Image by SFU – University Communications
What is a sustainable house? A sustainable house is a home which is a healthy environment for everyone in the household (even your pets) which is free of the synthetic, often toxic building materials which are often used in home construction. A sustainable house is less aggravating to those with allergies and safer than a traditional home to live in.
A Sustainable House is Healthy:
Building a sustainable house is more environmentally friendly as well as having a much higher air quality indoors than do many homes. A lot of building materials and furniture contain formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen as well as being an irritant to the nose, throat and skin – many are allergic to this chemical as well. Materials which often contain formaldehyde include plywood, fabrics and furniture upholstery.
In a sustainable house, the furniture and building materials alike will be made from organic fibers and be free of toxic finishes. Since 1980, the rates of asthma have doubled; something which has been linked to the indoor air quality in our homes – the air quality in our homes can be as much as 100 times worse than the air outside, even in a polluted area.
A Sustainable House is Energy Efficient and Saves You Money:
The newer models of heating systems, water heaters and other appliances are far more energy efficient than are the older models which are still in use in many homes. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 80% energy than do older incandescent bulbs, making them a popular choice for homeowners. A lot of homeowners are choosing to make their homes not only sustainable but also energy efficient by insulating and sealing windows and doors, along with installing programmable thermostats.
Other small steps which can make a big difference are changing your furnace filters regularly, using low flow showerheads and insulating your water heater. Making sure that your attic is well insulated can also greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs, while using less energy.
A Sustainable House Uses Green Products:
With interest in green building on the rise, green building products are much more readily available. There are non-toxic wood finishes and paints – and there are even options for sustainable wood out there. One particularly popular sustainable wood choice is bamboo flooring. These green building products are not only sustainable but also attractive, increasing the value of your sustainable house. You can also find carpets which are made from natural materials like wool or carpets made from recycled materials.
A Sustainable House Uses Solar Energy For Additional Light or Heating:
Any house can become a sustainable house by using the sun’s power to save on heating and light. Even without solar panels, you can use skylights and windows to increase the light and warmth of your home, especially during the daytime.
You can also choose to install tinting on your windows to reduce cooling costs in the summer. There are organic window treatments available which can help you to reduce your energy costs and make yours a more sustainable house.
It doesn’t have to be difficult to make your home into a sustainable house and save a lot of money on energy costs (and maybe even doctor bills) while doing your part to protect the environment.