The majority of scientists and other experts now agree that human activity is having a negative impact on the planet. Global warming, increased pollution, and our diminishing natural resources have resulted in an urgent need to change our lifestyles. One way of creating a more sustainable environment is by building eco friendly homes.
By building eco friendly new homes we are protecting our forests and reducing the amount of toxins and green house gases being released into the air. For instance, bamboo is becoming popular as a source of wood for building homes. Bamboo is durable and it grows quickly therefore we are replenishing forests quickly instead of depleting them. As well, it absorbs four times as much carbon dioxide as most trees. Another method of obtaining wood is through harvesting wood from sustainable forests and from recycled wood. One should consider using ‘green’ lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Acquiring furniture made from eco-friendly methods is another way of protecting environment. There are many companies that recycle old furniture into beautiful products. As well, waste wood from lumber yards and wood from sustainable forests are also used to make eco-friendly furniture.
For concrete foundations, fly ash, the residue from coal-fired power plants, can be used to replace at least half the cement used to make concrete. Utilizing fly ash reduces the cost of concrete, and produces a superior quality product.
One main source of indoor pollution is carpeting and rugs. They are known for collecting toxins, dirt, dust, pet dander, pollen, and bacteria. Using an eco friendly carpet made from eco friendly materials helps reduce the amount of indoor harmful toxins in the home.
Other methods of making a home eco friendly include:
o Make sure windows are air tight to reduce energy consumption.
o Use recycled and environmentally friendly insulation that do not contain any chemicals. Baled straw is a good choice.
o Bricks can be recycled and reused with very little processing and energy consumption.
o Concrete countertops made from recycled newspaper and fly ash
o Paint walls with an eco-friendly paint.
o Use energy efficient light bulbs.
o Install ventilation systems to remove dust, dirt, and toxins that are in the air.
o There are a host of energy efficient appliances on the market such as refrigerators, washers, water heaters…etc.
o Install cabinets that do not contain any toxic substances
o Install fans in the bathroom to remove moisture and install exhaust fans over the stove to remove gases.
o For flooring, use either cork, bamboo, hardwood from certified sustainable forests, or biodegradable linoleum.
o Install low flow shower heads and water conserving toilets.
According to the Worldwatch Institute, an independent organization that evaluates serious global issues, “one-fourth of the world’s wood and one-sixth of its fresh water are used in building construction.” More companies are now responding to consumers’ demands for an eco friendly lifestyle. Because there are now such a wide range of earth friendly materials available, building an eco friendly home is one way we can reduce our carbon footprint.