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Sustainable Home Design Tips

bamboo-floors

Protecting the environment is trendy?! Yes, it is. Over the past couple of decades, green design has proven itself to be not only financially viable but often more cost effective for building owners in the long run. Sustainable designs have also evolved aesthetically, so you no longer have to sacrifice style for function.

Whether you`re building a new home or just trying to make your condo more ecologically friendly, there are many steps you can take to help save the environment and save yourself money by shrinking your utility bills. Here are some fresh, green living ideas to get you started.

Switch to Solar Power

Solar panels are typically placed on your roof or lawn to capture light from the sun to transfer into electricity to power your home. After installing your new solar system, you should start seeing your utility bills plummet. Government grants and tax breaks are available in some areas for citizens who install solar panels. Larger buildings usually generate enough energy which allows the owners to make a profit selling it back to their utility companies. Location and placement can greatly affect the efficiency of solar panels, so consulting a professional is necessary to ensure your system is well designed and will produce the most energy possible.

Bamboo Floors

Everyone loves wooden floors, and bamboo is becoming a popular green design alternative. Unlike most trees, bamboo grows very quickly and is easy to harvest, so an investment in bamboo doesn`t contribute to deforestation. Bamboo is affordable, beautiful, and environmentally friendly material.

Green Roofs

Rooftop gardens have been trendy for a while, but green roofs are blooming in popularity. Green roofs are completely covered in soil populated by whatever flora you can grow. In addition to instantly winning you the lawn of the month award, green roofs also save you money by reducing the need for cooling as your plants are taking the brunt of the sun`s heat. They also filter toxins from the air, making the neighborhood’s air fresher!

Energy Star Windows

Government-approved Energy Star products are designed to meet high standards for ensuring energy efficiency. Windows bearing the Energy Star seal of approval are better at retaining heating than regular windows, so an investment in them can lower your energy bills and substantially raise the value of your property.

Creative Water Conservation

Speaking of Energy Star products, many dishwashers and washing machines also bear this stamp of government approval and can cut water bills drastically. If you`re really excited water conservation, you can invest in a cistern or rain barrels to irrigate your garden with the collected rainwater.

A Cool New Roof

Roofing material plays a huge role in a building`s energy efficiency. Some materials do a better job than others at reflecting the sun`s rays and cooling off houses quickly, which means less need for air conditioning. Since solar panels catch the sunlight that would otherwise hit your roof, they can also act as a natural A/C for your home. This is especially helpful for roofing materials like asphalt shingles that would otherwise become extremely hot on sunny days.

Leave the Hard Work to Professionals

When installing energy-saving devices or taking on a green construction project, make sure to hire a professional who specializes in sustainable design. Someone who is passionate about green living will know about the newest innovations on the market and can help you pick out the best options to fit your home. The whole point of sustainable living is making investments that last a long time, so make green design decisions that are perfect for you.