Green construction has become a very broad field in recent years. These green home building tips will clarify the differences in green home building techniques. This article is designed to help you to examine what you really want from your green home. We will explore the types of green homes, and consider which green ideas match your reasons for building a green home.
Five Green Home Building Tips
1. Green Home Building Tips: Know Your Goals
Research all the aspects of green building and decide which are most important to you. Once the territory of rammed earth and Ferro-cement, green building has grown to include every single aspect of the housing market. Green now comes in many flavors, shades and price ranges. There are now luxury green home, quality green homes and energy efficient green homes. It is worth remembering though, that the original green builders pioneered the field to address a need for affordable, environmentally responsible, minimalist housing. This goal is not always reflected in the desires of people who want green homes, or in the work of contemporary green home builders and contractors. Therefore, before you get started, you need to determine exactly what you plan to achieve.
• Are you really interested in saving the planet? If you are committed to ecology, you may be interested in seeking out the pioneers of green housing. You will enjoy discovering the original ideals behind what has become a modern trend. Before getting started you must decide how committed you are to ecology, and consider if you want to adopt a unique green lifestyle or just enjoy the benefits of green technology.
• Do you want huge savings on your electric bill? Most green construction is energy efficient, but if energy efficiency is your only goal, then you must weigh how important the rest of green construction is to you. A traditional home made of timber can be quite energy efficient if it is well insulated, but so are homes built with insulated concrete panels or pumice blocks covered with cement. Many of the natural materials are also very energy efficient. You may choose from a variety of materials while keeping that R-rating in mind.
• Are you interested in an enduring, earthquake resistant home which will stand the test of time? Many of the green construction materials that evolved from Ferro-cement are very earthquake resistant, and have significantly more staying power than standard construction. Choose from insulated concrete panels, insulated concrete blocks, pumice block and traditional Ferro-cement. These materials will last for centuries.
• Are you comfortable with alternative building materials? Green construction can simply mean building a stick built energy efficient structure, or it can mean a variety of non traditional materials. Before making a decision about various materials you need to consider your personal tastes, as well as the climate in your area.
• Do you want a traditional style of home, or do you want your home to be a statement of your obviously green ideals? If you are fond of obviously green construction, your choices are much broader than if you are only interested in homes that look traditional.
• Are you interested in non-traditional affordable housing? The original idea behind green construction was to create a home for a very low cost, so that every family on earth could have their own affordable home. This ideal is possible, apart from local building codes. Depending on which type of material you want, you can build a green home for between $7.00 and $25.00 per square foot. In many foreign countries green housing is widely accepted, but here in America it can be a struggle to get a building permit for these things. It can be done, but it’s not as easy as getting a permit to build a house of traditional lumber. Still, in order to save hundreds of thousands of dollars, it might be worth a fight with city hall. Your builder and green construction activists may be willing to help with your cause.
2. Green Home Building Tips: Know Your Options
It is very important to know exactly what you want before seeking out a builder. Research is the key to satisfaction with your home, no matter what sort of materials you choose to have it built with. Understanding Green construction requires even more research. Research all the materials to determine which type of green home you are interested in.
3. Green Home Building Tips: Know Your Budget
Green homes vary in price more than any other type of housing. Green Luxury mansions are among the most expensive homes in the country, but affordability has always been among the goals of green housing. A green home can cost millions, but it can also cost less than $30,000. In extreme cases it can cost less than $10,000. Of course you cannot put a $10,000 home in a subdivision. It generally requires a rural lot, and the need for well and septic.
4. Green Home Building Tips: Know Your Building Materials
There are many types of green construction. Listed below are a few practical green materials.
• Natural Organic Materials – wood is a natural material, but so are earth, straw and various types of composition board made of various natural plants. Hemp board, though hard to obtain due to the illegal nature of its female counterpart, is an excellent building material.
• Recycled Materials – Bricks made from old shredded newspapers, found glass bottles, scrap metal, salvaged building materials, or even old clothes and rags can be used as a basis for a recycled home. When incorporated with concrete or Portland cement, these types of materials can become powerful insulation inside an extremely tough shell or fascinating design features.
• Local Materials – Obtaining your materials locally, instead of shipping them from distant states and countries, saves fuel and prevents air pollution. Using local materials will not impact the quality of your home, but it does help the environment. Of course if the materials you want are not found locally, you will have to decide whether to import them, or make substitutions.
• Shipping Containers – Green can mean recycled. Some people buy used 20” x 8” or 40” x 8” shipping containers for less than $2,000 each, and stack them together as a form of green building. Sometimes they are incorporated with other forms of construction, usually a sloped roof and a slab or foundation.
• Ferro-Cement – This is a general term involving cement and metal mesh. Ferro-cement is traditionally cement spread or sprayed over wire or rebar but may include insulated concrete panels, or pumice blocks. Often these methods are combined to create just the right combination of freeform curves and straight walls. Ferro-cement designers such as Steve Kornher are true artists. Mr. Kornher, a pioneer in the field of Ferro-cement, is also heavily involved in affordable housing. He can create an amazing fairy tale structure for $25 per square foot.
5. Green Home Building Tips: Know Your Climate and Soil
Climate determines which materials, shapes and building techniques are most suitable. In tornado alley a spherical home really makes sense. In the north, building a home with a steep roof is simply necessary and not a design statement. Having at least some slope to a roof is also necessary in rainy climates. In the humid southern Atlantic states, adobe is simply impossible. One could however, use Ferro-cement to mimic adobe. Soil quality, tendency for mud slides, the instability of sand content, the depth of the water table, and the depth of the frost line also determine what types of structures will work in a given area.
Make choices based on your knowledge, research, and your personal goals. There is no right or wrong way to build a green home, as long as it is structurally sound, and adequate for the area in which it is built. It really depends on what you want. These green home building tips are designed to inform you of your choices and encourage research.