In recent years, the construction industry has seen a shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly building practices, and one such practice is the construction of Eco Build homes. These homes are designed to minimize the environmental impact of construction while also offering cost savings over traditional homes. In this blog post, we will explore the cost comparison of Eco Build homes versus traditional homes and the waste generated by both types of construction. We will also discuss the use of sustainable materials, technologies for collecting and cleaning water, and maintaining clean air inside the home.
Cost Comparison of Eco Build vs. Traditional Home Construction:
When it comes to the cost of building a home, it’s important to consider not just the upfront costs, but also the long-term costs. While Eco Build homes may have a higher upfront cost than traditional homes, they offer significant savings over time. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), an Eco Build home can save up to 30% on energy bills compared to a traditional home. This is because Eco Build homes are designed to be more energy-efficient, with features like insulated walls, high-performance windows, and efficient heating and cooling systems.
In addition, Eco Build homes are often built with sustainable materials that are durable and require less maintenance over time. For example, using wood as a primary building material is a sustainable choice as long as it is sourced from responsibly managed forests. In contrast, traditional homes may be built with materials like concrete and steel, which can be expensive and have a higher environmental impact.
Waste Generated by Eco Builds vs. Traditional Construction:
One of the significant benefits of Eco Build homes is that they generate less waste during construction. Traditional construction methods often generate large amounts of waste, including construction debris, excess packaging, and unused materials. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the construction industry generates an estimated 170 million tons of waste each year. This waste often ends up in landfills, where it can take decades to decompose.
In contrast, Eco Build homes are designed to generate less waste during construction. They use materials that are pre-cut to the right size, minimizing the amount of waste generated. In addition, any waste generated during construction can often be recycled or reused. For example, wood scraps can be used as mulch or fuel for wood-burning stoves.
Using Sustainable Materials:
Sustainable materials are an essential part of Eco Build homes. These materials are sourced from renewable resources and have a lower environmental impact than traditional materials. For example, using wood as a primary building material is a sustainable choice as long as it is sourced from responsibly managed forests. Other sustainable materials used in Eco Build homes include bamboo, which is fast-growing and has a low environmental impact, and recycled materials like glass and plastic.
One of the key advantages of using sustainable materials is that they have a lower environmental impact than traditional materials. For example, wood is a renewable resource that can be grown and harvested sustainably. In contrast, materials like concrete and steel are resource-intensive to produce and can have a higher environmental impact.
Technologies for Collecting and Cleaning Water:
Water conservation is an essential consideration for Eco Build homes, and many use technologies to collect and clean water. For example, rainwater harvesting systems can be used to collect rainwater from the roof, which can then be used for irrigation or household use. Greywater recycling systems can also be used to collect and treat wastewater from sinks, showers, and other sources, which can then be reused for non-potable purposes like toilet flushing.
Maintaining Clean Air Inside the Home:
Indoor air quality is an important consideration for any home, but it is especially important in Eco Build homes. These homes are designed to be energy-efficient and airtight, which means that proper ventilation is essential to maintain good indoor air quality. Technologies such as heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) can be used to provide fresh air while also recovering the heat from outgoing air. This can help to improve energy efficiency while also maintaining good indoor air quality.
In addition, Eco Build homes can be designed to minimize the use of materials and substances that contain chemicals that could be harmful over time. For example, paints, adhesives, and other building materials can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to human health. Eco Build homes can use low-VOC or zero-VOC paints and other building materials that have minimal environmental impact and are safe for human health.
In addition to the other sustainable building practices, technology can help minimize waste and cost. My design software of choice is Chief Architect, which is based out of Coeur d’alene, ID of all places. Chief incorporates a built in tool called EasyFrame and when used in conjunction with Chief Architect, the EasyFrame system can help to create a more structurally accurate model and we can minimize waste and cost. The EasyFrame system allows me to export the lumber take off directly to the lumber yard. They can then cut each board exactly to the dimensions required and minimize waste. As this system improves and reaches mainstream we should see a reduction of the amount of lumber sent out to each jobsite and reduction in the overall waste.
In addition to reducing waste and cost, the EasyFrame system can also help to speed up the construction process. By providing accurate cutting lists, builders can streamline the construction process and help to avoid delays caused by inaccurate measurements and estimating.
The website ecohome.net might be the best resource available for all things Eco-Build. It’s comprehensive and has great community feedback from both pros and consumers. I highly recommend you take a look.
Eco Build homes offer significant advantages over traditional homes in terms of cost, environmental impact, and overall sustainability. While they may have a higher upfront cost, they offer significant long-term savings and can help to minimize the environmental impact of construction. By using sustainable materials, technologies for collecting and cleaning water, and maintaining clean air inside the home, Eco Build homes can provide a healthy and sustainable living environment for homeowners. As the construction industry continues to shift towards sustainable building practices, Eco Build homes will play an increasingly important role in creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.