The purpose of this post is to look at five practical ways to increase the sustainability of your home.
So, please read on to get a deeper understanding of how to build a sustainable modular home!
What does ‘Sustainable’ actually mean?
Firstly, let’s define sustainability.
We believe that sustainability in the modular home space is the coalescence of three vital principles. The environmental, the economic and the social or practical impact of the home.
So, when looking at making a new home more sustainable, we need to consider each of these principles as a whole. For instance, a home with a low environmental impact, that is very expensive to build and isn’t practical for your social needs is not a sustainable house. It is just a building that is very environmentally friendly.
This is how the home affects the environment. This not only considers the materials used to build the home but also how the installation of the house will change the local setting as well as the ongoing effect of living in the home.
Basically – we want to look at the cost of the building. Is it affordable? Does it make good investment sense? Is it of value to the client? You could also consider things like building local or supporting local businesses.
The Social impacts of your new home are more practical. Firstly, let’s consider if it is practical and easy to use? Also, look at whether you’re going actually to use all the features.
As we can see from the above points, looking at the three principles as a whole is what actually makes a home more sustainable.
The 5 practical ways of making your home more sustainable
1. Sustainable Planning
So, let’s go down the road of building your new home sustainable. You’ve considered it, and it is a no brainer! And, if you’re making such significant investment, yes, it’s the single biggest investment most people will make in their lives, it makes sense to do it right the first time!
And to get your home right and ensure it is sustainable we firstly need to put a lot of effort into planning your home. However, preparing your home goes way beyond just drafting a floor plan. So, we find most builders will only focus on the floorplan of your house and overlook the site situation, the solar orientation of the home, your lifestyle, to name just a few.
2. Potential for Change vs Cost to Change equation
3. Long term sustainability
Ok, so another consideration when you’re planning your home is to consider not just the short term benefits and uses but to look into the long term. Start thinking about where you’re hoping to be in 20 years? Is this home likely to still suit your needs? Is it easy to move? Can it be re-sold or recycled?
Modular homes are ideally suited to sustainable building in this regard as the house can relatively easily split into the separate modules again and shipped to a new site or sold as a second-hand home very quickly.
4. Sustainable Windows & Glazing
Windows are quite often the most overlooked design feature when considering the sustainability of a new home. Yes, we want lots of light, but what about heat or cold?
We would recommend you consider putting thermal glass such as Viridian ComfortPlus Low-E glass or even put Double Glazed glass in your home.
The reason for this is that windows are the items that are going to make the most difference to how efficiently you are going to have to heat or cool your home, how much airflow you get in your home and how much light you get.
Get your windows right, and you’ve gone a long way to making your home more sustainable.
5. Consider your Solar Orientation
So, this means how the house is situated on the site to take advantage of the travel of the sun to minimise heating and cooling costs. Because of this, consideration of it is intimately entwined with considering your windows.
For instance, you may want your living areas to face West so you can take advantage of a beautiful view. But from a solar orientation point of view, this is also the side that will get the hottest. In the early planning stage, you’re going to realise that either we have to put better performing windows on this side or increase shading.
6. Energy Use
Lastly, let’s think about what you’re going to use for energy in your new home. So, when looking at reducing your energy use, you need to start by looking at the primary sources of energy.
So, we find that most clients end up realising that they get most of their power from electricity companies. Because of this, we recommend you investigate solar power options thoroughly. Now, depending on the location of your site you may find that a completely off-grid solar power system is also cost effective.
Also, to minimise energy use, make sure you go with solar hot water, LED lights, and 5+ Energy Star rated appliances.
Getting More Help
As we’ve stated above, this list of 5 ways of making your home sustainable is not necessarily exhaustive or limited.
Hey, we get it, it’s not easy to make a house genuinely sustainable. Because of this, we recommend you get expert help! And that’s what building designers are for.
Sustainable Building Design for Modular Homes
We recommend you consider using a building designer who is prepared to help you design a sustainable home.
If your struggling to find a building designer who gets modular, why not consider using our in-house design team. We’re working with modular homes every day. And because of this, we can help combine all aspects of design into one package and help ensure your new home is sustainable!