In the last century, access to “cheap” fossil energy has been a key driver for economic growth and industrialization. In recent years, there has been a global focus on sustainability and sustainable development. One of the most publicized global efforts to drive this change is the United Nations Development (UNDP) program that was developed to guide UNDP policy and funding until 2030. The UNDP's Sustainable Development Goals stemming from the program include “are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” Of the 17 goals that drive the program, over half of them relate to sustainability.
So what does eco-friendly mean and why is it important? Being eco-friendly, also known as green living, refers to using materials that prevent pollution and conserve natural resources like water and energy. The importance of being eco-friendly lies in three issues that may pose an immediate threat to us:
- Depletion of fossil fuels;
- CO2 emissions causing climate change;
- Increasing costs of water and energy.
The goal of eco-friendly living is to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising those of the future. With this in view, there is now a trend toward the development of sustainable homes that have a minimal impact on the planet.
What defines an eco-friendly home?
The Sustainable Housing Foundation defines sustainability in the context of property as “homes that are designed to reduce the overall environmental impact during and after construction in such a way that we can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The way this can be accomplished is by efficiently using energy, water, and land; reducing greenhouse gases, pollution, and waste; and reducing the use of non-degradable materials. Examples of how these can be accomplished in the design and construction of a home may include:
- Locating the development in a convenient location to discourage the use of automobiles;
- Use of locally sourced and efficient materials to reduce power consumption, and;
- The use of water conservation devices such as low-flush toilets.
Advantages of an Eco-Friendly Home
A sustainable home can come with many advantages for those who choose this design focus. While the principal benefit is a smaller environmental footprint, a sustainable home can also provide financial benefits. The energy and water efficiency of a sustainable home means that you can reduce your utility bills. Energy efficiency can be achieved by installing features such as solar panels, foam insulation, and energy-efficient heat pumps. Likewise, using efficient plumbing and irrigation systems can increase the efficiency of your water usage.
Ideas for Building an Eco-Friendly Home
Being eco-friendly is about building things that last a long time and have a minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable homes are first and foremost durable. By increasing the lifespan of a home, there is less impact on our natural resources from repair requirements.
Other tactics for increasing the durability of your home can range from constructing the frame of the home using recycled steel instead of wood, to installing double-glazed window panes for damage resistance and additional insulation. If the home is built using wooden construction, HVAC systems, fresh-air ventilation, and internal moisture management can also increase the durability of the home significantly by preventing rot and mold.
The Outlook for Eco-Friendly Homes
Future compliance with regulations may also be a benefit, as many regulators globally are looking to pass strict environmental laws that can impose a maximum footprint on residential housing. The UK, France, and China are just a few of the countries that have implemented plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars in the next half-century. Extrapolating the same mindset to the property will mean that sooner rather than later, homes will have to meet a minimum sustainability benchmark.
Selling an Eco-Friendly House?
You've put in the time and effort in planning your durable, eco-friendly home - do you really want to pay 6% of your hard earned equity just to sell your property, and lose out on the potential profits from the sale?
Contact Clever today to find a full-service, flat fee agent that is local and will sell your property for $3,000 or 1% on the property over $350,000.