From: Ewa Gromadzka
Published January 18, 2016 11:24 AM

How to make your new house a sustainable one

People might falsely believe that when they are building a house incorporating any sustainable solutions require additional costs and effort. It is actually the opposite. Some of the sustainable solutions require very little in any financing with comparison to the costs that need to be incurred anyways in a newly constructed building. Moreover, while an initial cost might be a bit higher as for purchasing, for example a sustainable heating system, there is a fast return on investment as utility bills are much lowers with sustainable heating than a standard one. It is possible to save around 30% on the use of energy and water in a sustainable house. That is a case with any other sustainable solution, when it pays off to invest in environment friendly solution in every case.
Below there is list of sustainable solutions that can be applied in every house.

  1. Heat recovery system for the ventilation, heating and cooling.
  2. The use of geothermal heat pump for heating the house, allows for great savings on heating costs.
  3. It is common to use only floor heating as a heating option in energy efficient houses (no radiators). 
  4. Use of low energy doors and windows (recommended triple glazed windows).
  5. Good insulation of the house (both walls, slabs and the roof!), exceed standard requirements, gives great savings in the long run on heating and cooling costs.
  6. Installation of kitchen hood with carcoal filter which does not keep the heat inside but retains it and reuses it in the house. 
  7. Big openings – big windows but with shutters, allow for maximum light to get into the house but shutters are necessary protection against direct sunlight, and protect the interior from excessive heat. Glass roof or big roof windows that allow for a lot of light to come inside. 
  8. The right positioning of the house, entertaining areas and rooms that are going to be used most – in the south. 
  9. Use of natural and recycled materials for building the house – wood strongly recommended, especially from local areas where the need for long transportation is avoided. If concrete is to be used – find out about recycled concrete, possibly lower prices! 
  10. Light roof and façade colors that allow not to overheat the exterior surfaces in summer, thus less energy is required to coll the house. 
  11. Light control devices that are switching the lights off automatically in unoccupied spaces. 
  12. LED lighting fixtures, that use very little energy and last forever. 
  13. Electrical appliances (washing machine,dishwasher, fridge and so on) energy efficient. 
  14. Use plants that do not require much watering and adapt easily. 
  15. Limit areas with asphalt driveways and concrete pavements to a minimum, allowing for as much greenery as possible. 

In order to incorporate those solutions effectively, when building a house, it is recommanded to contact a consultant specializing in sustainability. Another option is to signal to the architect assigned to the project, a wish to have a sustainable house. It is important to do it in a pre-construction phase, where the design is developed. 

It is easy and cost effective to construct a sustainable house. While the natural resources are being save from an excessive exploitation, many dollars for utility bills are saved from our pockets . So do not hesitate. Be a part of the change.


Sustainable house image via Shutterstock.

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