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Building Your Greenminded Home

Building your own home is, no doubt, a very exciting venture. There is plenty of planning to do, and this is no cheap task, but having your dream home to look forward to is most rewarding. However, those who value the environment and are committed to its preservation will, no doubt, want to implement the necessary measures in their home-building to ensure that the house that they erect has been created using the most eco-friendly products and methods possible.

A greenminded home is characterised as such according to five main categories:

  1. Sustainable site
  2. Energy and atmosphere
  3. Water efficiency
  4. Materials and resources
  5. Quality of the interior air

Here are some of the most significant measures to ensuring a greenminded structure:

Bamboo
The world is fast running out of forests and wood as humans continue to exploit these resources. Bamboo has been used in building and construction for millennia. It is strong, durable and flexible, creating structures that are safe. Bamboo grows particularly fast and easily, making it far more sustainable and renewable than timber.

Solar Panels
Use the sun’s energy to power your home, right from the start. Solar power can be used to heat water and provide electricity for lighting, appliances, and so on. This works best when the panels are exposed to as much light as possible on a daily basis (i.e. not hampered by the shade of trees, and so on). Solar panels create no noise and do not emit any harmful gases or fumes. They are a once-off expense that keep producing results for years.

Modular Manufacturing (Prefabrication)
This refers to a method that involves certain sections of the house being produced within a factory and then moved to the site of your future home for erection. Using prefab and building these pieces off-site means that the area in which your home is to be built is left relatively unspoilt and that less waste is produced. All of the pieces are delivered to the site at once, minimising the to-and-fro transporting of builders. This, in turn, decreases dangerous gas emissions. Prefab homes are just as unique as ones made from other materials. They are also safe and customisable.

Green Your Walls and Roof
Having plants growing on your walls and roof has so many beneficial effects. They insulate the building, prevent noise pollution, emit healthful Oxygen and absorb Carbon Dioxide. Growing vegetables on your roof will also ensure that you have organic food available to you at no extra cost or effort.

Get Lazy
Instead of kitting your home out in all manner of expensive equipment, simply build it in a place that uses the surrounding environment and its positioning to your advantage. This will affect the lighting, heating, etc…saving you plenty of money and energy in the long run. This is called “passive design”.

Ventilation Systems
For a healthy, efficient home, there simply has to be adequate ventilation. This allows for polluted air to escape and for fresh air to enter your abode, keeping you and your family safe from germ- and pollution build-up.

LED and Natural Light
Using LED lights or natural lighting is cheaper and lasts longer than ordinary light bulbs. Natural light is, obviously, the best choice, since it has no negative effect on the environment, causes no waste and actually uplifts the psyche of the home’s inhabitants significantly.

Windmills
Power from the wind has been used, particularly in agriculture, for a long time. Wind turbines will also help to create electric power, heat, etc…for the home. This is especially useful if solar panels are not sufficient due to inclement weather, where the sun does not shine for long periods of time.

Grey Water Systems
Grey water is the water that has been used in the home for the washing of clothes, dishes, floors, and so on. This water should be reused for watering the garden and washing outside walls, pavements and driveways. In some places, it is not legal to reroute your waste water to the garden. If this is the case, simply store it in buckets and do the watering manually.

Photo Credit: Green Launches

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This article was posted by Greenminded.co.za - South Africa Eco-Friendly Guide.

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