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Sustainable and dream home do go together. If your Dream Home is going to stay your Dream Home, we must consider the economic impact of your new dwelling. Here are some considerations for your design.
Where do you want to be located? There are many things to consider, including proximity to services, quality of schools, setting as well as distance. If you choose to live to work and business you frequent, like the grocery store, you have made a Sustainable choice. Unless of course you have means of efficient transportation. But even then, you may want to spend your evenings somewhere besides your car. Urban dwellers often have opportunity to reduce stress and fuel consumption, by using public transportation. If you can, live close enough to work, restaurants, your bank and a grocery store, that you can walk. Transportation consumes about 1/4th of the energy consumption in the United States. However it is difficult to find an pastoral setting in the city, and land costs also are typically higher in densely populated areas. If you have a young family, perhaps the overriding consideration would be quality schools, or a place where you and your children can safely play, explore and relax. Examine your priorities, your budget and your concerns. Then choose your location.
Environmentally Balanced Building Materials
Recycled items - glass, wood, concrete, clay, and locally obtained stone and rock. Recycling materials often require less energy than converting raw resources into new materials. Items that are replenished quickly is a consideration if new materials are being used. Lower Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) - Look for materials that have low VOC emitting materials. Using low VOC materials promotes better health, helps control allergies and are better for the environment.
Waste and Water Management
What can be done with waste materials? Areas for composting is a consideration. Water Management is an important consideration. Is gray water being reused? Can rainwater be harvested? Plantings that are native to the area will reduce the amount of water needed to ensure they live. Planting tropic plants in a dry area will not help with water management. Research the area. Drive around to see what grows naturally. Consider these plants and grasses when designing the landscape.
The lot you've bought for the home of your dreams: Does it face south, or directly north? Is the longest dimension east-west? For Colorado's climate, if a house can face south or within 15 degrees of due south, it stands to benefit the most from passive solar gain in the months heating is needed.