Building a Green Home

Written on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 7:27 am by Adaire
Filed under Lifestyle.

I recently saw a documentary about the negative effects certain human habits have on our planet and it made me realize we really need to develop awareness about our impact on the environment. Many of the most devastating damages done to the environment are unconsciously committed by average people like you and me.

If you use a plastic bag, you are already making a negative impact on the environment. By refusing to segregate your wastes and recycle, you are dealing nature another blow. By using products that harm our atmosphere, you are contributing to global warming.

Individually, using a single plastic bag may not seem much. It may seem trivial. But if you multiply this behavior millions of times over, the collective effect would be devastating. We all have to make a positive contribution towards the preservation of the planet. We have to change the current trend, and this change has to begin with us and in our homes.

Thankfully, there are many ways we can contribute to this cause. As I have mentioned earlier, we can start recycling, we can avoid using products with ingredients that harm the environment, we can even contribute by choosing to design and construct our homes in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

I read a recent article from Healthy Wealthy nWise called “Finding A ‘Green’ House Builder.” In that article, John K Taylor talks about the availability of the “green” house builder. He says, “Believe it or not, environmentally sustainable house building isn’t actually new to the construction industry – it’s just a practice that has been slow on the uptake amongst most contractors. Even so, many builders will actually be quite familiar with ‘green’ building practices, as they have a range of contacts in the industry from whom they receive materials and systems.”

I’m happy that even the construction industry is becoming more environmentally conscious. But if we want to speed-up the process, we should make it a point to support sustainable products and services. As long as there is a market demand for such services, more companies are going to be encouraged to shift to more sustainable methods and more environment-friendly means of production.

As it stands though, green house builders are not as widespread. If you’re looking for “green” construction it might take some extra effort to find them. John provides a few tips on how to find a green house builder in your area:

  • Word of mouth is generally the most preferred method of finding a green builder, as some contractors do not actually think to advertise the fact that they can construct an environmentally sustainable home. This also allows you the opportunity to view some of the builder’s past work.
  • Online searches using the keywords ‘green house builders’ and the suburb or area in which you live is another preferred method for people to find environmentally friendly contractors.

If, however, you can’t find a green house builder in your area, you still have another option: you can build your own home!

In “Budgeting for a Self Build Project,” another article Healthy Wealthy nWise, Paul Coupe describes the process of building your own home as “one of the most rewarding yet testing ventures of your life.”

However, although the prospect of building your own house is very exciting, you can’t just go ahead and do it without careful planning. Paul says, “One of the most common issues which blight many a self build is poor control of the budget which can result in frightening overruns on costs.”

If you’re serious about building your own home, here are a few reminders from Paul that you should carefully consider:

  • Before starting any self-build project you need to get serious about costs.
  • Keeping track of your cash is the key to self-build.
  • Stamp duty is should not be forgotten when self-building.

Paul talks about these pieces of advice in more detail in his article. Be sure to visit it for in-depth explanations on why these elements are extremely important. In any case, as a rule of thumb, it’s much safer to price up your estimates to avoid going over budget. You also have to be realistic about how long the project will take. Leave some room for setbacks and delays. Also, as an extra security measure, set aside up to 15% of the total estimate “just in case.”

The mere fact that you’re looking for “green” options for construction is something that you should be proud of. You hear a lot of people rant about global warming and other environmental issues, but it really takes a lot of determination to incorporate green ideas into your lifestyle.

Building a green home is not just about construction. We should establish a green lifestyle that goes along with a green home. We should set an example for our neighborhood and our children. We should create environmental awareness.

It may seem as if we’re making it harder for ourselves for choosing “green,” but at the end of the day, we’re doing the right thing. We’re choosing “green” because we want our children and our grandchildren to live in healthy and safe environments. We’re choosing “green” because we want to preserve the wonder and beauty of the world. We’re choosing “green” because we want to take care of nature.

As human beings, we are an intrinsic part of nature. Choosing to take care of nature is as rational and as ethical as choosing to take care of ourselves and others.

Take care! :)


Image by: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

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