Category Archives: sustainability

Building a Green Building: Key Principles

These days, a lot of people are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of having an energy efficient home and this is why they employ the services of a reputable energy consulting firm to help them design a home that is sustainable and eco-friendly.

What is an Energy Efficient Home?

An energy efficient home often has features such as wind power, geothermal heating and solar panels. But green living is not solely based on the use of renewable energy. It’s also about designing the house in such a way that energy becomes more efficiently utilized; a home that is well insulated and properly positioned to rely mostly on passive cooling and heating

With this kind of home, you will use minimal energy to light, heat and your household appliances. A house with majority of its windows are facing south (passive solar) can lessen their heating requirements by up to 25% without spending anything.

But it’s also important to design the home properly so that during summer, you can avoid overheating. Your building should be well insulated and properly sealed so that cool air won’t escape due to leak or moisture.

Go for a Reasonably Sized Home

Naturally, the smaller the house, the more efficient it is. It also means you’ll need lesser materials to build it, less space to cool and less space to heat. If you’re a small family then you don’t need to build a big house. We recommend an average of 700 square feet per person.

Make Your Home Flexible

Design your home in such a way that it accommodates any future changes with little disruption. Your household size will change over time so you should also make your home flexible. You can lower environmental and financial costs brought about by a major renovation if you anticipate possible changes while you’re still at the design stage.

Use Reclaimed Materials

You can re-use existing building materials and doing so makes you part of the green building movement. Green building begins at the design phase so by incorporating used materials, you are doing your part to help the environment and at the same time, save money on construction costs.

Design Your Green Home

Regardless of whether you design your dream home yourself or you are going to hire a professional to do it for you, the important thing is that you keep in mind the principles of green living. If you have a designer for your home, make sure you pick one who shares your vision or at the very least, understands what you want.

There’s also the option of buying a pre-drawn plan which may be cheaper however, it can be difficult to find a plan for a green home. If you have the time and the inclination, you can draw up your own plan. It’s fun and rewarding, and you’ll learn a lot from this project too. Just make sure you understand the building regulations in your locality so you don’t end up breaking any rules.

Homemade Hard Apple Cider

Homemade Hard Apple Cider

Note: This article was originally written in early 2012, and I’ve done quite a bit of cider making since then and have learned a lot. I’ve updated this post to reflect that, as well as added a few recipes I’ve tried or developed on my own. Since my wife and I have officially begun our journey to FI,… Continue Reading

Homemade Natural Baby Wipes

When we first found out my wife was pregnant, we started looking into ways to lower the cost of raising children, because according to some the cost of raising children from birth to age 18 is above a quarter million dollars. I could not believe that then (and still don’t), but we both started looking… Continue Reading

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

Rebecca blogs at Stapler Confessions about her journey paying off $200,000 in student loans by living frugally and snagging free batteries. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to find out about great deals.   Have you ever used foaming hand soap? I love them because they feel a little luxurious. My son loves them because he has instant suds, which he… Continue Reading

Homemade Dryer Sheets

Homemade Dryer Sheets

Earlier this week, I sent out an email to the list and talked about what I was going to start the year off here at SLB. I got some difficult personal stuff out of the way early, but I promised them that I would fill out a few of my most popular posts. If you’re… Continue Reading