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Sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings are healthy buildings for their occupants and the environment. They are cheaper to run boasting reduced energy, water and maintenance costs. However, building or renovating homes in an environmentally responsible manner requires a great deal of thought, as well as educating and prodding architects and builders to find more sustainable materials and building methods. There are hundreds of building methods and products to use in a sustainable home. Here are some smart ideas to start planning:

Choose the Right site:

Take great care and time in picking the right site will allow you take advantage of the natural gifts of sun, wind, soil, water, scenic views and community services. Well before you commit to buy it, hire your  builder to let him/her see it and then give you some experienced advice on what it will cost to build on this site compared to others. You could save a lot of money and aggravation by paying someone for their time for this invaluable service

Get a good Team:

Choose your architect, builders and sub contractors based on their training and experience with sustainable methods so that they can deliver you the product you want.

Work with nauture:

Work with your  natural orientation and plot shape, specifically design shading for where you want it in the summer (trees, covered porches, roof overhangs, window awnings) and let the sun in where you want it in the winter.

Plan plan plan:

Install low-emission windows to reduce the harmful effects  of the sun in summer and also still retain the heat inside the house in winter.

For a warmer climate a long rectangle shape with the short ends facing east and west will suffer the least from the hot sun while a southern exposure will provide lots of light without much heat gain.

For a colder climate, a squarer, compact shape that holds the heat in and provides the least amount of exterior wall for heat to leak thru works best.  Two story homes work well for encouraging natural ventilation where hot air rises from the first floor up the stairs and exiting via a skylight or window at the top of the stairway.