How to Have a More Sustainable Home Q&A: Tips from Experts
When you are trying to make your home more environmentally friendly, you are helping to improve the environment. Home sustainability should reduce the cost of running your home by conserving energy, water, system, and appliance maintenance. You also make a better environment for yourself, your family, and your pets.
We gathered some experts that helped us creating this article that will answer some of those questions that we normally have when trying to take more sustainable practices at
Section 1: Introduction
How to Choose the Most Sustainable Materials When Building a Home?
When you decide to build an eco-friendly, sustainable home, start out with a detailed plan that will create guidelines to keep your budget on track, allowing you to make “best practice” selections for your building materials.
An architect or designer experienced in green building practices will make sure that your plans work hand-in-hand with local sustainable resources and should be able to provide a list of distributors that sell these products.
Your involvement in the process of material selection should start by verifying product data sheets for material composition, air, and vapor permeability, as well as application and installation instructions that show conformation to guidelines established by LEED and other green building organizations. For wood products, make sure they are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) to ensure that sustainable forest harvesting practices are being maintained.
Building your home with sustainable materials requires a substantial time investment but it will help keep the forests productive, the air clean, and contribute to a healthy environment for everyone.
Innovative Building Materials
How do you go green in construction?
Building Green means committing to the 5 pillars of Green. Energy | Health | Materials | Water | Place.
To measure this and know you are on track, you need 3rd party green building certification. This includes but is not limited to the LEED for Homes, GreenStar Homes Certification, NGBS Green Certification, or the Passive House program.
Each of these programs is a tool in your tool belt to guide you on ensuring your project is not just energy-efficient but also meetings the other important areas of green, especially having a healthier home.
Use their resources through design, construction, and even into how to operate your home.
Green Home Institute
How Can I Start Being Sustainable at Home?
Being sustainable at home means different things for everyone. The most important first step is to figure out what your goals are. Do you want to lower your footprint? Do you want to improve indoor air quality? Do you want to reduce toxins to support a healthy family? Getting clear on your WHY and then being strategic about the steps you can take to reach your goals will help you stay focused on what matters most to you, and avoid the overwhelm of trying to do too much. If creating a healthier home is part of your why, I’ve got resources and tools to help you! Visit greenathome.ca for free downloads, articles, podcasts, and more.
Emma Rohmann, environmental engineer, mom of 2, and founder of Green at Home
Section 2: Energy
Section 3: Food
How can I start an orchard at home no matter space?
Growing fruit trees in a small backyard allow for a hyper-local harvest! When choosing fruit trees for a small space, opt for dwarf or super-dwarf trees. Super dwarf trees are compact enough to grow in large planting containers like a half-barrel; dwarf trees get somewhat bigger. Use an espalier technique to train dwarf fruit trees like apples, pears, and peaches to grow flat against a warm, sunny wall or fence. Self-pollinating varieties are a must unless you’re able to plant trees in multiples.
Author of Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic Books)
Section 4: Benefits and Best Practices
What is the importance of recycling at home?
In my opinion, the absolute most important reason to recycle at home is to use the recycling process to train the younger generations on how to best protect our environment, our natural resources, and our planet. There are so many opportunities to recycle on the home front properly. By the way, Responsible Recycling and Reuse are both very easy to do so… “WHY NOT DO IT?”
1 Green Planet
What are the best practices to reduce plastic waste?
At Keep America Beautiful®, we encourage everyone to make it a priority to reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle at home, at work, and on the go. One of the first steps to reduce plastic waste is to analyze your consumer behavior and reconsider options and alternatives when shopping. Making swaps such as bringing reusable bags to the store, using real dishware at gatherings, and buying in bulk can reduce your plastic consumption. However, we believe it is also important to recycle more and buy products made with recycled content. When single-use plastic is the preferred choice or the only option in a situation, it is vital to dispose of your waste properly and that includes recycling what you can.
Keep America Beautiful
As you can read from our experts, having a sustainable home is an effort that we can all make and there’s no need of making a huge investment in the begging, by small actions we can start making more sustainable decisions at home and every day.
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