Building eco-friendly not only helps a home or business reduce the impact on the environment, but it can also help lower upkeep and maintenance costs. Using environmentally friendly products for construction in the building itself will help ensure that it is eco-friendly from the ground up, while installing technologies like low-energy lightbulbs can lower the amount of energy consumed. Some measures, such as installing a rooftop garden to catch and recycle rain water, do not even have to add much to the cost of building the structure.
When building eco-friendly, the materials used are one of the most important things to consider. Many lumber products are created from forests that have been around for hundreds of years, and will take just as long to replenish. Plenty of eco-friendly options are available, however, including reusing wood from old buildings to create a rustic look, or purchasing lumber from certified forests continuously replanted with fast-growing trees. For interiors, bamboo is a sustainable material that can be used for different applications. Materials that resemble wood but which are made of synthetics can be used for outdoor projects.
The interior of the structure is also important to consider when building eco-friendly. Environmentally friendly paints made with a soy base break down more easily when cleaned up and rinsed away, while some types of carpets and rugs are made from sustainable wool fibers instead of synthetic materials. Many companies also use products with large percentages of recycled materials for making countertops, backsplashes, and floor tiles.
Including fixtures that are energy-efficient can go a long way to making a building eco-friendly. Installing sinks, toilets, washing machines, and showers that minimize water use can have a huge impact on the efficiency of the home. Fluorescent bulbs and energy-efficient windows can help make the most of heating and electrical resources, while tankless water heaters do not waste energy keeping water hot, but instead heat only what is needed when it is needed.
There are also options for building eco-friendly with a unique look. Even the position of a building can have an impact on how environmentally friendly it is; windows correctly positioned to be exposed to as much sun as possible will not only cut down on the need for artificial lighting, but will also provide natural heating. Solar panels can capture the sun's energy and help power the home, while using an earth-based material will take advantage of an age-old method of insulation. Rooftop gardens can help catch and recycle rain water, especially when turned into a vegetable garden that supplies the building with fresh foods. Drainage systems can also help collect rain water, which can then be used to water plants and gardens instead of simply being passed back into the groundwater or sewer system.