Sustainable Home Design

by Rebecca Lee, Design Coordinator

Designing and renovating a home that is environmentally responsible as well as economical, beautiful, and fun to live in is not as difficult as some may think. “Going green” is one of the hottest trends in design today, specifically in progressive parts of the world like Silicon Valley. The idea of creating a home where casual sophistication meets responsible design defines the concept of sustainable design.

Sustainable design is an extremely useful tool for affordable remodeling, and the results have been substantial in home improvements. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) rating system, insulated wall constructions, solar panels, and greywater systems are major contributors to sustainability. Minor materials such as non-toxic paints, non-VOC (volatile organic compounds) candles, and fixtures made from reclaimed or organic materials will also add value to your home while providing a smaller carbon footprint for your property.

By incorporating sustainability into your home’s plan every step of the way, you will create major household advancements benefiting homeowners and prospective buyers alike. Here are a few elements with which you can easily and sustainably design your home.

Non-Toxic/Non-VOC Paint 

Volatile organic compounds are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Mainstream paints, stains, and finishes release toxic emissions through off-gassing for years after application, resulting in the average home’s interior air being three times more polluted than outdoor air. Luckily, creators are now producing non-toxic solutions made from natural raw ingredients such as water, milk casein, natural latex, plant oils, resins, dyes, and essential oils. These types of paint can range greatly depending on the level of VOC you are trying to avoid.

Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions 

Nowadays, shopping for new flooring is difficult due to the enormous amount of flooring selections available. To narrow your selection, consider green flooring materials such as grass or natural fiber carpeting, Forest Stewardship Counsel (“FSC”) -certified hardwood, or reclaimed wood. For instance, bamboo floors are extremely popular, affordable, and durable, and their usage doesn’t damage our forests because bamboo grows abundantly at extremely fast rates. It is also naturally resistant to water, mildew, and insects, eliminating the need for extra protection or the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides.

There are many manufacturers that produce synthetic goods to reduce environmental and health costs, including an abundance of flooring and carpeting made from recycled and eco-friendly materials. These synthetic floor materials are durable and stylish, and the green factor will certainly provide a responsible, healthy way to design your home.

Efficient Doors and Windows 

Due to concerns about global warming and the rising rates of energy, many modern designers have joined the sustainability movement to help reduce pollution. This excellent concept helps homeowners easily add repurposed, recycled, and green products to their environments. Homeowners are now often using salvaged lumber, recovered aluminum, engineered wood, and bamboo in their building choices. Doors and windows can be retrofitted or designed by substituting traditional construction materials with vinyl, insulated glass, and recycled glass.

There are many creative ways to enhance windows and doors by using green building materials, but simply making sure these openings are properly sealed and leak-proof will prove to be one of the most energy-efficient ways to reduce your energy consumption. Window coverings of organic materials can be creatively decorated to look fantastic while also providing extra insulation and energy conservation.

In addition to providing health benefits, saving on energy, and creating a more environmentally friendly home, designing sustainably can actually stretch your remodeling dollar. Today, more interior designers, architects, and builders are planning with this concept in mind. We want to be able to provide all of the luxuries one anticipates in a modern residence, without the environmental and economic burdens we have placed on our homes and environment in the past.

The importance of environmental vigilance is clearly demonstrated by the way DeLeon Realty prepares its listings for the market. We understand buyers place a premium on homes that offer environmentally friendly features and sustainable materials. That is why we attempt to incorporate these elements into our listings whenever possible.