Green Building Techniques

Considering that one of the largest purchases that most Americans make is a new home, it should come as no surprise that they too are wanting to find ways to buy an eco friendly home. With energy prices on the rise, would-be home owners are looking for ways to build a home with improved comfort, efficiency and lessened environmental impact. No longer are builders simply adding high efficiency appliances and calling it a done deal.

Integrating entire "systems" into a home's planning is key to really make an impact. All the systems need to work together as one whole unit, not a bunch of independent entities pulling in their own direction. Many national green building associations are beginning to publish guidelines for builders as they endeavor to improve residential construction.

As simple as it may sound, paying closer attention to ways to provide natural heating and cooling can aid a home's overall performance, as it lowers operating costs and lessens the eco-impact. Not all green building techniques have to be complicated or complex, using common sense can make a huge difference in developing sound policy. Some simple advice when building a home to be energy efficient:

  • Try to minimize the number of windows exposed to the direct sunlight that comes from the rising sun (in the east) and the setting sun (in the west). If this can't be avoided, shade the windows with trees.
  • Place overhangs on windows that face the south, which will minimize sun from the southern sky during summer months. If sized properly, these overhangs will still allow the sun's warmth to enter the home in the winter.
  • Make sure to install windows that can be opened, which will allow for ventilation during certain times of the year. Place windows such that the ventilation will be throughout an entire room, not just create a "jet stream" of air in a straight line.
  • Utilize attic fans (which work much better than the 1950's version that most people think of) during the evening to help pull out the day's excess heat.