Build an Eco-Friendly Home: 13 Creative Steps to Go Green


Tips on How to Build an Eco-Friendly Home

Build an eco-friendly home to support the environment. There has been an increase in the popularity of environmental issues across all parts of our lives, which also applies to home construction.

Taking the green option when constructing your new home will reduce your carbon footprint and could reduce your living expenses too.

Constructing an eco-friendly home does take a bit more planning, but the results can give you the sustainable home of your dreams. Your new home can be energy efficient and save money on energy bills. We look at 8 things you can do to build a more eco-friendly home.

Choosing Eco-Friendly Building Materials when you build an eco-friendly home

Build an Eco-Friendly HomeChoosing materials in the construction that are sustainable building materials certainly helps improve the environmental credentials when you build an eco-friendly home.

Recycling materials is also an excellent option that should help reduce the cost of the build and have a positive environmental impact. One excellent suggestion is to consider building a shipping container house because of the impact on the environment by utilizing shipping containers as a structure.

It is a good idea for home builders to pick eco-friendly building materials, as these green features are considered upgrades with a home. When buying new construction houses, it is a good opportunity to include eco-friendly building materials in the design process.

New construction home buying is a viable option when buying a home. Many buyers will go directly to the builder when considering purchasing new construction.

It is often possible to remodel homes that are fixer-uppers using recycled materials, for example. If you remodel, be sure to recycle items such as insulation, beams, and bricks.

When recycling isn’t possible, eco-friendly materials can be used. This will mean making sure that the wood used in the home has had as little processing with chemicals or heat as possible.

Using wood from sustainable sources is also something you will likely want to check. Utilizing eco-friendly building materials will create a green home.

Creating an Energy-Efficient Home

Creating an energy-efficient home will reduce energy consumption while still creating a comfortable living area. Choosing to fit solar panels or even wind turbines to power your property partially will reduce energy usage from traditional sources.

You can also fit energy-saving features, like light sensors, to save power. Reusing old electrical appliances will keep your costs down and reduce the environmental impact of your new home.

use Solar Panels when you build an eco-friendly home

Solar companies will tell you that these solar panels increase a home’s value; however, there can be complications with selling the home if the panels are leased. There are different reasons why solar energy is so advantageous for a homeowner. Solar panels have become a trendy option for generating power for the home.

There are financial benefits to utilizing solar panels, such as savings through lowering the electricity bill. Other benefits include the fact that people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and being green. They prefer not to rely on the grid for energy needs.

Solar panels are photovoltaic cells and convert the sun’s light and energy into electricity. One advantage of solar panels is that the panels provide you with guaranteed power as long as the sun is shining. There are some drawbacks too. Utilizing solar panels is a creative way to add equity to the home.

Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances

Newer electronic appliances tend to be more energy-efficient than older ones. Check the energy consumption rating of the device. Though buying new appliances will increase your costs, the reduced energy efficiency use will gradually recoup some of the extra expense. New appliances do also have the advantage of adding value to your home when you sell.

Energy-efficient appliances include Energy Star, which is designed to help you save money and resources.

Washing machines and dishwashers utilize significantly less water which helps to save the planet. The appliances are more efficient and are energy savings. Keep in mind that dishwashers would be included if selling. However, it is always a good idea to include what you want in the purchase agreement.

Smart Thermostats

The biggest reason to upgrade to a smart thermostat is for energy cost savings. This is a pretty easy way to save money. The thermostat will maintain the temperature of your home when you build an eco-friendly home. When utilizing a smart thermostat, it’s easy to schedule your HVAC to run less while you’re out for the day and ultimately reduces energy usage.

Smart programmable thermostats are connected with the wireless internet. Some apps can be utilized on your smartphone to program and maintain the temperature of the home. This allows the home to maintain a consistent temperature versus having an air conditioner work hard to cool the home back down. This will save energy costs.

If you have a vacation home, it is good to have smart home technology, including a thermostat.

Your thermostat can program alerts to let you know if the interior temperature has changed significantly, so you can monitor whether or not your HVAC is working properly and make adjustments as needed.

Another benefit of a smart thermostat is that they are easy to install and program.  All you need to do is turn off the power to the existing thermostat and remove the old thermostat.

Connect the new smart thermostat and follow the programming instructions. Connect the wires to your new thermostat, install the new thermostat faceplate, restore power, and follow programming instructions as prompted.

Efficient Lighting

Make sure LED bulbs are fitted throughout the home as canned lighting. They are considered fixtures in real estate. LED lamps use far less power than traditional bulbs and need replacing less frequently too.

Eco-Friendly Home Features

Choosing to use eco-friendly technologies in your home construction is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Reducing your carbon footprint is good news for the environment. Choosing to have underfloor heating installed instead of heating ducts will add value to your home, along with making it more sustainable.

Eco-Friendly Toilets

Traditional toilets use more than 100 gallons of water on average each year. You also spend money on cleaning products that may be harmful to the environment. There is also the cost of toilet paper which is expensive.

