As home owners we want to do the best thing for our space, while saving a little money, and helping the environment as a bonus. All of this sounds great and is realistic and achievable, with the right knowledge. Creating a home with sustainability in mind takes some research and we are here to help! This blog post will outline the do’s and donts of sustainable design for home owners.
As you start your search for better products to improve your home, you will start to notice many buzzwords floating around about “sustainable design.” Some of those words and phrases include: pure and natural, eco- friendly, recycled content, energy efficient, and zero waste. Maybe, they even have a little leaf symbol on the package. Sound familiar? This is a phenomenon called green-washing: a vague claim that implies a product is good for the environment without providing specific details. Always remember, if a product of practice of any kind is truly sustainable it benefits people, the planet, and is profitable.
Recently there has been a shift in American culture to strive for a better planet. Unfortunately, some corporations want to capitalize on this, while others have a pure mission and are trying to do the right thing. Finally, we’re left with the companies that have been doing the right thing all along but are overlooked because making good choices is not a publicity stunt, it’s just how they operate.
As a consumer, this is a tricky mess of catchy advertising and false claims to sort through. But that’s why you have professionals like Ida York Design Group. We will point you in the right direction of strategies that can potentially save you money and help keep our earth a little greener, one home at a time.
In its purest form energy efficiency is about consuming less energy to perform the same tasks. You know what this means? Less money to the utility company and more in your pocket! Some of the strategies are quick to implement, requiring a trip to your local hardware store and a screwdriver. Other strategies are meant to take place while remodeling your home or may require a professional to install them.
Change Your Light Bulbs
Sounds crazy, right? But this quick fix has the potential to add up over time. While LED bulbs have become more popular and easy to access, their benefits are not as well known. LED stands for light emitting diode. They require less wattage to power than more traditional bulbs such as incandescent while producing the same amount of light.
Remember how earlier I mentioned some of our sustainable solutions would require a professional? This is one of them. Solar panels can be a useful long-term investment, no matter where you live. In order to capitalize on them, first, they need to be installed correctly. Ensuring they are at the correct angle, correctly secured to your roof, hooked up to your electrical system, and facing the correct direction on your roof are all incredibly important.
One common myth about solar panels is they don’t work when the sun isn’t out. Any kind of light can be harvested, even on a cloudy Oregon day. The trick to maximizing your harvesting potential is choosing the solar panel location and angle based on the location of your house. Sun Calc is a website that shows the trajectory of the sun during any time of year over any given location. This is a useful tool and a fun learning experience as well!
This may sound like a complicated way to have a more sustainable home, but actually, this is also a simple fix. Conserving water doesn’t have to an inconvenience. What you can do instead of taking shorter showers is install low flow faucets and toilets throughout your home in order to save water. What this means is the normal amount of water used to perform a task, like washing your hands, will be reduced. Your hands will still be just as clean, but you saved some water and some money!
This is another strategy that normally requires a professional. When remodeling a space there are literally thousands of options for materials. Finding those materials with recycled content is a great way to save scraps from going into our landfill. Maybe it’s a countertop made from recycled glass that you can find at simple floors, or use reclaimed wood as an accent wall.