Building green homes is an increasingly popular concept. More and more people are looking to live a sustainable lifestyle, with minimal impact on the environment.

With heating, electricity costs rising each year, many are seeking alternatives to conventional living.

In most cases, it’s easier to build a green home than to retrofit an existing structure. In the past, most buildings and homes were not oriented correctly to take advantage of passive solar energy and thereby incurred high energy bills.

There are many components to building green homes. Here are some of the most common:

Distributed Power Generation

A simple definition of this term is “generating your own power”, typically using power generation methods such as solar or wind technologies to produce your own electricity.

Recycled Materials

When building a new home you can take advantage of recycled or reclaimed materials in the construction. An example of this are Earthships, built by Michael Reynolds, that incorporate used car tires, soda cans, metal from washing machines, bottles and other recycled items in the design.  He calls his program biotecture, and has been developing green homes for over 40 years.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances, such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and stoves are heavy users of electricity. The use of energy efficient units, such as those with an Energy Star rating, which is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products. Appliances with this rating typically use up to 30% less energy than conventional ones.

Water Conservation

Each day, the average household in the US uses 260 gallons of water. By utilizing high efficiency toilets and fixtures, in addition to practicing basic water conservation techniques, such as turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, we can assist in conserving our nation’s water supply.

Proper Insulation

By properly insulating your home, you can save thousands off of your electric bill. There are many building methods to super insulate your home, such as using straw bales, log walls, or rammed earth. These methods will help to increase your thermal mass, and provide superior insulation for your home.

So, when you are building green homes, there are many options to consider. Many times, you can build an eco friendly home for just about the same cost as a conventional house.