Adopting a green home design is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint, but it is also important to remember that it might cost you 5% to 10% more than the conventional building methods. While building a green home for rainy climate, keep in mind that these regions are hot and humid and also usually infested with mosquitoes.
Before beginning your project, make certain that all the materials required for the project are locally available, renewable and require minimum processing. Make sure that the materials are nontoxic, and do not buy more than what you need to avoid wastage. Plan the house in such a way that it is multipurpose. Align rooms that need pluming to share walls to reduce pluming cost.
There are a couple of choices for the structure; one could use either straw bale or earth bags.
- Earth Bags: Used by military, this is an efficient way of building a green house. This method uses earth bags filled with soil and stacking them to form desired structure, dome, round or even square. The earth bags are then held together with cement stucco.
- Straw Bale: As the name suggests a bale of straw is used, not to be mistaken with hay. The bales are compressed firmly and cut and them stacked against a wooden structure, and then plastered together with cob plaster, followed by lime plaster. This makes a firm wall that is well insulated and sound proof. The only down side is that foundation should be built higher and the eaves should be wide to protect the wall from getting wet as a wet wall will let moisture seep in.
If wood is your choice for flooring, you have a choice between reclaimed hardwood planks and salvaged from old structures that are up for demolition. You can also choose hardwood that is harvested in well-managed forests. You can also choose from a variety of other eco-friendly materials such as cork, bamboo, composite boards and linoleum. If carpet is a must, look for options like carpets made from recycled plastic and beverages containers.
Make sure that you have large and strategically located windows to optimize outdoor light. Place windows in south, if you are located in northern hemisphere, and north if you are located in southern hemisphere for maximum daylight. Exploit the use of sunlight by adding solar panels to convert the heat into usable energy, which can be utilized for household purposes such as heating water. You can also use your creativity; for instance, use objects like cartwheel as your window frame.
Start by harvesting water and using it for watering plants for doing laundry. Ensure that your flushes are with 3/6 liter option to avoid wastage.
Check for Energy stars for energy efficiency of electronics and buy ones that are most energy efficient.
You can also plant native plants and make your own compost. Plant your own vegetables and fruits. Use drip irrigation methods to avoid water wastage. Follow the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to ensure your home is green.