Here are some cool home building ideas for a sustainable lifestyle. It is becoming increasingly important to be practical and self-sustaining, or at least that our homes have a potential for it. Sustainability can be beautiful as well as practical. Building in sustainable features can make them more attractive than having to retrofit later. Here are a few ideas for decorative sustainability.
Many sustainable features require south facing windows. Normally I am all for balance and symmetry in home design, but energy efficiency and sustainability require the building have many large south facing windows and very few if any north facing windows and doors. A sunroom on the south side can be incredibly beautiful. Including a sunroom in your original design makes it look a lot better than sunrooms added on later. In addition to your sunroom you should also have other South facing windows as well.
Build a sunroom on the south side of your home and construct a decorative aquaponics system in it. An aquaponics system features a tank or built in pool of fish, with a aerator and drainage system that cycles water from the fish tank through a system of pipes and planters full of edible plants to clean it, before it is returned to the fish. While Aquaponics systems are typically made of recycled materials with little thought to appearance, some really beautiful ones have been constructed which could turn your sun room into Eden. Imagine fresh strawberries dangling from decorative upright columns and a peaceful stone and concrete reservoir for your fish. Catfish or tilapia fingerlings are inexpensive and can serve as food when they grow enough. If you do not eat fish, you might prefer a koi pond. You can include waterfalls, to aerate the water, an herb garden for fresh herbs, and grow vegetables, flowers or both.
Solar heaters can be constructed from a variety of materials, but include an insulated box with a glass front filled with a network of metal pipes painted black and facing the south to catch the winter sun. When retrofitted these boxes can look out of place but if they were built in they could look very attractive and be vented directly into the home. From the outside a solar heater can look like a black window. The thickness of your wall is sufficient for the depth of the box and you can decide how much of your wall you’d like to devote to the heater. Unlike retrofitted solar heaters, there would be no reason the heater should be visible from the interior at all except for two small vents, one for interior and the other for exterior. A window sized solar heating unit can heat your home almost entirely during most days, and save about 35 percent of the cost of heating your home.
Solar Panels can power your entire home, provided your home is energy efficient. What is cooler than never getting another power bill? How about getting a check from your electric company? If your solar panels produce more electricity than you use, you can get a check for the surplus electricity from your electric company. Solar panels do vary in quality and there are some new innovations that should be on the market soon. The newer more cutting edge solar panels produce more energy per square inch but they also cost more. Calculate which is more economically sound, and how many panels you will need.
Using solar panels to produce your own energy can be amazingly freeing, as can growing your own safe organic food. Using the sun and a little water to produce health organic food for your family can not only save money but improve your quality of life. For more cool home building ideas download our 98 page free book and read the other articles on this site.