In New Homes, Uncategorized

“Go green, go green” they all said.  A ‘green’ building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Green buildings preserve precious natural resources and improve our quality of life.  Generally, it will be low maintenance and lower operational costs through the use of thermal mass.

When it comes to our interiors, the principles are the same as the exterior – save energy, save maintenance costs and save the earth. Your family, health and wallet will reward you.

In a recent survey, 43% of responders believed that buying local is sustainable shopping, using less fuel to buy thus lessening the impact on the environment.

INSIDE YOUR HOME

Interior designers all agree it is time for change also. Whether it be sourcing upcycled furniture or buying long-lasting furniture, these small changes will ensure that less is wasted when it comes to interiors. Here’s my top three:

eco friendly interiors

  1. Be energy-efficient– Maximising energy efficiency and minimising wastage should be at the heart of all interior design. This can involve installing carpets, curtains and energy-efficient lighting.
  2. Keep longevity in mind– Consumers are moving away from the ‘throwaway’ culture that we’ve become accustomed to, and the same goes for interior design. Opt for timeless, well-made pieces that will last a long time, so that these can be recycled for future generations.
  3. Consider the true costs of products – Think of costs aside from monetary value when you purchase interior design products. For example, manufacturing synthetic paints has significant environmental costs due to their toxicity. Thinking about each factor in detail can help you to make more environmentally-sound choices.

OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

And when it comes to choosing building materials for your home, your impact on the environment and even the quality of the indoor air you breathe all comes into consideration. Choosing to go green with eco-friendly building materials will not only have a positive impact on the inhabitants of your home but also on your neighbourhood. Traditional building materials emit toxins whereas an environmentally friendly building material will emit little or no toxins known as Volatile Organic Compounds and have fewer harmful chemical pollutants, therefore being kinder on the earth.

When you choose eco-friendly building materials, it allows you to give back to the earth rather than just taking from it.

Using natural, sustainably farmed timbers is a great way to encapsulate the carbon dioxide that is naturally released from the wood. In turn, this reduces the home’s carbon footprint and adds value to your home. rammed earth home

What are the latest eco-friendly building materials to consider?

  1. Rammed earth – made from gravel, soil and cement. Not only can it look beautiful, but it is also fireproof (a very real consideration in Australia), a great insulator of warmth and noise plus the termites don’t eat it. Rammed earth perfectly stores heat in the thermal-mass walls.
  2. Timber – the perfect eco-friendly material especially if sustainably grown. Aim to use recycled timber where possible to add character and being kinder to the earth. When timber is felled, these gases are naturally encapsulated in the timber and locked in through the building and sealing process, meaning the timber no longer emits carbon dioxide into your home.
  3. Natural stone – the perfect fire-proof building material. It is also sound absorbent and strong enough to outlast most other materials. Beware of imitations.
  4. Green walls and/or roof – add another layer of natural and soften the hard lines of a building with a layer of greenery as an external wall. If creating a rooftop garden, you will need an engineer to complete the roofing guidelines but will create a unique and natural look.
  5. Strawbale – a completely natural, plentiful, and low-cost building material that can look beautiful when rendered. The render gives off a soft and organic-looking finish and if totally sealed, will make your home fireproof.
  6. Mudbrick – another totally natural product made from earth, water and straw. It is a natural, inexpensive, fire-resistant building material. Generally chosen by owner-builders as a DIY project. Once completed, it only needs sealing from moisture. straw bale home
  7. Insulated glass – selecting double or triple-glazed windows allows you to have large-scale glass openings that capture the views and light without compromising on the comfortable indoor temperature. Works exceptionally well in cold climates.
  8. Solar power – why pay for electricity when you can source it naturally from the sun?
  9. Water tanks – another easily resolved issue for keeping running costs down, harvesting the water from the roof and storing for house usage and recycling grey water for gardens or toilets (subject to council approval).
  10. Eco-friendly paints – there is a great range of volatile-free compounds, solvent-free organic paints and protective coatings now available. These eliminate the harmful chemicals, toxins or additives to emit gasses into your home. Since we spend so much time indoors, it’s incredibly important to ensure the air quality is kept to a high level. rammed earth house

With a little pre-planning before you build or renovate, it is possible to save money, save energy and save the earth by choosing some of these eco-friendly ideas.

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