Going green is not simply just a trend in home design, but really has quite a positive impact on the environment. Focusing on energy-efficiency as well as eco-friendly design is all part of sustainable architecture and should be a goal of every homeowner. Not only does it reduce the impact of your home on the environment, but it also reduces your own energy expenses which saves money. Overall there really is no reason to not consider green home design ideas.
If you aren't sure where to start, here are five of the best ideas for making your home green.
● Add Green Roof Features into a Rooftop Terrace
One trend in home design that is growing in popularity recently is the rooftop terrace, essentially a small terrace or raised deck on top of your roof that functions as a place to relax and entertain guests. These have numerous benefits but aren't exactly green on their own. You can improve the idea of a rooftop terrace by incorporating a green roof.
Traditional green roofs typically cover the entire roof and very much look like a planted roof. These are quite popular in European countries but the US is quickly seeing the benefits. To perform double-duty many buildings are built with a green roof that also functions as a place to relax. From a residential standpoint it is a great idea to incorporate a green roof design within your rooftop terrace. This is an environmentally-friendly way of getting more flora into urban areas, but also helps provides natural insulation for the house.
● Invest in Energy Star Windows
One of the first things many professionals recommend homeowners do to increase value and reduce energy costs is to replace old windows with Energy Star certified windows. While any type of new window is an improvement over old single-pane types, Energy Star remains the cream of the crop. At first replacing windows doesn't exactly seem to be green but in the long run it is as it works towards the home's insulation, which reduces your energy expenditure.
If you have an older home or feel like your home is drafty or difficult to heat/cool, you'll be surprised at how effective switching to Energy Star windows can be. Especially when combined with window coverings to block direct heat or cold.
● Consider a Smart Thermostat System for Your Home
If your home relies on a central HVAC system for temperature control it is strongly recommended you ditch your old manual thermostat for a digital smart thermostat system. Many homeowners, especially those that may not be so tech savvy, balk at the complicated first impression of a smart thermostat, but in reality it is quite easy to use and incredibly energy efficient.
A smart thermostat system not only allows you to control temperature via an app on your phone wherever you are, but can also be setup to reduce HVAC needs while nobody's home. For example, if your family is gone during the day it doesn't make sense to have your home heated or cooled. Instead the thermostat can easily be programmed to turn to a lower level during these times and turn back on in time to achieve the ideal temperature before your family returns that afternoon or night.
● Use Solar and/or LED Whenever Possible
The use of solar power is always improving and becoming not only more accessible but also more affordable for homeowners. Solar panels can easily be placed on roofs or on ground level in special frames and fairly easily set up to power lights within the home. Lights tend to consume quite a bit of electricity, especially old bulbs, so simply going green with lighting first is a big step.
Another effective step to take is to slowly replace all lighting in your home with LED lighting. Though these bulbs cost more they are far less expensive to run and have a much greater life. They also come in a variety of color tones, which means you can easily have a soft warm lighting in the living room or sitting room but a clear bright white in your home office or kitchen for better visibility.
● Choose Light Paint Colors to Reflect Heat
It's fairly common knowledge that light colors reflect heat, yet many fail to carry this idea over to aspects of home design. The paint, home siding, and roofing colors you choose absolutely have an effect on how much energy your house will consume to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
Light colors reflect heat which works equally well indoors and on the exterior. A light exterior will keep hot summer sun at bay compared to dark colors. The same goes for a light colored roof, and even moreso for a reflective roof material like steel. When it comes to interior design light paint is still a good idea for a number of reasons. Light colors don't absorb heat readily so you will actually keep your home warmer more easily in the winter. These colors also reflect light which means if you practice daylighting you will have a much better result.
Making your home green doesn't have to be one giant, expensive venture, but can actually easily be done in steps. As you go about slowly renovating your house, whether it's in preparation for an eventual sale or you're simply building your dream home, try to incorporate these and other effective green design ideas.