So you want to live green. Shrink your carbon footprint. Save the planet. The good news is that there are countless ways to do this. Often, you can combine many green elements in planning your home. But, sooner or later, experts say, you’ll still have to weigh some choices.
Saving energy: An energy-efficient home cuts carbon emissions and utility costs. You can reduce your consumption of fossil fuel by having more windows, building your home so that it gets maximum sunlight and air, or adding solar panels.
Avoid toxic materials: Production of polyvinyl chloride (also known as vinyl or PVC) is a polluting, energy-gobbling process, and the substance continues to present hazards through use (off-gassing) and disposal. PVC is commonly used in piping, siding and flooring, but can be found also in roof membranes, window frames and other products. Carpet glues and paint also are notorious for off-gassing toxic volatile organic compounds.
Reduce, reuse and recycle: Minimize waste, use salvaged lumber and look for products that will last longer.
Buy local: Buying supplies manufactured locally reduces carbon emissions that result from transporting the supplies.