The environment is a big concern for a lot of people today. For that reason, we see more homeowners wanting “green” construction. Obviously, this is something the builder and architect need to know beforehand to plan every little detail, including how to face the home to maximize the use of natural resources.
You want to maximize the natural resources as much as possible, starting with the home’s orientation. You want to get maximum relief during the summer as well as take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth during the winter. There are a few key elements to consider in this:
- Design the most occupied rooms in the home toward the south. As we just mentioned, this will provide the most seasonal relief and benefit for occupants during the winter and summer.
- Consider the vegetation around the home. Trees provide shade, so the builder will need to consider age, growth rate, and species of any vegetation growing around the home.
- We all love those big picture windows, but you need to consider heat transfer during the winter months. Depending upon the location of the windows, you will want to install energy-efficient and glazed windows in the home.
- Winds tend to change with the season, and knowing the general prevailing wind direction, especially during the winter months, is essential in the home design. This can help you avoid snow buildup against windows or doors in the winter, as well as provide some natural relief in the summer.
There are two types of solar shading to consider: fixed solar shading and dynamic solar shading. By reducing heat gain, you can put less of a strain on your air conditioning system during the winter. This, in addition to other methods, can reduce or even eliminate your reliance on HVAC units, especially during the summer months.
If you are going to have a green home, you want to use recycled building materials such as asphalt shingles, concrete, drywall, glass, steel, and wood. Using recycled materials has the added benefit of reducing landfills.
Energy loss with windows is significantly higher than with walls, so you need to ensure you have the proper ratio in the design to keep energy costs down in the winter and summer. Where the home is built will play a significant role in how this ratio is determined.
These are but a few considerations made when doing green construction, which is why we recommend hiring a residential construction consultant for the job. Our team has the experience to make sure every item on the list is checked so you do not run into excessive costs during the construction as well as additional costs because something was missing during the planning stages. For more information, give us a call at 888-402-4180.