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Four New and Cost-Efficient Techniques for Building Green in Hawaii

Sustainable construction has come a long way from standard solar panels and reclaimed wood. While those are still great options, the evolution of green construction allows you to build a dream home capable of saving both resources and money. From “passive” energy options incorporated into your home design to specially modified materials, here’s a few of the latest innovations in green building.

Ridge and Soffit Ventilation: Ideal for Hawaii’s Plantation-Style homes, this ventilation technique utilizes vents (soffits) beneath the eaves of the roof to draw fresh air into the home. As warm air rises towards the roof, ridges along the roofline release the hot air, keeping homes cool without and expensive and high-energy cooling system.

Passive Solar Design: While solar panels, (or “active” solar devices,) are a great investment for your home, you can also employ energy efficient home construction to harness passive solar energy. This design model incorporates the basic elements of the home—windows, walls, and floors—in order to collect, distribute, and reflect solar energy.

South-facing windows collect heat throughout the day, which is then absorbed by the walls or floors. Energy is stored as “thermal mass” beneath these structures, and released via cross-ventilation or energy efficient convection systems. A well-designed home can therefore maintain a constant comfortable living temperature with little outside intervention.

Insulated Concrete: Insulated concrete is made by pouring concrete between several layers of insulation, creating a building material that is highly durable and disaster resistant-meaning it is impervious to mold, mildew, and rotting. Used instead of traditional wood framing, insulated concrete also protects your home from extreme temperatures and helps reduce the energy-footprint of your home. Due to Hawaii’s humid climate and sustained rainy season, insulated concrete is one viable way to protect your home against the elements.

Thermally Modified Wood: Wood is carefully heated in an oxygen and chemical-free chamber, making it hyper durable and therefore more eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable. This is an especially appealing option for Hawaiians since this material also resists water damage and warping due to humidity.

Need more information on going green in your new home? Home Planning Hawaii specializes finding the right experts for all your residential constructions needs. From free estimates to finding the right architect, contacting us today is the first step to making your dream home an (environmentally sustainable) reality.