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How to build an eco-friendly, energy-efficient home

26 Jul 2018

We have come a long way since the days of asbestos ceilings and long-drop toilets. In the modern building age, we now have recycled rubber roof tiles and water-saving flush mechanisms. Those building a home from scratch today have the opportunity to build an entirely eco-conscious home from the ground up - an exciting prospect that should not be passed up.

"For a home to be truly sustainable, it needs to be built in such a way as to make the most of its available natural resources," says Goslett.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says buyers who are building property today are spoilt for choice in terms of eco-friendly options. This has not always been the case, and many are still unaware of just how easy it is to build an environmentally-friendly home.

“The whole process of building can be incredibly wasteful in and of itself,” he says.

According to Goslett, these days the building process itself can also be accomplished in an environmentally responsible way, as long homeowners find a contractor that specialises in green projects.

“You can visit the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) - the council that regulates standards of environmentally responsible building in South Africa - website for a list of accredited professionals who can assist and advise on various projects.”

He says hiring an eco-aware architect is also vital in these sorts of projects. For a home to be truly sustainable, it needs to be built in such a way as to make the most of its available natural resources.

When building their homes, Goslett says homeowners should consider the position of their homes in relation to various climate conditions, for example, where the sun will catch, which direction the wind will connect with the home, etc., in order to maximise natural means of heating and cooling. You can also coat the roof with a white, pearlescent paint containing ceramic beads in order to reflect the sun’s heat on hot days.

Other features to consider include LED lighting throughout, dual-flush toilets and waterflow restrictors in showers

“For those hoping to install a pool, there is even a green solution for this, for example a hybridised version of an eco-pool. If the pool is fitted adjacent to a vertical garden, the plant roots from this garden can filter nutrients from the water in the pool, which in turn keeps the pool clean, nourishes the plants and eliminates the need for expensive chemicals and weekly pool maintenance,” says Goslett.

Goslett says a small 250-WATT pump is all that is required for this kind of eco-pool, making it extremely efficient when compared to a regular pool pump. Homeowners can use this as inspiration to create a similar feature in their own eco-conscious homes.

“Today, the options for sustainable homes really are endless. Buyers just need to spend some time researching what is out there before they default to traditional forms of building,” says Goslett.

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