to combat the colder temperatures.
If you’re building from scratch, this is a prime opportunity to consider the orientation of your home on the lot for wind resistance. Trees, shrubs, and other greenery are also very effective buffers against prevailing winds. Your architect can advise on which types of trees and shrubs are best for the climate you live in, and they can also advise on the best landscape design to ensure the windchill won’t reach your home. Greenery is an excellent way to insulate your home and prevent you from spending more on heating costs.
Plan for solar panels
Many people believe solar panels are only effective in very sunny weather, but homeowners across the country in all different climates have invested in home solar systems with great results. While bright, sunny skies might be ideal, solar panels can still generate and store energy when it’s overcast.
Solar panels can be installed on a range of different roof types, so speak with your architect and learn more about what your options are. You’ll soon be powering your home with completely clean, renewable energy and reducing your monthly electricity bills. Solar panel technology has advanced greatly over the last decade, so you now have more options than ever.
Consider a “Net Zero” home design
A net-zero home is one that’s intentionally designed to generate as much energy as it consumes, resulting in net-zero energy consumption. Some key components of net zero home design include:
- Positioning your home to take maximum advantage of the sun, both for your windows and for your solar panels
- Use highly insulated doors and windows. Cracks in the insulation around windows, doors, and garages is a major cause of wasted energy. Ensure your home is properly insulated to reduce your energy consumption and energy loss.
- Use energy efficient lighting. Most of us have at least several lights on at all times when we’re home, so using energy efficient lighting is an essential component of a net zero home.