Sustainable homes are those that incorporate sustainable or recycled building materials into the design. They also use renewable energy sources wherever possible, and rely on eco-friendly furnishings, paints, appliances, and cleaning products. Residents of sustainable homes also often try to incorporate sustainable living into their everyday lives. They look for new ways to shrink waste, conserve energy, and reduce their carbon footprint. This is often accomplished by using less water, less electricity, and more eco-friendly products as often as possible.
Also called "green homes," "eco-friendly homes," "sustainable construction," and "solar houses," sustainable homes are generally beneficial for the environment as they rely on the five basic principles of sustainable architecture and sustainable building. Sustainable homes use earth's natural resources wisely and improve indoor air quality. They optimize the use of the sun and use the land responsibly. Sustainable homes are high-performance, moisture-resistant dwellings.
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Sustainable homes are not only green on the inside, but they are also green outside. This means the owners of green buildings, whether they be commercial, multi-family, or public, and owners of green homes will frequently use all-natural pesticides and fertilizers instead of commercial products for landscapes, lawns, and gardens. They are also more likely to compost. Many homeowners will plant trees and shrubs on the northern exposure to create a natural windbreak, and they may also allow a small portion of their lawn to grow wild in order to provide a natural habitat for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
Many benefits are offered by sustainable homes, but the main benefit is how it helps to reduce emissions. In the United States, average homes generate 20 percent of the nation’s emissions. By opting for a sustainable home, green homeowners can help reduce the greenhouse gasses added to the atmosphere.
Sustainable homes can be built from the ground up or prefabricated, or an existing home can be converted into a sustainable home. Prefabricated homes, such as the modular Glidehouse®, can be erected just about anywhere. In addition, they may offer a shortened sustainable construction time frame, prepackaged green living solutions, and high-quality sustainable architecture design.
People who are interested in living a greener lifestyle, but who don't have the resources to build a new sustainable house, can improve the sustainability of an existing structure. Green building novices can convert one area of their home or apartment at a time, while others can hire a green building specialist to help with a building overhaul. A few of the sustainable materials and furnishings commonly used in sustainable building or rehabbing include ceiling fans, triple paned windows, reclaimed lumber or natural flooring, compact fluorescent lights, and insulation made from cotton, mineral wool, or cellulose. These are natural materials, as mineral wool is made from natural rock or blast-furnace slag — a by-product of steel production, and cellulose is made from recycled newsprint.