Before you start your next project, make sure that you are using environmentally friendly products and materials. Building green is more than using just recycled materials. It is incorporating a total plan and design of a building that will emphasize sustainability, reducing environmental impact, whole-house efficiency, and affordability.

Consider Design Elements

Despite the old adage that bigger is always better, to be environmentally friendly this is not so. Incorporate small space design and make use of all areas in a home. Design it to be energy efficient and to use renewable energy. Minimize waste by building smaller and more practical. Utilize xeriscaping, landscaping for water conservation. Make it easy for occupants to recycle waste and water conservation. Finally design for longevity and durability.

Site Issues

If you can, renovate older buildings when you can. Often this is less expensive than tearing down and doing a new build. This minimizes material usage and is the most sustainable construction. Design a community that encourage physical activity such as walking and minimizes the dependence on automobiles or public transportation. Utilize the lay of the land and build around existing shade trees and situate the building or work the renovations around utilizing natural light and heat sources. Incorporate native vegetation into the landscaping.

Building Materials

Use durable, low-maintenance and affordable materials. Purchase your goods and services from local merchants whenever possible. Try to purchase building materials and supplies that are made from recycled materials and seek responsible wood suppliers.

Home Appliances and Equipment

Whether you are renovating or building new, install ENERGY STAR qualified products. They will use less energy and save on your energy bill. Install high efficiency heating and cooling systems, high efficiency lights and appliances, water efficient faucets, shower heads, and toilets.

Job Site Practices

Minimize waste by centralizing each job function such as cutting of wood. Create bins for waste by product so it can be taken for proper disposal or future use. Incorporate efficient transportation by making lists of what’s needed and make only one trip per day for supplies if needed. And finally educate your workers about environmentally friendly practices to minimize the effect the project has on the immediate and surrounding areas.