Green homes building is a concept that seems to be gaining more and more adepts. It embraces principles such as sustainable architecture, ecology protection, natural construction, solar energy, recycling, renewable energy, and healthy living. In fact, this conception involves much more than building green homes, it involves a change of habits, it is a lifestyle.
Green homes take within the idea of providing all possible housing necessities while living lightly on earth. There is a constant search of ways to make an adequate and less harmful use of natural resources. There is the idea of lowering the impact we make on our planet and ecosystems and still have our needs fulfilled .
When it comes about green homes, it is about building a cozy, comfortable and welcoming home. There are many house styles among green homes, from conventional to rounded , organic, earth sheltered, and even lightweight concrete. Styles depend on the owners taste and materials he wants to use when building it.
Basically, green homes use many different materials, mostly natural even though, as mentioned above, some concrete might be used and still adhere to the concept. Owners imagination and specific location of the house determine the materials that will be used, as people building green homes tend to take advantage of the materials they have around, making their home fit the place, so that will depend on the area the green home to be will be located. These houses do not follow mainstream building techniques at all. Earth, wood, natural clay, rocks , volcanic stones, straw and sand are some normally used materials. Some of the resources used for constructing green homes are renewable ( like trees and straw)others not but are actually pretty inexhaustible (sand and rocks for example).
Recycled materials are used too, to mention an example, many people use old glass bottle pieces decorating walls.
Energy is an important concept to take care of here. The idea is to make an efficient use of it and try to use renewable energy is what they aim. Sun, water and wind can produce enough energy for living needs, anyway there has to be a careful and conscious use of it because you are a bit limited.
Sun is being taken most possible advantage of in green homes. Not only can it provide energy through solar panels but there is also the idea of using it for lightning and heating purposes. A good and thoroughly thought design will allow the owner a proper illumination during the day, just from the sun. Also heating of the home can be obtained from it, a proper solar design of the house will permit sun light enter the rooms and the surrounding thermal mass, normally masonry materials, walls will be absorbing warmth that will be given back to the room after down. Thermal mass works as if it were a battery that stores the sun heat preventing the house to get too hot during the day, and gives it back later.
Insulation plays a fundamental role to keep heat inside. Rocks for example a good mass but bleed warmth.
The same way houses need heat, they need cool too. Digging into the earth and building a part of the house down under will make it too cool to live there, lets say for bedrooms or dining rooms, but can be a good basement that will be moderating the thermal fluctuations of above. Insulation is mandatory in this part of the house too.
Water conservation is an underlying concept within green homes conception. A ten percent of regular people average use of water would be enough for living. You could drop down water usage to a 10% changing some habits and taking some measures that will help you on your purpose. You can put a flow restrictor to shower heads, use low water capacity toilets; you can deviate showering and laundry water to water your plants or lawn. Of course, rain water is always there to catch it!
Growing your own food and canning are associated with green homes too. You do not need a big piece of land to grow you vegetables, a small parcel will be enough. Even pots can be used in some cases, aromatic herbs for example.
It is a lifestyle you can adhere to or not, but if it seems to much of a radical change, maybe you could still adopt some concepts or ideas, after all it is about preventing environmental degradation and healthy living for us and our planet.