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6 Simple Ways Builders Can ‘Go Green’

Jason Hook

Head of Sales and Marketing

Oct 26, 2016 6:37:00 AM

As environmental concerns increase, more pressure will be placed on the building industry to find environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional construction methods and materials.

Below we explore this issue and discuss 6 simple ways that builders can ‘go green’.

 

1. Make the Case for Green Options with Clients

According to a study by the National Housing Market Index in the US, only 14% of homebuyers will choose a green option out of pure concern for the environment. This means that they’ve got to be educated on the issue in ways that’ll get through to them. 

For example, explain that green materials are usually of a higher quality and more durable. And the fact that they make the house much cheaper to run, more comfortably to live in, as well as offering better air quality. If they have children, basic arguments about costs and health are especially effective. 

It’s also a good idea to make this case slowly. A good way to do this is to make suggestions about how specific design requirements can save lots of money over time. For example, discuss upgrading from double to triple pane windows as a method for saving on heating costs.

 

2. Think Big, Build Small

Smaller homes are more eco-friendly and much cheaper to run. Encourage clients to think about their use of space. Big homes should not be considered a status symbol. Good design can help build a more effective home with space used more wisely.

Not only does a small house cost less to run, it’s easier to clean and much better for relationships. Families which spend more time closer together are typically more cohesive. Experts talk about this phenomenon in the terms of “smaller house, bigger life.”

 

3. Insulate

Insulation is a very simple way to reduce the environmental footprint of a building. Considering that heating and cooling account for 50% of a home’s energy consumption, insulation can play a big role.

It works by trapping heat and making better use of it by regulating the temperature throughout the building. Insulation can be done in walls, roofing, doors and windows – really anywhere with airflow. It’s not particularly expensive and will save lots in energy bills over time.

 

4. Use Sustainable Materials

Many traditional building materials are bad for the environment in both the manufacturing and construction processes. However, there are now a huge range of affordable sustainable building materials available. And many of them offer greater strength and durability. One example is making steel frames from recycled copper slag. 

Further, some organisations, such as the  Green Building Council of Australia, supported by the Australian Government, will reward your efforts. They offer a ‘green rating’ system to your building based on its materials and environmental footprint. And this is likely to increase the value of the building.

 

5. Install Solar Panels 

Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of power based on capturing energy from the sun. It is an especially effective source in Australia, where the sun is much more powerful than other parts of the world. Put the panels in the location that’ll get the most sun to take full advantage.

While the price may seem expensive at first, it’s definitely worth it. The cost of powering a home becomes greatly reduced and many people even report having enough energy stored to be effectively “off grid.” And if the sun isn’t shining for long periods of time, it’s no hassle for the system to switch back to the old method until the sun comes back. 

 

6. Water Saving Fixtures

Not only is it expensive, excess water consumption can lead to significant social and health problems, especially in areas affected by drought. Luckily, however, it’s something that households can easily reduce with a just few simple fixtures. 

For example, installing effective low flow faucets on toilets and showerheads can reduce wasted water, but maintain the pressure which people love. It’s also a good idea to encourage clients to purchase eco-friendly whitegoods such as washing machines and dishwashers with high clean energy ratings. This will keep running costs down and ensure that there’s minimal waste.

When it comes to eco-friendly construction, the builder’s role is an important one. For more information on how you can ‘go green’, get your copy of our ‘12 Tips for Building Eco-Friendly Property’ below:

12 tips to building eco-friendly

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