Ideas for an Environmentally Friendly Dream Home Demand for environmentally friendly custom homes has grown dramatically over the last decade. At one time, the interest in "green homes" was limited to only the most dedicated activists. As sustainable building materials and the cost of energy-efficient buildings has come down, interest in these homes have increased. An environmentally friendly dream home is 30 percent more energy-efficient than a traditionally built custom home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states, "Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building." An environmentally friendly home starts at the design stage of a custom home. It includes everything from the layout to using sustainable building materials. In additional for energy efficiency, there is a strong focus on the use of renewable energy and reducing water reduction. Even the landscaping is a factor, placing shade trees strategically to help cool a home in the summer but allow the sun to warm the house in the winter. Here are a few ideas to consider for an environmentally friendly dream home: High-Efficiency Heating & Cooling - These systems are designed for increased comfort and indoor air quality, and provide energy efficiency. A geothermal unit is the most environmentally friendly choice. Complete Thermal Enclosure System - A home's energy efficiency depends on closing the building envelope, which is a technical term for air sealing the house. This alone saves 20 percent on utility bills by keeping heating and cooling energy from escaping. Efficient Lighting & Appliances - Advanced lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances provide high-performance with lower utility costs. Your appliances represent 20 percent of your home's overall energy usage. Water Protection System - Moisture is a concern in an air sealed building. Many traditional building practices are still the best choice, but selecting the right building materials is important for preventing water and mold damage. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - When designing your home, consider reusing and recycling materials. For instance, with a two-tone kitchen design you get a unique, luxury look using both antique and modern cabinets. If you would like to talk more about an environmentally friendly dream home, or need more information, please contact us.