The Ideal Sustainable Home?

Sustainable housing is not a new idea, but there are many different ideas surrounding the term sustainable building, some of them always changing. People have varied sustainable plans when designing a house, but in reality you can narrow sustainability down to some basic ideas.

The best sustainable housing is…

sustainable building

Traditional Zulu village built with sustainable materials

Sustainable at each level. From choosing a site and clearing the land. Your choice of materials and your building ethics (i.e. recycling waste). Your energy system and landscaping.  At each level of the planning and building process there are sustainable aspects you can consider.

A sustainable home has a light footprint and takes up less space. You can sort of build a green McMansion but that majorly defeats the true purpose of sustainable design.

The best sustainable materials are locally acquired, efficient, and recyclable. You can go further by choosing materials that have been reclaimed and by using only what you need. For example, two sinks in the bath, may be overkill.

Sustainable housing requires less fuel to heat or cool and maximizes natural vs. non-renewable resources for energy. Wind, solar, proper landscaping, window quality, and more are all ideas surrounding sustainable energy for housing.

Sustainable housing makes the most of water use with things like water efficient appliances, rainwater systems, and low-water landscaping.

Interior design is also a consideration. Non-toxic paints, clean air techniques, reclaimed floors, sustainable furniture, and more all contribute to overall sustainable design.

Source: Best Green Home Tips

sustainable home

Woman preparing a cow dung floor. Once dried, compacted and sealed, these floors can be polished to a mirror finish

‘Sustainable building’ has long been practiced by people all over the world.  In Africa this was (and still is in many places) the only way to build.  Thatching grass, wood and clay mud were harvested locally to build comfortable houses with less impact on the environment than any modern house built today.  However, we can use the materials and methods of old and combine them with modern technology and knowledge to build much more eco-friendly homes.  Even if we only take certain elements of green building design and incorporate these into our building plans, it will be beneficial to the environment.  This of course, is assuming that you are planning to build a new home from scratch.  There are many ways of improving your existing home’s energy and water efficiency without drastic changes to the structure.  Earlier posts on this website examine ways of creating a rain garden, reducing swimming pool water consumption, improving washing machine efficiency, harnessing water power, green building water efficiency, and you’ll find many other posts that discuss ways of reducing your environmental footprint.  Wherever water conservation is concerned, Water Rhapsody can provide solutions; see the many benefits of our water saving systems.


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