DIY Green Energy For Homes

Landscaping For a Green Home

With many of our cities becoming concrete deserts, any sign of greenery adds at least to a better visual experience, but the benefits of thoughtful landscaping don't end there.

Incorporating planting into a structure's design can reduce demand for insulation, reduce flooding from rainwater runoff [and demand for huge storm water systems] and provide a habitat for birds, insects, and animals in an environment that offers little.

Landscaping that demands large inputs of water and fertilizers may in fact cost more environmentally than it saves.

Planting with a purpose such as a windbreak, to create shade on a home in summer, or even to supply the home with fruit and vegetables is landscaping that reconciles the twin demands of ecology and economy. Building a compost green family project is also great fun for weekends.

Sun and wind create demands on buildings for heating and cooling that can be adjusted by thoughtful exterior planting.

This is not the first thing that people consider when building a home, but using the space around it to assist nature won't cost anymore in the short term- and it will contribute to the value of the property long-term.

One area that seems to be less and less in favor is the energy demand of a ground pool. Once a feature that could have added dramatically to the value and visual appeal of a house, now seems to be an extravagant waste of the precious resource that is water.

In addition, the astronomical costs of heating and the chemicals needed to 'purify' this water for swimming make a pool more of a long term liability than an asset! The opportunity to add landscaping may be restricted, but one area that is often neglected is the roof!

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There can be little good argument for flat surfaces that are graveled, painted repeatedly with potentially poisonous materials, and have little effect on the energy efficiency of the building that supports them.

So installing a green roof may make economic sense - but what should you look for?

Make sure that the roof can support the extra weight of soil and planting. You also need to ensure that construction costs won't rise rapidly if this is your choice.

With the incorporation of Roof turbines for venting and the natural benefits of planting as insulation, some initial savings can be made but the demand for energy to heat and cool will last for the lifetime of the roof.

Choose your plants carefully as you want to make sure they will survive in your local climate extremes and will need minimal maintenance. You don't want planting that demands high watering cost either, or one that will dry out and be at risk of fire in a summer situation. Native plants from your area will often be the best choice as they become an attraction for local animals and birdlife to make their home yours.

As well as insulation, a green roof will reduce noise levels from features such as airports and possibly the output of electro transmission towers as well. A green roof once installed will last longer than a 'naked one' with less maintenance and greater protection from some of nature's natural hazards.

Mechanical damage from hail, wind, vandalism and fire can be restricted from this protective and waterproofed layer. The other advantage is that this landscaping can be a DIY project done in stages and with your own style and vision.

The design possibilities are endless and if you combine it with a rainwater collection system no extra utility cost either. Green landscaping is not just about having a perfectly manicured lawn anymore or a shimmering pool! Think outside the square and save the environment at your backdoor as well as saving energy.

If you're enthusiastic to start saving money and eating healthy now by using your garden, check out the easy to follow guide by 1 Stop Organic Gardening: