Having an energy efficient home today is no longer a pipe dream. More contractors than ever are licensed to build eco-friendly homes that use minimal energy and feature sustainable or renewable materials. Here are five tips to help you plan, design and build your dream home.
Tip number one is to hire an architect that specializes in green design. He or she is knowledgeable about your specific climate, the building codes and which materials are best for your home. A good example of this is an architect that suggests a swamp cooler for use in a desert climate and explains that is will not work well in a humid one. Write down all the things you would like to have in your new home; you may decide to eliminate closets, windows or other items to fit your budget or make building your home easier.
Tip number two is to hire a licensed green contractor. Some states have begun to provide special licenses to contractors that specialize in green building. These contractors must pass stringent requirements; their structures must pass inspections that certify them as green. The definition of green is a building that is highly energy efficient, utilizes sustainable or renewable building products and has a low impact on the environment. The building must demonstrate these properties from construction to the end of the building’s useful existence.
Tip number three is to find a financier that offers special rates for those who build green homes. You may need to supply the architect’s plans and proof that you have hired a green contractor. Different mortgage companies or banks may have different requirements. Since a greenhouse uses far less energy, you would be in a position to make higher payments and thus pay the loan back quicker.
Tip number four is to make sure you have all the necessary permits in place before construction takes place. Show the plans and proof that you hired a green contractor to the permit board. Communities are showing more acceptances of green designs and buildings today, especially since greenhouses do not look much different than those built with traditional methods.
Tip number five is to plan your new house’s power system in advance of construction. Solar, wind power and/or a standby generator are power producing methods that all work to reduce your utility bills. You can choose one or a combination of all of them. Your local utility company may also purchase excess power that is generated by your home’s system, thus helping your home to pay for itself over time.
Hayley Granton is freelance blogger writing on behalf of Alaskan Windows Ltd.