“Going Green” With Energy-Efficient Home Building Materials
Make your house more environmentally friendly with sustainable products and recycled materials from roofing to flooring.
Building green homes and embracing energy efficiency (as it relates to homes) have become less of a trend and more of a standard among builders, buyers and current homeowners. Whether you’re constructing a home from the ground up or just upgrading certain elements, there’s no shortage of products and home building techniques that can help you make your house more energy efficient. Nearly every part of a house—and the surrounding landscape—can be updated to utilize green home building materials and practices, which in turn can reduce your carbon footprint and increase your overall energy savings.
What Does it Mean to Build a Green Home?
Building green homes is the practice of constructing homes using sustainable materials, eliminating waste during the construction process, and building products that help improve a home’s energy efficiency and reduce unnecessary resource consumption. Some construction methods, green home building materials and household appliances can even receive an accreditation or rating that recognize them as part of an energy efficiency certification program set by the government’s Department of Energy or a number of other institutes and agencies. These programs include ENERGY STAR®, Green Advantage and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).
Energy-Efficient Products for Every Part of Your Home
Nearly every part of a home—and the systems that comprise it—can be constructed with green home building materials or converted into/upgraded to a newer, more energy-efficient version. The term “green” in home building generally refers to features that are related to energy efficiency, such as upgraded insulation and better-performing HVAC systems. Other types of green features can include architectural components such as the position of the home with respect to the sun, passive solar design concepts, and collecting/using rainwater in landscaping. Common household products including appliances, lighting and even some electronics can all be updated to versions that are more environmentally friendly and promote energy savings.
HOME BUILDING MATERIALS
When it comes to the construction process, new building materials such as recycled plastic bottles are being used in wall construction, as well as framing and increased wall thickness to allow for more insulation. From lumber and drywall to masonry and millwork – you’ll find a huge selection of building supplies at Lowe’s to help make your home energy efficient.
Utilizing an energy-efficient roofing material that reflects the sun’s heat, such as a galvanized aluminum product is one of several ways to help keep your attic and home cooler. A cool roof coating is another option if you don’t want to replace the entire roof. Most importantly, make sure your attic and roof are properly insulated and ventilated.
Insulation serves to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter and it also helps regulate moisture and sound/noise. It is found throughout the home – in the attic, walls, air ducts, and more. There are various types of insulation at Lowe’s, including blown-in, spray foam and foam board. Homeowners can opt for a DIY insulation kit or may hire a professional to perform installation.
WINDOWS AND DOORS
When replacing or upgrading ordinary windows to energy-efficient models, durability is key. Most manufacturers will offer four types of windows made from aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, or wood. A wood-fiberglass hybrid model (wood on the interior/fiberglass in the exterior) provides both the optimal appearance and durability. For doors, it’s important to consider that the type/material, amount of weather-stripping and proper installation are all factors that will determine how much—or if—the door is going to help with energy savings.
Energy Savings and You
If you’re planning on upgrading to green home building materials or energy-efficient home appliances, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the best solution that will not only help optimize your home’s energy savings, but that’s also cost-effective for your budget, too. Before you make any major energy-saving home improvements, have a professional conduct a home energy audit (also called an energy survey or assessment) to determine how your home uses energy, where it’s losing heat/air/light, and which problem areas should be prioritized. There are also many ways you can help make your home more energy efficient. For more ideas on how to create an energy-efficient home, check out this guide from Lowe’s.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.