REUSE, REDUCE, RECYCLE
• Build for your region. Learn about your environment when designing and planning a green home. For example, light-color exteriors reflect heat from the sun, benefiting homes in warmer regions. Alternately, darker exteriors absorb heat for warmth in cold climates.
• Build to suit your site. Instead of clear-cutting a lot, use existing trees for passive solar heating and cooling. You also can position your house so that low-angled rays from the winter sun will flood south-facing rooms, reducing dependence on expensive sources of energy.
• Choose materials wisely. Conservationist attitudes and economic efficiency guide green construction. Build with sustainable woods and recycled, reusable, and durable materials.
• Minimize waste. Take advantage of local salvage companies to remove reusable construction waste, and ask your contractor about recycling options.
• Go for the savings. Superior insulation and energy-efficient appliances will significantly cut energy costs throughout the life of your home.
• Conserve resources. Use drought-resistant plants and adequate drainage systems outdoors, and efficient pipe systems and sink and faucet aerators indoors.
• Stay healthy. The air quality inside green homes is often far superior to that of conventional homes. Low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and nontoxic insulation and flooring, for example, can cause fewer allergies, asthma problems, and skin sensitivities.
Not sure if you can recycle something?
For a Reusable Building Materials Exchange, check out the 2Good2Toss project.
By Allen Bunting