Solar Power Home Design Tips and Trends
Who would have guessed: protecting the environment is trendy? 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 design has 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 big and small 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.
1. Switch to Solar Power
Solar panels sit on your roof or lawn and capture energy from the sun`s light, which they then turn into electricity to power your home. After installing your new solar system, you`ll see your power bills plummet. Government grants and tax breaks are available in some areas for citizens who install solar panels, and some large building owners generate enough energy 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.
2. 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 en environmentally friendly material.
3. 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 and making local birds and bees happy, 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!
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.