Designing and building an eco-friendly home requires a lot of choices and attention to detail, as well as choices about larger elements such as the overall shape of your home. What materials you use, where you source them from, and how they’re put together can all affect how eco-friendly your home is.
One element of eco-friendliness is energy efficiency. Your home’s design can have a lot to do with how much energy is necessary to keep your living area within the correct temperature range. A well-insulated home, for instance, can be much more efficient to heat and cool than a poorly insulated one. However, visible elements of your home can also play a part.
Discover a few attractive features to include in your design that could also make your home more energy-efficient.
1. Stone Walls
A stone wall can be a gorgeous focal point inside your home. When you design your home with one or more carefully positioned interior stone walls, the stone can catch and hold heat from the sun throughout the day and then release it at night.
With this feature in place, you can spend less energy heating your home on cold nights. And since the stone is on an interior wall, simply close your curtains in hot weather if you don’t want to use the stone to store the sun’s heat.
2. Daylighting Features
Daylighting is another way you can reduce your home’s energy usage. Daylighting reduces the need for artificial light by using windows or skylights to allow light in. To avoid letting in too much heat with the light, concentrate your windows on the north and south sides of your home and avoid too many east- and west-oriented windows.
Glass blocks can let in the light and also add visual interest to walls. For instance, a wall separating the kitchen from the family room could be made of glass blocks to help light spread through the house, while still delineating different living areas. And since glass blocks are thicker than windows, they can provide better insulation than windows when in exterior walls.
3. Basement Living Area
A finished basement can provide a beautiful living area, but basements are energy-efficient as well. An underground living space doesn’t vary in temperature with the outdoor air temperature very much, since it’s insulated by the earth around it.
So the more underground living space you include in your home, the less energy you may use on heating and cooling. This can make a finished basement a very eco-friendly feature to include in your home’s design.
4. Vertical Gardens
A vertical garden on your home’s wall, also called a living wall, can be a lush, luxurious-looking feature. It can also help to keep your home naturally cooler in summer, thus making the home more energy-efficient.
If used on the inside of the wall, vertical gardens can improve insulation; if on the outside of the wall, they may also shade the wall from the sun. Either way, your home will stay cooler and look cooler as well.
5. Round Exterior Shape
If you want a quirky aesthetic or your house to be shaped like a castle, consider a circular shape for your home design. Design your entire home to fit inside a round-shaped floor plan, or you can design it with a round tower off to the side.
Any circular portion of the home will often be extra energy-efficient, because this shape has less exterior wall surface for the amount of interior space. That means that with the same square footage, you’ll lose less energy to heat transfer through the wall.
Many attractive design features, from smaller details like added windows to larger elements like your home’s exterior shape, can all affect the energy efficiency of the final structure. For more information about the types of features, materials, and techniques you can use to build an eco-friendly home, get in touch with a local construction contractor today.