Climate change is having an effect on communities all over the globe. As a result, concerned new home buyers, especially those buying their first home, may look to green construction and home remodeling. Of course, there are many reasons to be drawn to sustainable and green construction practices.
These trends typically save homeowners money by reducing their utility bills. Sustainable construction practices also increase the value of the home. If you're a homeowner who is remodeling your property, or if you're having a home built for you, below are some of the most popular and most sustainable construction trends.
1. Solar Panel Installation
Solar panel installation reduces a home's dependency on the electrical grid by harnessing the energy from the sun. Solar panels need some peak exposure to sunlight in order to be most effective. Typically, solar panels are installed on the roof of a home, on the southern or western exposure.
Some types of roofing (like slate and cedar) are not compatible with solar panel installation. Homeowners who have this type of roofing can have solar panels installed on their lawn instead, if they have a patch of lawn that gets enough sun exposure. Solar panels can be expensive, but solar companies typically give homeowners one of two choices when it comes to payment. Homeowners who have the money can pay for the panels outright. Those who don't have the money can instead lease their panels until they've paid for the unit.
2. Reclaimed Materials
Reclaimed materials are materials that were once used in a building or home, and are now being used for another purpose. Wood is one of the most common reclaimed materials found in residential properties. Reclaimed wood typically comes from old warehouses, barns and even old wood pallets.
Reclaimed wood can be used in furniture, flooring, wall panels, coffers, wainscotting. Homeowners typically like reclaimed wood because of its rustic character and distressed appearance. Reclaimed wood usually comes with scratches, scars and stains from its previous functions. This makes it interesting to look at, and usually brings with it a story that can be told to guests.
3. Green Insulation Materials
Most modern insulation is made from fiberglass or cellulose. However, in recent years, some greener, more sustainable options have come to the attention of homeowners. These green insulation materials are made from recycled and biodegradable materials. Some of these materials include:
- Recycled denim. Denim is similar to fiberglass in that it can be turned into batts that are unrolled in the walls and the attic.
- Wool. This dense, soft insulation material is fire and mold resistant, which makes it perfect for residential use.
- Cork. This energy-efficient product made from tree bark is used all over in the house, including in insulation.
4. Energy Efficient Appliances
Energy efficient appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less energy than non-energy efficient equivalents. These appliances save homeowners money and also improve the value of the home where they're installed. Energy efficient appliances require an investment up front because they're often more expensive than the non-energy efficient counterparts. However, energy efficient appliances usually recover this money in energy savings, and then some.
5. Cool Roofing
Dark roofing materials heat up the attic and thus heats up the rest of the house, which forces the HVAC system to work harder to keep the home cool. This increases cooling costs throughout the summer, and also shortens the service life of the air conditioner. Cool roofing is a white, reflective roofing product that reflects light back at the sky. This helps keep the attic cool in the heat of summer, which reduces the burden on the home's HVAC system.
6. Greener Concrete
Cement, which is an ingredient in concrete, is notoriously bad for the environment, primarily because the manufacturing process is a major emitter of greenhouse gasses. Concrete is an unavoidable building product in modern construction, but there are some companies that are focusing on making concrete more environmentally friendly.
One example is Grasscrete. Grasscrete is standard concrete with patterned holes scattered throughout. Grass grows through the holes. Grasscrete can be used to construct driveways and pathways. Grasscrete is better for the environment because it uses less concrete, and because the holes allow the ground to soak up water.
Work With Your Contractor
Green building materials can save homeowners money while also protecting the environment. If you're a Victoria BC new home owner seeking sustainable building materials and technologies for your residence, talk to your contractor. Your contractor can help you decide which green building materials are best for you.
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The Neal Estate Group is your #1 source for all of your Victoria BC real estate needs. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (250) 386-8181 to speak with a Victoria real estate buying or selling expert today. With decades of experience as a top selling Victoria REALTOR® and ranked in top 1% globally with over 5,000 transactions and $1 Billion SOLD, Ron Neal & The Neal Estate Group have the industry experience and market knowledge to help you make smart and informed buying or selling decisions.