Five Elements of a Sustainable Home
We often get asked by clients to incorporate a sustainable home design into our projects. So, what does building sustainably actually mean? A sustainable home means designing and constructing a residence with the least amount of negative impact on the environment as possible. Consider where you build, how your home is constructed and what materials your home is built with. Building a sustainable home brings a wealth of benefits that can minimize environmental impact throughout your everyday life. In this blog post we will outline some considerations for a sustainable home project.
1. The Use of A Prefab Building System
Offsite construction can be one of the most environmentally conscious processes in the industry. Building components also known as prefab homes or prefabricated homes are designed, engineered, and manufactured offsite in a climate-controlled facility and then transported to the jobsite where components will be assembled. There are significant advantages to this process that include increased energy efficiencies, increased quality control, reduced waste and fewer onsite deliveries.
2. A Sustainable Home Design
The orientation of your home is important for sustainability. For example, if you are building in a cold climate, you can take advantage of the sun by having more windows facing south, maximizing direct sunlight through the winter. This will help heat your home as well as bring in natural light to brighten up your space. The layout of your home can have a significant impact on energy use in a home. A home that is wide and spread out is going to have more heat loss and less efficiency than a house that is compact.
There will always be trade offs in a sustainable home’s design. With today’s new building technology, however, contractors and home buyers have significantly more choices and have the flexibility when it comes to the customization of a design. Our Pacific Homes architectural design team can work with you to consider the environmental impact of a custom home design and make recommendations based on your needs.
3. A Whole-System Approach
Even though each home is made up of thousands of different parts, we recognize the whole home as one complete system. Working with a Pacific Homes build specialist will ensure that a comprehensive plan for the project will be developed. This plan will incorporate both the design and technologies needed to create a home that deliverers exceptional energy efficiency.
Recognizing the whole home as a system begins with an emphasis on the building envelope. This is arguably the most important place to start when building energy efficient homes. So, what is a building envelope? A building envelop defines the separation between unconditioned or unheated spaces and the area of the home that is conditioned or heated and cooled.
It is important to place emphasis on creating a building envelope that is airtight, meaning that air leakage or air exchanges in the home are kept to a minimum. There needs to be sealing around all openings and penetrations through every roof and wall. This includes windows, doors, vents, electrical conduit, and any other holes and penetrations. In addition, it is important to consider smart thermostats and high performance windows and doors to further increase energy efficiency. Working with an energy advisor, you can test a house’s air sealing with a blower door test. This is an air pressure test that determines if your house is leaking air and at what rate.
Below is a guide that illustrates a Whole-System Approach
4. Sustainable Materials & Building to LastPossibly the most important aspect to remember when building a home is ensuring it will stand the test of time. If you want a sustainable house, you need to build it to last, and that means using high quality, durable building materials. These higher quality materials will also require significantly less maintenance. If your roof needs to be redone every 7-10 years, that is simply not sustainable. It is very important to be mindful of the products that are specified in your project. Our team works with clients to understand the climate and natural environment they are building in to ensure we are supplying quality products suitable for their project and build area. The interiors of a home can also incorporate recycled and reclaimed materials to help reduce waste and provide some unique character into a project.
SUSTAINABLE GREEN BUILDING MATERIALS IN A PACIFIC HOMES PACKAGE
· PinkWood Engineered Wood Products
· Wood from sustainable sources
· Use of recycled materials where possible – fiber cement siding, mouldings, etc.
· Over 90% of our production waste is recycled by local companies
5. Build A Home That You Love
The most sustainable home that you can build is something that you love for years to come. A sustainable home is a home that will require minimal changes. We want our clients to love their homes so they take care of them and can be proud of their project for years to come.
We take environmental sustainability seriously. We provide practical, affordable, custom solutions that make Pacific Homes among the greenest available. From design and manufacturing to delivery and construction, a Pacific Home is the result of commitment to doing things the right way.
Pacific Homes is a member of Built Green Canada and the Canadian Green Building Council, and have been used in both LEED, Built Green and EnerGuide 80 accredited homes. Additionally, our Pacific SmartWall® system was independently tested by BCIT for over one year, with outstanding results in energy efficiency.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you create the sustainable home of your dreams, get in touch with one of our build specialists by filling out our form below!