This is where Green Home Design begins. You must work with your contract home builder to examine the geography of your parcel of land. High plateau property sites require vastly different considerations than low lying water aggregate sites. Think retaining walls versus drainage ditches or living on a hill versus living in a bowl.
The next step is determining the orientation of the sun. You absolutely do not want the long side of your house facing the sun. While this might help out with the heating bill in the winter, it will most certainly drive your electric bill through the roof in the summer! Instead make certain that the short sides of the house or ends face the sun. This enables you to take advantage of some of the heating benefits in winter and reduce the effects of July heat. If that is not a possibility then it is time to look at the trees!
Mother Nature has provided us with a completely natural product to aid us in home construction site design; TREES! Deciduous trees can help keep your home cool in the summer and allow more heat uptake in the winter as the leaves come and go with the seasons. Strategically placed shrubs can also help protect your home from unwelcome heat. They also keep neighbors and passersby from seeing in your windows.
Another important consideration is wind. Understanding the wind currents of your physical site location can help with air circulation in the home and reduce or eliminate reliance on an expensive central air system. Choose between small or large windows, vertical or horizontal sliding windows, or an assortment of all types on different sides of your home.
Get as Green as You Can
Every dollar you invest in Green system design for your home construction is multiplied many times over in savings. Properly insulating your home is the most significant source for saving tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your investment. Make certain your home contractor has the attic and the inside of the exterior walls well insulated. Also ensure weather stripping is used around all windows and doors. Window frames are typically the greatest source of energy and dollar drains in older homes so do not let yours start off 3 going on 30!
Finally, use the most energy efficient appliances in your home. Energy Star ratings are good indicators of the newest generation of appliances ability to save you money. But you should also consider smart power strips. Many DVD players, stereos, receivers, and game consoles only go into sleep mode when you shut them down. A smart power strip will shut off the energy supply to them and can save you as much as 5 to 10 percent per year on your electricity usage. To give you an idea, this would save $100 – $300 per year for the average sized home.
All of these Green Home Design strategies can make your family’s life safer, healthier, happier and Greener!