Building Plans for an Environmentally Sustainable House Design
Below is a list of design elements that are used in building plans for an environmentally sustainable house. Each design component shows ways of reducing the thermal effects of the outdoor environment in the house and also uses the environment for the benefit of the house.
The design elements are as follow:
Placing overhangs, also called awnings, over windows is essential for preventing solar heat from going through the windows. Since solar heat radiation is usually the highest source of heat inside a home during the summer, window overhangs become the most important element for a sustainable house design.
High Performance Windows
High performance windows are great for blocking out solar heat during the summer and keeping the house insulated from the cold in the winter. Include in your design windows with low U-values and low solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC).
Vegetation on a green roof does an excellent job at absorbing the sun’s radiation that would otherwise be absorbed by the roof and into the house. A green roof will greatly reduce your air conditioning bill.
Rainwater Collection System
A rainwater collection system is used to collect water from the rain and use it as non-potable water. The water is collected on the roof, goes through channels, and then into a storage tank where it is used in bathrooms inside the house. The water is filtered and disinfected with an ultraviolet light before it is used in bathrooms.
Solar panels capture the sun’s radiation energy so that it can be converted into electricity and used in the house. Solar panels should be installed in their optimum position to maximize their efficiency.
Attic insulation is a necessity in cold climates to prevent heat from escaping the house through the roof during the winter. Placing 6 inch insulation panels underneath the roof will provide good enough insulation for most cold climates.