Nov 8, 2018What Is Sustainable Building & Why Is It Important?
(Triple pane windows)
Green building/construction, sustainable design/building, whatever you want to call it, it’s one of the hottest topics in the home and design world right now. But what does it really mean to build sustainably and how does it benefit homeowners and our environment?
In Canada alone, our buildings produce 17% of the country’s greenhouse gases and account for 40% of emissions from electricity generation. Sustainable buildings are designed to help reduce the overall impact on the environment and human health during and after construction.
This is accomplished by:
- Preserving and protecting the natural resources that surround the project site.
- Reducing trash, pollution, and degradation of the environment when the building in under construction.
- Efficient use of energy, water, and other resources
- Protecting the homeowner’s health.
- Building to a Passive House standard – Link to video
In a residential home, heating is the biggest culprit when it comes to energy consumption. According to National Resources Canada, it accounts for a whopping 61.3% as compared to water heating (18.7%), appliances (13.6%), and lighting (4.4%). With stats like these, it’s no wonder why more insulation, better windows, less thermal bridging & air tight homes make such an impact.
Want to do your part and live more sustainably? Here are some things to consider when building/renovating your new home:
- Incorporate better performing insulation in walls, ceiling and under floors, which will help keep the heat in and save on energy costs.
- Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) system, which will provide controlled ventilation and continuous fresh air into the home while capturing heat from stale exhaust air - helping to improve the indoor environment
- Install higher quality windows to reduce cool and drafty areas in your home.
- Reduce air leakage with quality windows and a continuous air barrier - keeping warm air inside and cold air outside, and vice versa.
- Utilize the sun - place your windows to take advantage of the sun’s position throughout the day and seasons. This will help to warm the house in the winter. Additionally, install solar water heating to generate heat for such things as baths, showers, radiant floor heating, and more.
- Install appliances with high energy efficiency ratings and use energy efficient LED lighting throughout the home.
- Use non-toxic building materials with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
- Minimize waste and recycle where possible, especially when demolishing and building.
- Use recycled materials such as Trex decking for outside patios, which is made of 95% recycled plastic and wood fibres.
- Use local materials to reduce transportation costs and partner with suppliers who also operate sustainably.
- Install water tanks to collect rainwater for use in bathrooms and gardens to improve water use efficiency.
- Install a drain-water heat exchanger which can recover heat from the hot water used in showers, bathtubs, sinks, dishwashers, and clothes washers.
Whether you are building or renovating, think green. Incorporating sustainable elements into your home is easier than you think and in the long run, can help you save money and live a healthier life.
If having a more sustainable home is important to you, take note that it all comes down to a higher quality design and construction. And a top-quality builder with experience in this area can make all of the difference. Learn more about our sustainability initiatives here. Link to our sustainability page
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