You may consider utilizing a composting toilet.  It will reduce your water usage, cut back on cleaning products, and save you money.

If you don’t want to go as far as a composting toilet, there are some toilets available with a dual flush system, so you can select to use less water when appropriate.

Reducing Water Usage

Making better use of water in the home will reduce the amount you use. While you can save money on your water bills by being more careful when you flush the toilet or run the dishwasher, you can also select more efficient appliances.

When you are choosing a dishwasher or other appliances, some may use more water than others. Check the product specifications before you buy.

Tankless Water Heaters

A great way to conserve resources is to convert your existing water heater to a tankless model.

A tankless water heater is an upgrade for any home. Tankless water heats will last longer, use less energy, offer endless hot water on demand, and reduce utility bills. They have reduced maintenance, increased energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and more.

Tankless water heaters will heat the water directly without utilizing a storage tank. The water heaters heat the water when the water travels through a pipe. Tankless water heaters deliver a consistent supply of hot water, and basically, it is hot water on demand.

Energy-Efficient Windows

These windows prevent your heated or cooled air from escaping from your home. Heat will generally rise and will escape through loose windows or through the roof.

Energy-efficient windows will help to reduce heat loss. Most energy-efficient windows are dual paned or triple-paned, depending on the location.

If you reside in an older home, upgrading your windows will add value to the home and will be more energy efficient. Use sustainable materials when you decide to remodel or build an eco-friendly home. Energy-efficient windows provide increased insulation and will reduce your home’s energy usage.

At the same time, they help to make your home more comfortable. Windows do have a tint on them to reduce the sun heating the interior of the home. Many windows or glass have Low E or low emissivity tint to reduce the amount of infrared light.

Growing Your Own Food in Your Backyard

If you plan your backyard with raised beds or a planting area for vegetables, you can even grow your own food. This is a great eco-friendly method that saves you money and provides nutritious, healthy food for your family throughout the year.

When growing your own food, you can utilize raised flower beds and fill them with compost.

If you plant certain vegetables next to each other, it can really help. For example, basil planted next to tomatoes will help fend off aphids. Homes that have a green roof will add to the proper insulation of the home.

When tending to the yard, be sure to update the front yard as well and utilize drought-resistant plants that require less water.

Selling an Eco-Friendly Home

Having some of all of these items discussed in this article will sell the home faster. Having a home that is energy efficient is very desirable.

Moving into a new home with lower utility bills is a definite selling point. You may be in the process of deciding what to fix before selling your home, and if possible, it is a good idea to make changes with an eco-friendly mindset.

Final Thoughts

Committing to a sustainable design and eco-home benefits the environment and will reduce your living expenses. It is not only the design and resources used to build an eco-friendly home.

How you live in it impacts your carbon footprint and the potential harm to the environment. There are many benefits to living in a green home, including the benefit to the planet but also to the homeowner with the utility bills.

About the Author

The article “Build an Eco-Friendly Home | 13 Creative Steps to Go Green” was written by Sharon Paxson, one of the best Newport Beach Real Estate agents. With experience since 2005, representing buyers, sellers, and landlords. We welcome the opportunity to share our expertise with you and guide you through your real estate transaction.

How UAV Aerial Surveys Save Governments and Taxpayers Money


What to Know About UAV Aerial Surveys

Aerial surveys are conducted more frequently than many realize, both by public and private entities. Government organizations will conduct aerial surveys for highway development, environmental reporting, civil engineering, general land surveys, and other major construction projects.

In the private sector, aerial surveys are increasingly being performed by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The benefits of UAV aerial surveys — including cost, speed, and safety — can easily be translated to public entities.

The Applications of Government UAV Aerial Surveys

Traditionally, aerial surveys were conducted by helicopter or by plane. These surveys can be expensive and always carry some risk, as all flights do. UAV surveys can be conducted with greater levels of safety and precision.

Fixed-wing UAVs perform very similarly to planes and can survey large swathes of land at a time.

Multi-rotor UAVs can hover similarly to helicopters. Their maneuverability allows them to access locations that would’ve been inaccessible to helicopters — such as the underside of bridges or the interior of caverns.

In addition to vastly improving construction and civil engineering, UAV aerial surveys can be used for:

  • Environmental studies and environmental change assessments.
  • Civil security and public safety.
  • Detection and mitigation of damage following major weather events.
  • Tracking of urgent events such as fire and flooding.
  • Routine coastal surveying.

According to Rostock University, UAV aerial surveys can save money in both the forestry industry and the agriculture industry.

Low-cost UAV aerial surveys have been studied for everything from studying dynamic tropical volcanic landforms to the assessment of damage following hurricanes. But the most common government use for UAV surveys would be in construction.

UAV Arial Surveys

The Cost Savings Associated with UAV Aerial Surveys

The more cost-efficient a government is, the better for the taxpayer. Government projects cost less, but money can be reallocated into other quality of life improvements.

Better UAV surveys can encourage better, more efficient, and cost-effective civil engineering programs, public transportation, and environmental waste management.

