Getting an opportunity to build your own home is an incredible blessing to say the least, but it can also be extremely daunting. The decision-making process can feel tedious and overwhelming – choosing a floorplan, doors, windows, heating and ventilation systems and the list can go on and on. What it also means, is that in a time when climate change is a growing concern, you get the chance to make a difference by choosing more sustainable options for your home (yay!).
So, where do you start? Turn to the experts! Award-winning, Colorado based design firm, Charles Cunniffe Architects are dedicated to a humanistic, socially responsible and technologically sophisticated vision of design. Their unique and thoughtful designs are proof that you can build sustainably without sacrificing style. And lucky for all of us, they’ve provided 5 ways in which we can build a greener home.
Location is everything. Starting with the site, work with your architect to position the home to maximize passive solar and ventilation. Then carefully place windows and door systems to take advantage of natural light, shading, ventilation and of course the views. If the site allows, look for opportunities to integrate solar, geothermal and other means of generating and storing power.
Design a floor-plan that accommodates smaller and larger groups. Since first and second homes are typically utilized differently throughout the year, think about the way you live, and take the time to study your lifestyle as your architect creates the floor plans. In addition to the right floor plan creating a harmonious flow in the home, it allows you to heat and cool the spaces that are being utilized, vs. heating the whole house if only a portion is being enjoyed.
Choose materials wisely. Create a low-maintenance exterior by selecting materials that can withstand the elements and require minimal yearly maintenance. At Elk Peak Ranch, one of the exterior materials used was Rysysta siding, which is a sustainable, composite siding material. With a plethora of luxurious and sustainable materials on the market today, you don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability.
Smart Ventilation. Work with your architect and engineers to carefully select your HVAC and home automation systems. The advancements being made right now in engineering are allowing even the largest homes to go off the grid or give back to the power source. Working with clients who are building their legacy homes to be passed down to the next generation, we are seeing first-hand how they are saving future generations resources and costs.
Consider drought-tolerant plantings with high efficiency and limited irrigation system, for reduced water usage. Landscape Architects are designing such beautiful water-safe landscapes that complement the home’s architecture and aesthetic.
Thank you Charles Cunniffe Architects for these great tips on how to build more sustainable spaces!