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10 Easy-to-Make Home Designs That Promote Sustainability

By Guest Contributor: Jona Jone

 

In a world where the environment becomes the capitalist of all human trade, a century-old debate continues to heat up – sustainability. Most of the resources we use at home are finite, and if we keep on using them; the future generations will have nothing left. That is why it is necessary for us to tap the other resources that nature provides in infinite amounts. Below are the 10 easy designs that you can use to gear your home toward sustainability. You do not just save energy but conserve energy in style.

1. Sustainable Landscaping

The quest for sustainability starts in our very home landscape. The easiest approach would be creating a compost pit to nourish our soil. Once the soil becomes healthy, we can start making vegetable patches where we can plant, grow, and harvest, fruits and vegetables of our own. Adding more trees will keep your home cool during the summer and will add more aesthetic value to our house is also a great plus.

2. Use Reclaimed Bricks

Bricks don’t just shrivel up and vanish. Most of them can last for decades and even centuries. So why use new ones if we can just gather old bricks from old homes and from already-demolished ones? Yes, there are old bricks gathered around town, and we can always have our local contractor piece the reclaimed bricks together to form house walls and apply artistic finish on its ancient surface.

3. Use Reclaimed Lumber

Trees that were uprooted and destroyed by storms and other natural disasters can still be treated and processed into a usable wood that can be applied to various home improvement projects. Wood from old chairs and other fixtures can also be reclaimed and refinished for newer purposes. That way, we can prevent the need for newer lumber, which also decreases our contributions in cutting trees down.

4. Employ Passive Design Approach to Cool or Warm Homes

Using a passive design approach in houses can significantly decrease the energy consumption for heating. It uses passive solar air to warm the entire house. According to various studies, buildings that use such design approach can mitigate their own energy consumption for a whopping 90 percent.

5. Build a Solar Water Heater

Building a solar-powered water heater of our own is one of the best things that anyone can do for sustainable living. It helps cut down energy costs, as it only relies on passive solar heat to keep water hot and well-insulated.

6. Use Low Flush Toilets

Unlike their ancient counterparts, the modern low flush toilets can save approximately four and a half gallons of water. This effectively saves a lot of money when it comes to water bills, and as far as I am concerned, saving money will always be something that I should do, on any circumstances!

7. Build a Rainwater Harvester

Rainwater can be used for bathing, cooking, and drinking. That is why it is important to save water by gathering rainwater for future use. Not only that it’s safe, it’s also free! Rainwater is also free from the contaminants that ground and surface water are always exposed to, and according to the Texas Water Development Board, rainwater can even exceed ground and surface water in terms of safety and quality.

8. Install Faucet Aerators

Faucet aerators add air to your faucet, thereby breaking the flow of water and turning it into droplets. This ingenious way of dispersing water allows to cover more surface area, which saves a considerable amount of water in any home. If you don’t believe me, even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contends that installing faucet aerators is one of the best ways you can do to help conserve water.

9. Use a Higher Ceiling and awnings to improve ventilation

Hot air stays up. That is why it is necessary to keep our ceiling high so they can stay there during hot days. A window installed in the higher ceiling area will allow hot air to escape.  Installing an awning can be beneficial  too for giving protection both for rain and too much sunlight.  Such design will enable the free flow of air, which will decrease the need for relying in air conditioners. Ergo, lesser electric bills!

10. Use Greywater Storage Tanks

Greywater is what remains after potable water has been used for washing purposes. Though generally dirty, it can still be used to flush toilets and nourish the topsoil. Relying on greywater can also help reduce the need to extract more freshwater, which ultimately saves clean drinking water.

In this day and age, it is necessary for us to be aware of the things we could do to help make a difference. Remember, if everyone does their part, our collective efforts will accumulate to become a world-changing one.

House image via Shutterstock.

Jona Jone is a Washington Times Communities writer, strongly aiming to paint the world back in blue and green.

by Editor

Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 09:05
  • Adekanye Sola
    Mar 23rd, 2014 at 17:24 | #1

    The write up is super but what do you say about other building materials like sand, granite etc

  • Cesar Perera
    Mar 24th, 2014 at 10:10 | #2

    green thinking

  • Mar 24th, 2014 at 13:58 | #3

    Thanks Jona, for making a sometimes ‘confusing’ issue, relavant and clear to the masses. One thing we can all do is to solicit the producers of home improvement TV to stop disregarding the usefullness of materials and assemblies their “On-Air Stars” toss into the dumpster with apparent great joy.

    Regards,

    Mike Carson

  • Mar 24th, 2014 at 17:03 | #4

    An improvement over Solar Thermal collector pre-heat systems that provide 1/2 the savings, are the Solar Heat Pumps that provide 100% of the solar heating or cooling and hot water, and work day and night. http://www.solar-hot-water.ca

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