Some environmentally friendly building techniques to keep in mind as your new home is built include the following ideas.
Create a better insulated home. This will reduce heat and cool air loss, and save you money while decreasing the home's energy consumption. How to do this? Consider using raised heel trusses, which bumps more insulation space into your roof. Also consider insulating the outside of the foundation.
Advanced caulking can help to reduce air inflow and unwanted temperature changes; a good air seal can be confirmed with a "blower door" test. And testing the cooling and heating ducts for leaks, and subsequently sealing them, can also add up to environmental and financial savings, as well.
You can also reduce environmental impact by selecting, where possible, quickly renewable resources such as strawboard, wheatgrass, cork or bamboo. Consider also using engineered lumber, which can also replace lumber cut from old-growth ecosystems.
Insulation is available which is crafted from a sustainable resource: sheep's wool.
Some traditional wood products, such as deck planking, siding and sills, have now been created from plastic lumber, which utilizes recycled plastic jugs. A side benefit is that these products require little maintenance from the homeowner.
Another idea to reduce consumption is the use of durable flooring and pathway items, such as tile, slate and stone. These materials tend to last longer and therefore don't need to be replaced nearly as often as other choices might require.
Select high-efficiency appliances, including washers, water heaters, furnaces, and light fixtures. Work to incorporate daylight as a natural light source into your design wherever possible.
The effort to reduce household water consumption can be aided by installing rainwater collection systems. Think also about installing less lawn and more drought resistant plants in your landscape.
Use reclaimed lumber where possible to keep this material out of the landfill. Multiple building products have been created from recycled stock. Also stockpile and reuse the topsoil on your lot; don't allow it to be hauled away.
At the construction site, a de facto recycling center can not only save the need to rent a dumpster, but can also avoid putting leftover construction materials in a landfill. By posting a recycling plan for the construction site, and working to recycle such items as concrete, packaging, cardboard, drywall, and lumber, builders can then take these materials to recyclers. These items can then be reused, rather than just creating more waste stream.
4. BREATHE MORE EASILY AT HOME
New home construction can be dogged by "off-gassing" materials, such as carpet adhesives and solvent-based varnishes and paints. Avoid such problems by electing to use natural, low-VOC paints. Ask that carpet be tacked rather than glued.