The process of designing buildings and remodeling projects around green design products and techniques helps to diminish the effect of industrialized processes and create safer interior spaces.
There are now numerous architects, designers, and green design firms who specialize in crafting sustainable, eco-friendly residential and commercial spaces. Habitat for Humanity offers how-to information for a variety of energy efficiency and sustainable construction methods as well as an energy efficient home tutorial.
Green Design Architecture
When constructing green design homes, architects and builders use specific tactics to ensure the projects are environmentally sound. One of the first goals is to use recyclable or reusable materials that had a previous life or will have future recycling potential. Another major goal of green building design is to incorporate as many low-impact raw materials as possible. Low-impact building supplies require less energy to be manufactured, are generally non-hazardous, or come from sustainable or recycled sources.
Another approach utilized in green design architecture is to integrate modular design elements or parts which can be standardized and easily fixed or interchanged. Green design firms often recommend using high quality materials so that the structure has more longevity so there is less need for replacement supplies. The internal systems of green design houses should include highly efficient appliances, air conditioning, and heating units like those with Energy Star ratings. When practical, green building design should involve the use of alternative energy sources like windmills, solar panels, and rainwater collection.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has established a nationwide certification standard for green building design, production, and performance. This organization provides tools to assist with the improvement of structures while promoting a “whole-building approach” to green design architecture. LEED acknowledges achievements and performance in material choice, water conservation, ecological site development, energy efficiency, and interior green design.
Green Design Houses
When a site is being considered for a new home, the architect or builder can make sustainable recommendations for the orientation of the structure. This may involve placing the house so that it best benefits from natural elements like wind and sun. During the construction process, interior green design materials gathered from the site itself or from the regional area will require much less energy to transport compared with supplies that must be sent across long distances or imported from overseas.
Along with energy saving systems, green design homes should incorporate windows and doors with superior insulating qualities along with proper levels of insulation in walls and attics. Interior green design products such as reclaimed or renewable wood flooring can also play a major role in green projects. Any flooring, paint, or other interior products should have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are also less toxic wall paints that can be used in green design houses such as milk-based paint and natural earth pigments.
Green design architecture also applies to the exterior areas of a home such as the landscaping. Water can be collected from natural rainfall, the kitchen sink, and the laundry room for later use as greywater to irrigate lawns or flush toilets. Green design firms usually integrate shade trees or natural windbreaks when laying out the site plan for green building design. Other eco-friendly tactics for home landscaping include xeriscaping with drought tolerant plants and using native species.