Our custom home builders explain what goes into eco-friendly houses
As a custom home builder, we receive a lot of questions about eco-friendly houses.
And with environmental awareness on the rise, it’s no wonder!
Our team get excited everytime we hear somebody who’s searching for custom home builders mention environmentally-friendly construction. Not only is it a good trend, but it’s also a topic that we’re following very closely, and which we’re integrating in many of our projects.
However, despite eco-friendly being on everyone’s lips, not that many people understand what goes into eco-friendly houses from a construction standpoint!
We want to make sure our customers know exactly what it is that goes into building an eco-friendly house.
Read on as our Bayside builders explain eco-friendly homes, and why you need a custom builder.
What goes into an eco-friendly home?
Building an eco-friendly house isn’t as simple as installing water-saving showerheads, or replacing an old window rattling air conditioning unit with a sleek split system.
For a truly eco-friendly house, environmental friendliness needs to be built in from the very beginning – in many cases, baked into the structure itself.
While volume builders might offer eco-friendly options here or there, very few can work environmental friendliness into your house the same way a custom builder can.
Many environmentally friendly features need to be designed into the house from the very beginning by your architect. In many cases, that means choosing custom home builders for your project.
Recycled and sustainable materials
Recycled materials are an excellent way you can make your home more environmentally friendly. What’s more, they can be easily substituted into your building project without making dramatic changes to your plan.
Many associate recycled building materials with “cheap and nasty”. While in many cases they may be the former, they are emphatically not the latter!
Recycled concrete is both extremely versatile, and extremely easy to get your hands on.
It is also very cheap to use, especially in comparison to new concrete. Providing you source your recycled concrete from reputable sellers, you won’t have to compromise on integrity either.
Recycled steel and timber
Steel is another material that’s easy to substitute for recycled product. Reclaimed timber is also a very popular choice.
Both of these materials are just as strong as their brand-new counterparts, and can be used throughout your project. In fact, many timber and steel products that our Bayside builders choose also offer recycled products as an option.
That’s the catch, however: it needs to be sourced from an official supplier, who can certify that it’s up to the job of being used in your construction.
If you are picking up wood from a friend or acquaintance who is knocking down a building, or who just chopped down that old tree in their backyard, you might have more issues!
How your choice of materials helps keep you comfortable
Recycling isn’t the only way your choice of materials influences your environmental friendliness.
As any homeowner knows, heating and cooling account for a significant amount of our energy consumption (and therefore, our environmental impact).
By using more effective insulation and choosing building materials that better reflect outdoor heat and maintain indoor temperatures, you reduce your reliance on air conditioning and heating.
In addition to materials, thermally efficient design also includes designing your house in a way that helps you stay comfortable without using power.
Not just materials: our custom home builder explains sustainable architecture
Like we mentioned above, designing an eco-friendly home goes beyond your choice of materials. In many cases, it starts with your architects.
“Sustainable architecture” is what we in the business call it.
What sort of things are we talking about?
With the right architectural features, you can dramatically reduce your reliance on air conditioning.
This is thanks to passive cooling, which uses natural techniques and clever design to remove heat or stop it from entering your home without using electricity.
One example of this are what are known as “shotgun” houses.
Originally popular in the Southern United States following the Civil War, the idea is that when you open both the front and back doors during summer, you allow a cool breeze to easily circulate through every room of the house.
While you won’t find many Bayside builders offering this particular design, these houses are the perfect example of how architecture helped to regulate temperature before technology.
Passive heating and thermal mass
Thermal mass refers to the ability of a material to absorb and store heat. Brick, stone, and tile are examples of materials with high thermal mass.
These materials absorb heat during the day and release it during the night.
During summer, they can help bring down internal temperatures, while during the winter they can help you stay warm once the sun goes down.
Your builder may propose strategically using substances with high thermal mass in feature walls, pillars and internal walls to maximise their impact on indoor temperature.
When correctly applied to your home, they can help regulate temperature without using any power whatsoever.
Of course, when improperly applied, they can make your home incredibly uncomfortable – what’s more, it may not be appropriate for every home.
This is why you should talk to a custom home builder to ensure that thermal mass is properly harnessed and integrated with other passive design techniques.
Is your house designed with renewables in mind?
While it’s entirely possible to add sources of renewable power like solar panels or a rainwater tank to an existing property, for maximum efficiency, your house needs to be designed with renewables in mind.
Let’s look at solar as an example.
You may not have known, but solar panels are at their most effective when the sunlight hits them at a specific angle – in Melbourne, that’s around 37.8 degrees.
While your solar installer can make up the difference using mounting brackets, if environmental friendliness is on your mind, you can ask your custom home builders about designing your house with that pitch in mind.
The cost of an eco-friendly home
The one major question we hear as a custom home builder is whether or not eco-friendly homes are more expensive.
Luckily for you, our experience tells us that in many cases, making your house more green doesn’t have to inflate the cost of your Bayside construction project.
Let’s start with recycled materials.
In the vast majority of cases, recycled materials are more affordable than brand-new – in some cases, considerably so!
And when you build with Blint Design + Construction, adding passive cooling and other sustainable architecture features into your home can be done with minimal changes to your budget.
That’s because as custom home builders, all of our homes are clean-sheet designs. This allows us to easily incorporate these features into our designs early on with minimal drama.
Choose Blint’s custom home builders for an eco-friendly home
Building a custom house? Build it with Blint – you won’t regret it!
At Blint Design + Construction, our mission is to give you the home of your dreams.
To achieve that, we work with you from the very beginning to create bespoke house designs that incorporate all the features you want in your ideal home. Your vision comes first, no matter what.
And that includes eco-friendly construction, features, and techniques!