With the advent of Earth Day on April 22 paired with the recent arrival of Spring, thoughts of many are likely turned to the environment and the beauty it represents. While some may elect to plant trees or take part in local litter pickup events to celebrate Earth Day, there are ways to observe the lessons this environmentally –focused holiday teaches us 365 days a year. As an eco-friendly builder, Highlight Homes encourages our clients to incorporate Earth-friendly elements into the design and construction of their custom home. If you are considering building a custom – or semi-custom – home, here are a few eco-centric practices and elements you might want to integrate…
- Thorough planning is crucial and occurs long before the home is actually built. At Highlight Homes, we continuously review the latest construction products and green building methods in order to ensure a home’s health, comfort and value, as well as to reduce the overall operating cost.
- Site selection and stewardship are key to assuring your builder doesn’t negatively impact the environment in which your custom home will be based. Through thoughtful design and responsible construction strategies, your builder can minimize the impact on the site because less time is spent on-site on building activities and staging.
- Ask that your builder use as many local suppliers as possible for a “big picture” approach to environmental stewardship. That way, you are cutting down on shipping of materials and supporting local commerce at the same time.
- Consider incorporating rooftop solar panels to convert some of your family’s energy usage to solar power. Bear in mind that the pitch of the roof often has a lot to do with the efficiency of solar panels (the flatter the roof, the better), so this option may not work for every custom or semi-custom home design.
- Request the placement of energy efficient windows and door throughout your home. Energy efficiency is often achieved through the use of the appropriate building science, technology and equipment – leading to lower operating costs for the homeowner. A Highlight Home is well-sealed and insulated – our carefully planned finishes and quality construction practices will aid in enhancing the indoor environmental quality – safeguarding the health of the family who will live there.
- Have programmable thermostats placed on each level of the home. You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep, at the office or away on vacation. By setting it to 68° during the winter months while you are at home and awake, then scaling it back 10-15° for when you’re away or asleep – you can save as much as 15% off your heating bill – according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The same holds true during the summer. Set your thermostat for 78° while at home, then bump it up while you’re away.
- Encourage the use of paints, carpets and building materials that emit low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
- Request water efficient plumbing fixtures throughout the home, as well as an energy efficient water heater. In addition to saving you money on your water bill, water efficiency aids in water conservation – leading to reduced stress on the local infrastructure, reduced energy usage and drought avoidance.
- Landscape the area surrounding your home with native plants and use of water conservation methods. Consider investing in a water reclamation barrel to water your plants.
- When all is said and done, request the placement of energy efficient appliances in your kitchen.
To learn more about Highlight Homes, we encourage you to visit www.highlighthomesga.com. If you live in the Metro Atlanta area and would like to see our green construction practices in action on a semi-custom or custom home of your own, call Highlight Homes today at 678-873-9234.