Sustainable Housing Down Under
The sustainable housing movement is becoming more and more popular in industrial nations, not just developing countries. Housing in the southwestern United States is increasingly popular with adobe and "Earth Ship" houses being the most popular designs. Australia is also leading the way in developing sustainable living in one of the harshest living conditions, The Outback. Living in a sustainable house is not about living "off the land" but about a change in lifestyle. There are some modern considerations to remember however. You will need to protect your home against natural disasters, fire, and floods, which are a part of life in "The Bush". Enjoy the freedom and satisfaction that comes with living green in the wide open, with the assurance that you have protected your sustainable home.
Minimise Waste in your Sustainable Development
In general, construction can produce a lot of waste. Sustainable construction materials can be recycled, or reused, often reincorporating the waste and scraps into the building at hand or another building. Materials like the adobe discussed previously, can be remixed, and reused. Incorporating Sustainable Design when building your home and using standard dimensions can also cut back on waste, requiring less trimming of those materials that come in standard sizes. Whatever material you use, for it to be sustainable it must be able to be recycled, reused or possibly easy to decompose when thrown away without contributing toxins to the environment. A sustainable development will also produce few or no emissions. Many modern homes are filled with highly processed materials or chemicals that let emissions out into the home and the surrounding environment. These chemicals can be toxic to local wildlife, and to your family, sometimes even causing developmental and other problems in children.
Materials for your Sustainable Building
Glues, sealants, and paints can all release harmful emissions over time. Low VOC alternatives are healthier and more environmentally friendly. Kitchen cabinets and counters are one of the biggest contributors to poor indoor air quality. The glues and spray coatings that go into and onto these cabinets and counters often contain known carcinogens. Steel or other metals make good alternatives to the wood cabinets, especially when the metal is recycled. Using low VOC glues and sealants will also help make your kitchen healthier.
Insulation for Sustainable Building
Insulation has been a problem throughout history. From asbestos, to the pink fibre glass stuff that looks like cotton candy, insulation poses many health risks to the occupants of the building as well as to the surrounding environment. Luckily, more suitable materials can be used with a design sustianable approach and thinking, at no risk to the people in the building. Gone are the days of the pink, cotton candy insulation. Now, you can have many different choices that are not quite as toxic and work just as well, often for close to the same price. Cellulose is nothing more than bits of recycled paper shredded and sprayed into the walls of the home. Some boric acid is used to repel pests and moulds but no significant health effects have resulted from this. The paper holds up surprisingly well in damp conditions, and in the unfortunate event of a fire, simply smoulders, giving off fewer toxic fumes than other insulators, and giving you more time to get out of the building. Other eco-friendly options include sheep wool, cotton, and soy based foams.