START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Green Home Design on a Budget?

Green Home Design on a Budget?

Green design is getting a lot of ink these days, as it should; environmentally-conscious building has gone mainstream and that means more structures worldwide are built with ecological issues in mind. That includes commercial and industrial buildings, those belonging to institutions like the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and of course private homes and multifamily buildings. That’s great news for the environment and the building trades, but what about your wallet?

The thing that often stands out about green design beyond its obvious environmental benefits and frequent aesthetic appeal is the high price tag. Sometimes it feels like these buildings are unattainable for ordinary people when you sit down and price out a project, or when the writeup of an amazing building is polite enough to include information about costs. That’s a big problem, because being ecologically sustainable should be economically affordable so it will be accessible to everyone!

After all, while individuals can do a lot when it comes to reuse and recycling, making small changes in their own homes and lives, and trying to do their best when it comes to decisions like which cars to buy, they might want their shot at a green home too. And many of us can’t afford multimillion dollar homes, or even those in the mid to high hundreds of thousads, which leaves us feeling like the green revolution is zooming past us (in a zero emissions vehicle, of course).

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Projects around the world are starting to demonstrate that green design can be beautiful, cutting edge, and affordable, all at the same time. A fantastic example can be seen in Vancouver, Canada, where designer Lukas Armstrong built a Passivhaus triplex without breaking the bank. The Passivhaus or passive house design focuses on building homes that sustain themselves using passive means to result in a net energy demand of zero.

The great thing about passive homes? They don’t require a big layout of cash. Passive homes in fact rely on very simple design principles like aligning the home towards the south, sealing the home well to prevent air leakage, and laying it out in a way that will promote air circulation to keep internal temperatures stable. Passive solar measures are often a key part of the design scheme. You can use a variety of materials in a passive house, including recycled building materials, to keep costs down.

This particular triplex has solar thermal panels to help with heat, and an on-demand boiler to supply warm water. The whole design is aimed at maximum energy efficiency, but with an eye to economic efficiency as well, and the construction firm managed to keep costs in line with typical custom home building. Which can still be quite expensive, but is a step in the right direction, illustrating that it shouldn’t cost extra to build a passive home as long as the design firm is creative and focused.

More experience and practice will help firms like Armstrong’s build passive houses even more inexpensively, making them possibilities for home developments and projects intended for low-income housing. Everyone deserves a shot at environmentally-friendly design, not least because living in a passive house cuts energy costs radically and can help people conserve their funds. The fact that many designers are aware of the cost concerns and how they affect accessibility is a great sign: this is a movement interested in engaging everyone, not just those who can afford it.

Construction on a passive house requires incredible cooperation with a big team of construction professionals, from roofers all the way down. There are also region-specific concerns, like in the Midwest, where harsh, cold winters are an important consideration for design firms interested in building homes that meet passive standards; as Chicago electricians work on more passive house projects, for example, they’ll get the hang of special needs to consider, which can make them faster and more adept at their work.

The more passive homes we build, the easier the process will become, and the more cost-effective it will get. That’s good news for everybody, especially people without a lot of money to spend on their homes who still want to participate in the green building and design movement.

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

(Photo: mensatic/morguefile.com)

Read more: Crafts & Design, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Green Home Decor, Home, , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx

Networx.com empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.

68 comments

+ add your own
6:12AM PDT on May 18, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

7:37PM PST on Mar 1, 2014

i can hardly wait!!!!! :D

4:51AM PST on Dec 8, 2013

who ever is reading this testimony today should please celebrate with me and my family because it all started like a joke to some people and others said it was impossible. my name is ANDY SMITH, i live in London, United Kingdom i am happily married with three kids and a lovely wife something terrible happen to my family along the line, i lost my job and my wife packed out of my house because i was... unable to take care of her and my kids at that particular time. i manage all through seven years, no wife to support me to take care of the children and there come a faithful day that i will never forget in my life i met an old friend who i explain all my difficulties to, and he took me to a spell caster and and the name of the temple is called, priest grace, i was assure that everything will be fine and my wife will come back to me after the wonderful work of priest grace, my wife came back to me and today i am one of the richest man in my country. i advice you if you have any problem email him with this email: ogbonispelltemple@gmail.com and you will have the best result. take things for granted and it will be take from you. i wish you all the best for luck his email: ogbonispelltemple@gmail.com

6:47AM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

Thank you Chaya, for Sharing this!

3:04AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

Thanks.

11:33PM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

Thank you. :)

3:18PM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

There is no excuse for architects to not implement energy saving measures into each and every building.

5:23AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

Comfort for both the human and the environment

4:39AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

Love those green homes!

2:56AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

Thanks for the share.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

They are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO bad for you;never ever drink them

Birds are disappearing. The complex where I live has bird houses throughout the property. The bird…

When I'm calling you Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo Will you answer too? Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo, Oo-Oo-Oo-Oo…

no need to eat animals of any kind

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.