There are a few major ways that UAV aerial surveys can save the government money when it comes to construction projects.

Increased Accuracy and Precision During Surveying

UAVs fly lower to the ground than traditional, manned aircraft, creating higher resolution scans and, therefore, more detailed.

The more accurate the survey, the less risk there are of issues being uncovered over the project.

Most government projects are multi-million-dollar affairs, which can cost the taxpayer much more if they run over their deadlines or require additional (and unexpected) materials and labor.

In the past, surveys were often limited to being at a certain height. For both photogrammetric (photographic) and LiDAR (laser) surveying, this meant that there wasn’t always the necessary amount of detail.

Depending on the type of construction being done, a highly accurate, highly detailed model may be necessary.

Reduced Safety Risks, Insurance, and Permits

As UAV surveys are safer, they are inherently less expensive; a UAV survey doesn’t require the same level of permitting and insurance a manned aerial vehicle would.

With a UAV, a crash is a minor event that shouldn’t delay the project significantly. With a manned aerial vehicle, a single incident could drastically delay the project.

Every manned aerial flight needs to be taken more seriously than a UAV flight does. Consequently, UAV flights can also be deployed with far greater frequency — and at far greater utility — than human-crewed aerial flights.

At the same time, the enhanced monitoring provided by UAV surveying can also reduce risks throughout a construction project. Sites that have continual safety monitoring will naturally be more likely to following safety standards and regulations.

Consistent Monitoring for Development, Repairs, and Maintenance

UAV surveys provide a fast, affordable way to monitor the entirety of a construction zone. Any issues that arise will be noticed quickly, safety guidelines and regulations will be more strictly followed, and supervisors can be certain that the project is continuing as planned.

Even after the construction project has been completed, UAV surveys can be performed periodically for general maintenance purposes.

As UAV surveys are increasingly paired with sensors linked to the IoT, aerial surveys for maintenance are becoming more important.

Consider large-scale construction projects such as wind farms — in the past, technicians had to physically climb turbines to check their status. As UAVs enter common use, the entirety of a wind farm can be regularly surveyed without the need for technicians on the ground.

Detailed Modeling and Simulations

Following UAV aerial surveys, detailed 3D models and simulations can be completed to assess the project.

Not only can materials be costed out more effectively, but the consequences of the project on the surrounding terrain can also be explored.

UAV aerial surveys can be used to identify potential issues with light pollution or water run-off or to explore ways in which a construction project can be made to be more energy efficient.

In the future, these 3D models may even be used to restore existing construction projects in the wake of disasters.

By creating 3D models of new civil developments, the government can eventually make it easier to create disaster preparedness plans and other critical infrastructure items. Presently, 3D models are already being used to restore older, historic buildings, such as Notre Dame.

Once a construction project and its surrounding environment have been captured in 3D, the data is available and can be used forever.

Improved Environmental Assessment

Every government project needs to start with a comprehensive environmental impact study.

With UAVs, improved environmental assessments can be completed, even in areas that would normally be difficult to access.

UAVs can be used to thoroughly explore the areas around the construction project, simulate changes to the surrounding environment, and follow up on the environmental impact after the construction project has been completed.

When paired with advanced LiDAR technology, UAVs can even see through terrain that is covered in brush, consequently making it easier to assess any potential impact on the environment.

When it comes to installations such as pipelines, LiDAR technology and UAVs together can be used to identify issues such as the encroachment of surrounding plant and can mitigate any potential damage to the pipeline before leaks occur.

Faster Development (and More Reliable Milestones)

Apart from the other improvements, UAVs can save government entities money on construction projects by making the project itself faster and more reliable.

In the construction industry, some of the costliest issues arise from delays and re-works. The more accurate the survey is, the less likely the project is to have re-works. The faster the project is, the less likely it is to experience delays.

Altogether, this results in a project that operates far more smoothly and doesn’t have as many unanticipated overages. Not only does this save money, but it also saves on materials and waste.

In nearly every way, UAVs are preferable to manned aerial vehicles for aerial surveying. UAVs are also generally preferred to manned ground surveying, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.

As a new technology, UAVs are still being adopted within the government sector — but there’s no reason not to think that the majority of aerial surveying won’t be completed using drone technology in the future.

The UAV Industry Continues to Grow

The public and private sectors have invested $13 billion in drone technology, and it’s believed the drone industry will grow by 15.37% in the next five years.

Significant advances in drone technology have been made over the past few years — and both the private and public sectors are awakening to the benefits of UAV technology, especially in the case of aerial surveying.

As the technology improves, it will only become faster, more accurate, and more cost-effective. In the past, UAVs were held back by issues of range and battery power; these issues are being countered more significantly and substantially day by day.

By leveraging drone technology, government entities will be able to start construction projects faster, monitor them more thoroughly, and ultimately complete them both under deadline and under budget.

UAV surveys are, as a rule, faster, safer, and more accurate. And these are cost savings that will ultimately be passed down to the taxpayer. Hopefully, you now have a much better understanding of how they work.