Building Carbon Neutral Homes
You can build carbon neutral homes and other buildings by designing the structure to use less energy or produce renewable energy or both. Other green practices can be specified in your tenders douments and used to further reduce emissions. Even the chosen landscaping design can make a difference. Here are some of the things you could do.
You could design a smaller home. Although it is not common to think small, some people are very happy living in smaller houses. Their energy bills are lower and having less stuff actually seems to de-stress their lives.
Smaller spaces use less fuel for heating, cooling and lights. Because less fuel is used, CO2 emissions are lower.
You could position the house on the lot to take advantage of the sun. The practice is sometimes referred to as passive solar. In temperate climates, the house would face south.
Floor to ceiling windows could be placed on the south side of the house to allow the sun’s rays to help warm the rooms during the winter. The north side of the house would have few if any windows.
During the summer when the sun is high in the sky, the sun would not shine directly through the windows. So, cooling bills should be lower, too.
The carbon dioxide emissions of lawnmowers in the suburbs might not be a major factor in greenhouse gas production. But it is something that could easily be addressed. Certain ground cover alternatives reduce the need for mowing and watering, another important factor in green construction.
Planting trees and shrubs helps by reducing the area to be mowed. The plants also absorb CO2 from the air and produce oxygen.
Trees can be placed to help shade the home and keep it cool during summer months. Varieties that lose their leaves in the fall allow the sun’s rays to reach the home during the colder months of the year.
Carbon dioxide emissions could also be reduced if more people would make an effort to produce their own energy. Solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal heat are being used in individual homes around the world.
The materials used for construction make a difference, too. When a tree is cut for wood, years of absorbed CO2 is released into the atmosphere. CO2 and other greenhouse gases are created during cement production. Choosing to build with recycled materials whenever possible is the greenest choice.
If you really want to live as close as possible to a carbon neutral life, once your new home is complete, you will remember to turn off the lights, set your thermostat down during the winter, set it up during the summer and always recycle.