Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable
You’ve read about sustainable communities such as Babcock Ranch, but how do you make your own home more sustainable? One definition of sustainability holds that residents can meet their current needs without compromising the next generation’s ability to satisfy their own needs at the expense of the environment.
When it comes to your home, there are lots of ways to make it sustainable. Working closely with one of Babcock Ranch’s expert homebuilders will reveal the many easy ways to make your home more sustainable.
In Florida and at Babcock Ranch, builders adhere to “green” building standards developed by the Florida Green Building Coalition (http://floridagreenbuilding.org/). These standards promote sustainability with environmental, economic, and social benefits through regional education and certification programs.
The coalition’s standards for sustainability include:
- Energy Performance – Exceeding code requirements and reducing energy costs;
- Water Conservation – Reducing water usage both inside and outside the home;
- Site Conditions – Minimal site disturbance and utilization of native plants;
- Healthier Home – Use of products and materials to create a healthier interior environment;
- Materials – Use of locally produced, resource-efficient materials and recycled content;
- Disaster Mitigation – The ability to withstand natural disaster and pests such as termites.
Questions to Ask Your Homebuilder
When you speak with a builder about construction of a sustainable home, it’s important to ask the right questions. The coalition suggests you ask these questions:
- Are the builder and the staff certified by the Florida Green Building Coalition or the United States Green Building Council? This is a good starting point to gauge the builder’s knowledge of sustainable-building practices.
- New homes in Florida must achieve a minimum energy rating. How is your builder exceeding the requirements?
- Ask how your builder voluntarily helps lower water consumption, including outside native vegetation that doesn’t require much irrigation.
- Be concerned about indoor air quality and find out what paints, adhesives or floor coverings your builder is using. That’s especially important if you have respiratory problems.
- Ask whether your builder is using recycled materials to build your home and if solar panels can be installed to heat your pool.
Five Money-Saving Tips
The coalition offers five green savings and healthy living ideas:
- Change your lightbulbs to compact fluorescents because lighting accounts to close to 20% of the average home’s electric bill. Qualified bulbs use up to 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.
- Install low-flow water fixtures. Low-flow shower heads use 2.5 gallons less water per minute than conventional heads. That fix can save you $50 to $75 a year. Low-flow faucet aerators can also help cut water usage by as much as 40%.
- Install a programmable thermostat that let you control the heating and cooling of your home to the times you need them. Ceiling fans can also help cool a room, but be sure to turn them off when you’re away.
- Get rid of harmful chemicals in your home by choosing eco-friendly paints and cleaning supplies. Look for products that contain no or low volatile organic compounds. Another solution is to buy an air cleaner with activated charcoal filtration designed to remove chemicals from the air.
- Check for discounts and rebates from your utility companies. Chances are your utilities can help you identify and purchase efficient cooling and heating systems at a discount.
You can find out more about sustainability from the homebuilders at Babcock Ranch by visiting the builders’ page here. Give us a call at 877-484-4434 to schedule a tour of the model homes today.