Easy Ways to Make a Building Green (in All Senses of the Word)

Have you heard of the Bosco Verticale? It's a proposed set of apartment buildings in Milan, Italy. The buildings will take green living to a whole new level since some 780 trees and shrubs will be planted on ledges attached to the building, providing insulation against noise pollution, and helping to absorb carbon dioxide. The building will be both literally and figuratively green, thanks to the colour of the foliage and the environmentally friendly applications of the building design. While this is a rather cool concept, it's not like you could incorporate this type of garden into any new home (or renovation work) you might be planning. Having said that, there are some easy ways to make your new building design as green as possible—in all senses of the word. These can also be added to an existing building without too much effort.

The Green Roof

A green roof is essentially the act of adding live vegetation to your roof. This is often simply a rooftop lawn, sometimes supplemented with small shrubs and other plants. It's aesthetically pleasing (making your entire roof a lush, living green) and adds an effective level of insulation to your roof, decreasing your electricity usage. It helps to filter out impurities in the air (as well as absorbing carbon dioxide), greatly increasing the air quality in and around the building. This can be particularly beneficial if you or someone in your home suffers from asthma or any kind of respiratory distress. It's not the cheapest option, but it can increase the lifespan of the roof and even increase the resale value of your home. A green roof can be incorporated into your design plans and can even be added to an existing roof once the necessary drainage has been installed.

Natural Protection

Consider adding external window boxes or planters outside each window in your home. This is particularly important in the primary living areas, such as the living room and all bedrooms. This window box can be constructed from a sustainable material and should be used to hold plants that are known to repel insects. There are a huge number of plants that act as natural insect repellants, so it's really just a matter of choosing plants you like the look of, and that thrive in your local climate. These plants allow you to keep the windows open without any kind of barrier to reduce air flow, which even insect screens can do. This allows your home to remain cool and ventilated, while still staying free of insects. This also means that you are unlikely to need harsh insect killing sprays in your home, which is also beneficial to the environment.

Inside Your Home

While you might want a home that has a minimal impact on the environment as a whole, it's important to consider the (extremely) local environment—the interior of your home. Indoor plants greatly improve the air quality inside your home, and this is particularly important when a home is new. Some materials used in construction (particularly paints and textiles) can undertake a process known as outgassing. Plasticizers and solvents can vent from a newly installed textile or a freshly painted wall, and these can contribute to poor health (especially to those who suffer from asthma or any kind of respiratory distress). Indoor plants purify the air, minimising the impact of any outgassing. Even if outgassing is not a concern, indoor plants will keep the air inside your home cleaner than it otherwise would be. A green home should be green both inside and out.

So while some aspects of building a green home might seem complicated, it's easy enough to incorporate them into your design, or to add them to an existing property. Adding a selection of purifying indoor plants doesn't require much work at all. The benefits of a green home are numerous, and it can simply be better for both your family and the whole environment.

For more information, contact Bill Jacobs Pty. Ltd. or a similar company.