There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating green home plans. Choosing the best environmentally-friendly home design typically involves choosing a design that works with your natural surroundings. For example, if you live in a sunny region, your home can make good use of a solar energy design. Another point to consider when choosing the best green home plan is what you're willing to trade. Some of the highest efficiency homes, for example, are designed to be mostly built underground, but these designs sacrifice natural light. The availability or lack of specific building materials may restrict the number of house plans you can choose from as well.
Outside factors such as climate and building site can have a major impact on the type of home you can build. A number of energy efficient home plans use solar energy to help heat or cool homes; this will be a concern if your property is heavily shaded and your home will not receive much direct sunlight. Likewise, climate is also a consideration, as certain eco-friendly homes are designed for hot and humid regions while others are specifically designed to endure harsh winters. Wall thickness, building materials and the number of windows have an impact on the energy efficiency of a home, and the best plans are designed to work within your region.
Another consideration is how much square footage you wish to have and the overall usefulness of the home's layout. If the plan does not fit your family size or lifestyle, or if it does not visually appeal to you, continue searching until you find something that does. Thousands of green home plans can be found using an Internet search engine; green consultants and architects can also be found online if you wish to discuss design elements and implementation. Some elements of green home plans can be redesigned based on your particular needs or requirements.
One specific type of energy efficient housing is referred to as an earth-sheltered or "earth-bermed" home. These homes typically have three sides covered by earth or dirt and can be built into an existing hillside. Alternatively, the home can be built above-ground and earth can be piled against the three walls. This type of home is very energy efficient, but only admits light from one side. Heating costs are low thanks to the insulating layer of earth, and there are no cooling costs in the summer as the home is mostly protected from the sun's heat. However, if having a lot of natural light is important to you, a different type of home may be a better choice.
Other types of eco-friendly homes incorporate a large number of windows into their design to promote natural lighting and cut energy bills. The windows must have a high energy rating, or they will allow too much heat to leak out during the cold season. Some green home plans are also designed while keeping alternative power in mind and include specific layouts for solar panels. They may also include instructions on using windmills to help power your home. Some designs recommend using recycled components for an added green touch as well.
The level of green you are searching for usually plays a part in the design of your home as well. Some people search for specific environmentally-friendly aspects, and others search for a more comprehensive package that incorporates additional components such as insulation, counter-tops and flooring that do not contain potentially toxic compounds. Your chosen building material will also play a part in your home choice: if you wish to have a wooden house, you will not be able to have an earth-bermed home, for example. Research is the most important part of selecting an appropriate design, and you should make a list of your requirements before you begin to review green home plans.