Common Sense Construction Hacks To Make Your New-Build House Greener

There's been a shift in recent years toward greener lifestyles, habits and homes. If you're considering building a new home, there are a few simple things you can add to the building plans that will reduce your carbon footprint, increase the value of your home, and give you peace of mind without changing the way your home functions. Here are 3 green upgrades that are worth your time.

Buy Energy Star Rated Appliances

Energy Star is a government sponsored program run by the EPA. In order for a product to become Energy Star rated, it must be certified by a third party, which means that neither the EPA nor the product's manufacturer is responsible for vetting the product for energy efficiency. That means that consumers can place a great deal of trust in the Energy Star label.

You already know that you can find the Energy Star seal on electronics and light bulbs, but did you know many major appliances can be certified as well? When you're making plans to furnish your home with necessary appliances, don't forget to check for the Energy Star label on all of your large appliances including your furnace and water heater. Because your large appliances often use the majority of the electricity you consume each year, switching to Energy Star rated appliances can save a lot of energy and money.

Choose an Energy Efficient Roof

Many homeowners are unaware of what an important impact a roof can have on their energy consumption. Many of the most popular roofing materials, like asphalt shingles, absorb much of the sun's heat. Those smart looking black shingles or clay tiles could be transferring a lot of heat into your home, upping the cost of air conditioning in the summer. Choosing an energy friendly roof means choosing one that reflects the sun's rays, like a tin roof, which can reduce heat transfer.

Another option is to coat your roof with a reflective material, usually made of acrylic. This isn't as efficient as a properly installed reflective roof, but it is a far cry better than nothing.

Go with Environmentally Friendly Finishes

Once the frame of your new home is built, you'll probably turn your attention to the finishes. Flooring, faucets, and toilets can have a striking impact on your home's footprint. Here's a look at how you can choose the greenest options.

Flooring: Hardwood never seems to go out of style. It is versatile, beautiful, and low maintenance. It can also be terrible for the environment. Old growth forests are a non-renewable resource, and most hardwood is either harvested from an old growth forest, or it is farmed on a patch of land that was once populated by an old growth forest. Reclaimed wood floors are an environmentally friendly choice for those who have their hearts set on hardwood, and it costs the environment next to nothing. Other green flooring options include finished concrete, natural linoleum, and wool carpeting, because they are made from abundant, renewable materials.

Faucets and Toilets: Many people don't know how much water they could be saving by installing low-flow faucets and toilets. Like the Energy Star, WaterSense is a label awarded by the EPA, only it applies to toilets, faucets, and shower heads instead of electronics. If you're worried about installing low-flow fixtures, starting with a WaterSense certified fixture is a great idea, because it must perform as well as other products in its category while using at least 20% less water. 

As you can see, making a few simple switches in the construction of your home can really affect your environmental impact, and you can make those switches without sacrificing comfort. Talk to your contractor about your desire to go green or visit, and make a plan for an awesome house and a brighter future.