Designing an eco-friendly, energy-efficient, sustainable home is a comprehensive, long-term commitment. Whether you’re creating original plans to build a brand new home, or are looking for ways to add sustainability to your existing home, no change is too small. By taking simple, alternative approaches to traditional methods when it comes to building or remodeling your home, it’s easy to create a sustainable home you can be proud of.
Below are four simple, sustainable actions you can take to create or add eco-friendly sustainability to your home:
1. Plant deciduous shade trees
While planting trees is always a beautiful addition to any property, according to Arborday.org, planting large deciduous trees on the east, west, and northwest sides of your home can provide you with ample shade in the summer which can reduce your air conditioning costs by up to 35 percent.
Additionally, you can plant trees to provide shade for your outdoor air conditioning unit, which will help keep it running more efficiently by keeping the motor cool. The last thing you want is a broken air conditioner in the summer heat.
2. Install solar shutters
One simple change in the way you accessorize your windows can help you harvest the energy of the sun. Solar shutters are an innovative way to maximize your ability to generate energy and turn it into electricity without using the power grid.
Since the sun already shines on the side of your home, it makes sense to capture its energy and put it to good use. This can be especially useful if you’re living off the grid and are looking for more ways to capture solar energy.
If you’re going to have shutters or blinds on your windows anyway, it makes sense to be forward-thinking by using solar shutters.
3. Install hardwood floors that generate electricity
If you’ve dreamed of installing beautiful wood floors in your home but couldn’t justify the cost, don’t give up just yet. There is another, more responsible reason for installing hardwood floors. Today, installing wood floors can be a step toward making your home greener and more energy-efficient.
Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are taking sustainability a “step” further by creating flooring made from wood pulp waste that harvests energy from footsteps. Using basic science, this technology leverages the cellulose nanofibers that can produce a charge when treated chemically and encounter their untreated nanofiber counterparts.
All those nights you spend wandering around the kitchen looking for a midnight snack now have the potential to generate enough electricity for you to charge your batteries or power your lights.
Because many industries produce wood pulp as waste that can become hazardous to the environment, it’s great to see a company using this waste and turning it into something beautiful and practical.
4. Install fiber cement siding
If you want to make long-lasting, sustainable improvements to your home, fiber cement siding is an energy-efficient, practical alternative to traditional wood siding that can also provide natural insulation. You may not be aware of it, but it’s been around for nearly a century.
In the past, fiber cement siding was filled with asbestos—a dangerous substance that causes mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other respiratory problems. Today, fiber cement siding is filled with safe ingredients like cellulose fibers, Portland cement, and sand.
Fiber cement siding’s durable construction virtually obliterates three main problems homeowners face when it comes to maintaining their siding: rot, insect damage, and fading.
Apples aren’t the only things that rot in your yard
You’ve probably taken a walk around the block and noticed a neglected fruit tree collecting fallen, rotten fruit in a neighbor’s yard. Neglected fruit isn’t the only thing that can be seen rotting in people’s yards. Many homeowners neglect rotting siding that becomes a bit of an eyesore to passing foot traffic.
Because wood is a material that can easily mold and rot when exposed to moisture, installing fiber cement siding is a great alternative. If you prefer the look of wood, you’ll be pleased to know this durable material can be made to resemble natural wood grain and even stucco.
Insects can literally eat you out of house and home
While insects are just doing what their instincts guide them to do, wood-destroying insects like termites cause over $1 billion per year in property damage in the U.S. according to Orkin, one of the nation’s largest pest control companies.
The advantage of using fiber cement siding instead of wood is that termites aren’t going to treat your home like a snack. Not only will you be able to sleep better at night, but you won’t have to worry about watching your siding crumble because it’s been eaten from the inside out.
Faded and Outdated
While fiber cement siding is environmentally friendly, one of the biggest reasons people switch from wood siding is for the aesthetics. Wood siding can require frequent painting, just to look good. If you want your home to look good without having to put in too much effort, you’ll want to use fiber cement siding. Doing this will prevent your home from having that faded and worn out look from being exposed to the elements.
Your green new year begins with sustainable siding
If you want 2017 to be a sustainable new year, you can start by taking small actions to make a big impact, like installing fiber cement siding in your home. You’ll be many steps ahead with this low-maintenance, durable, energy-efficient change.
Obtaining high quality fiber cement siding
Installing fiber cement siding requires sourcing reliable materials. That’s why we use James Hardie. For five years in a row, James Hardie Building Products Inc. has been named the “Greenest Siding Brand” in the Green Builder Media® annual Readers’ Choice survey.
If you’re looking for ways to add sustainability to your home with fiber cement siding, request a free quote today and find out how we can help you create a sustainable, energy-efficient home.