In the last years, we have heard a lot about Green options and solutions regarding all aspects of our life like food, medicine, building, etc. But sometimes, the origin and the essence of the green issues are clearly missed.
When we are researching about construction, checking design magazines, and newsletters as well as the manufacturers' websites, we find hundreds of green materials. This can be because they are developed using green technologies, because they do not harm the environment, or because they use recyclable components. This is very important, but it is only a part of the problem because the use of these elements is not enough to create a green building.
As a matter of fact, a great green building starts with a great green design.
Let's review some design techniques and parameters for smart green designs.
In my opinion, a good design starts by avoiding waste in the use of materials. The waste rate should be less than 10%. How could you do this?
Modulate: adapt the dimensions of your project to the standard materials, using standard lumber and drywall dimensions. Punch's framing plans are useful for that!
Also, choose the finishing materials in advance and set the rooms' dimensions to fit the material dimensions. For example, if you choose 12" x 2" tiles, modulate your room to fit the exact number of tiles; otherwise, you will need to cut the tiles, wasting time and money.
Specify : detailed plans and specifications are necessary. Clearly define your materials and instructions, in order to avoid misunderstandings, rework, and waste. If you have a custom element, visualize it in 3D using different angles. Writing a detailed specification helps too.
Study the energy issue to save the environment as well as your money.
Sun : if you live in a cold region, take advantage of the sun. remembering that grass is a heat trap, because the heat can go in but it can't get out. Therefore, analyze the sun's position during the day and place windows facing the sun. Also, you can place sun collectors to reduce your energy bills. If you live in a warm region, place the windows in the walls where the sun doesn't shine.
Insulation : keeping the heat (or cold) air inside is important in order to avoid the waste of energy (and money) that would be necessary to generate more heat or cool air. Therefore, don't save money with the insulation. Use recognized products, quality materials and get a flawless application.
We cannot forget the importance between the design and the location: sometimes, homeowners design a house based on a dream project or style, however, the impact of this project on the environment should be analyzed: for example, check if the project is creating interference regarding rain drainage, ground levels, water sheets, or casting shadows, etc.
Lastly, a good recommendation: try to recycle the remaining elements, keeping reusable materials. Remember that some manufacturers and suppliers accept materials returned in good condition. And don't forget! Green practices start with green...trees, plants, flowers...