Construction begins with a foundation and culminates in the final home, building, or addition. There are many methods to get from the beginning to the completion of any project. Some people will hire others to complete their construction work, while others choose to do it themselves. Sometimes this is out of necessity due to time restraints or financial limitations. Other times, it is a personal choice stemming from the desire to complete something by hand. In this article, we will outline the most sustainable and beneficial ways to go about home construction.
1. Building by Hand with Natural Materials
The benefits of building with natural materials are numerous, but perhaps the most important aspect is reducing deforestation. By choosing to build with wood, straw/clay (e.g., straw bale, cob), and stone, one is conscious of supporting these natural habitats and ecosystems. If we continue to cut down trees at the rate we are, rainforests will become deserts, and animal extinction rates will increase exponentially. The more forest land we preserve, the better off we all will be in the long run. When doing construction estimates, many people will forget to include the value of materials used – why not use materials already around you?
2. Hiring People from Your Community
Not only does hiring people from your community help others by giving them work and money they can use to support their families with just a few short hours of labour – but it also builds communities and networks within communities. When you hire someone nearby rather than bringing in outside help, you actively do something positive for your environment. When you provide work for local people rather than hiring outside workers, you also make long-lasting friendships. These friendships can last a lifetime, and they are built on concrete connections that are mutually beneficial.
3. Using Clean Energy Sources
Living off the grid is arguably one of the most sustainable ways to live on this planet. While it may be difficult for some to do so at first, it becomes natural and easier than being plugged in with time. Numerous technologies are available now that allow humans to generate their power without relying on coal-fired plants or nuclear reactors, two energy sources that contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and pose serious environmental risks. Going solar is not only sensible but one of the best methods of becoming sustainable.
4. Using Reclaimed Materials
Some materials are much more difficult to reuse or repurpose than others, but you can always be mindful of how your construction methods will impact the environment in the future. There are many picturesque homes and buildings around the world that have been constructed from centuries-old barns and even stone ruins. This not only preserves history but also reduces waste and saves resources.
5. Using Local Materials
Local materials may cost a little more than those shipped from across the country, but they produce significantly less carbon dioxide. By using local resources instead of transporting materials long distances, you can leave a smaller footprint on this earth and help ensure sustainability for future generations. When we use local resources – we avoid the use of oil to transport materials.
6. Avoiding Chemicals and Pesticides
It is sad but true: we tend to be over-reliant on chemicals and pesticides in our daily lives. From household cleaners to commercial fertilizers and insecticides, we are constantly exposing ourselves and the environment (including wildlife) to dangerous chemicals that can have lasting effects. By choosing not to use these harmful substances, you are helping the planet remain healthy and your health as well! Even if just one person makes this choice for himself or herself, it still helps, just like how even one person recycling makes a difference.
7. Learning to Repair, Replace, and Recycle
As humans, we can think ahead when it comes to problem-solving. In order to be sustainable in our thinking about construction and building projects, we must be conscious of how something will eventually need repair or replacement. If you make a purchase of any kind – whether it is an appliance or clothing – be sure to keep track of the product’s quality and durability. Because if you are not able to repair something when the time comes for it to be replaced, you will have no choice but to buy another brand new item. This wastes space in landfills and leaves a negative impact on the environment.
In conclusion, there are many sustainable benefits to using recycled materials, applying green principles in building design, and avoiding harmful chemicals. By choosing one or more of these methods, you can improve your quality of life while also improving the world’s quality around you.