Designing a sustainable home extension means viewing the entire project holistically. It involves a careful analysis of all the materials used and a detailed plan as to how the features of the extension can influence sustainability over the entire lifespan of a home.
If you’re planning on a sustainable home extension, you’ve landed at the right spot — this article will guide your choices with 7 smart ways to incorporate sustainable design features into your home. Also, our Eco & Sustainable Gurus are here to help you find the right solution for your home extension.
Home Extension: Use Recycled & Reclaimed Materials
Credits: Innovative Building Solutions
Recycling and reclamation are important parts of sustainability, and just about any product in your home extension can be sourced through recycled and reclaimed materials. Below we’ve rounded up a list of the recycled, reclaimed, and reused ideas you can try out to support your aims for an environment-friendly process.
Countertops made of reclaimed wood or recycled glass.
Reclaimed bricks, stones, and pavers.
Roofing made of reclaimed tiles.
Wallboards made from agricultural waste like straw.
New landscaping made of reused soils from the excavation.
Renewable Energy Solutions
The trend for renewable energy technologies is rapidly spiking and gaining popularity. Therefore, integrating renewable power generation into the extension is a great solution when building a sustainable home. A few options you can consider include:
Passive solar energy: With a passive solar design, your house will capture and use energy from the Sun. It can be easily incorporated into an extension, but it requires professional installation.
Wind turbines: Wind turbines mounted on a roof or installed in the backyard can provide a clean and efficient energy source. However, depending on your area, you might be restricted to a local permit and a few rules and regulations.
Geothermal heat: Although the ground might be frozen in the cooler months, the soil deep in the ground is still warm. Use the Earth’s heat to fulfil your home’s energy needs, but keep in mind that you might have to make multiple landscape alterations.
Windows account for around 18% of lost energy. This explains why installing high-performance windows, which include features like special coatings, double glazing, nonconductive framing materials, and air-tight construction, will make your home energy-efficient and quieter.
For a warmer climate, opt for low solar gain windows that also facilitate ventilation. Triple-glazed windows with the right U-value will work for colder climates.
Talk To Sustainability Experts
Sustainability is an area of rapid innovation in home systems, home building, lighting, and appliances. As such, we recommend speaking to one of our Eco & Sustainability Gurus before proceeding with your sustainable extension project can definitely make the process easier.
They can offer advice on various sustainable materials you could use, find opportunities within your plan to improve sustainability and help you with such challenges as insulation, dampness and overheating.
Think long-term when taking up a lighting project in your extension. Look for LED light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs, install dimmers to extend the lifespan of your lightbulbs and use less wattage, employ tactical task lighting like floor and table lamps to avoid the pitfall of excessive overhead lighting, and choose paint colours strategically (for example, cool hues that reflect more light unlike dark hues that absorb the available light).
Water-Conserving Plumbing Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures and toilets can help contribute to a sustainable extension, too! The latest technologies now offer plumbing fixtures that have reduced or low-flow water usage for all your faucets and shower heads. Similarly, you can find dual-flush toilets, which allow you to choose a higher or lower flush rate as required. To further enhance sustainability, consider looking out for the following:
Performance showerheads - A typical showerhead uses approximately 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Upgrading to smart fixtures will take it down to around 1.75 gallons of water per minute.
Re-circulating hot water systems - They get you hot water faster, which helps avoid wasting any cold water while you wait for hot water.
Water-saving faucets: Install fixtures like gaskets and aerators to cut down on water flow while also maintaining pressure.
After all, a smart home is a sustainable home!
Rain Water Collection
Credit: Daniel Yudchitz
Why let all the rainwater go down the drain? Install downspouts and roof gutters to direct rainwater to a concrete underground detention tank (with pumps to circulate the water). The collected water can then be used to irrigate the garden or flush the toilets. Depending on your area, rainwater can even be used for drinking if filtered and purified.
Our Final Thoughts
Incorporating sustainable features in a home extension is often thought to be an expensive choice. But remember, eco-friendly practices, whether embraced through your interior or lifestyle, are always an effective, cost-efficient, and beneficial decision in the long term.
While there are many pros and cons of a home extension, incorporating the aforementioned sustainable features can surely make it worth the money, time, and effort invested. Let a sustainable design plan accompany you in your upcoming home extension, and see how it transforms your life!
Looking for a sustainable home extension? Book one of our Eco & Sustainability Gurus for a 30-minute video call. Transforming your home into a space you love shouldn't be a daunting task. With HiiGuru you can save time, avoid costly mistakes and bring your goals to life with experts by your side.