“Green design” may be a relatively new term for describing ideas that are environmentally sensitive, but the concept is timeless — particularly as it applies to the home. The principles are simple: Use materials wisely, conserve water and energy, save money in the long term, and create surroundings that are safe and healthy.
When building or remodeling a lakefront home, there are several opportunities to apply green concepts. You don’t have to do everything and there is no such thing as the right or wrong set of products. Building green is a thinking process, do what you can within your budget and motivation.
Part 2 of 4: Smart Design
Smart Design is what lays the foundation of successful green buildings. This means locating your lakefront home to maximize natural light and passive heating and cooling while allowing beautiful views and interaction with the lake. It means designing to use less, to use interior space wisely, and designing for longevity, flexibility and healthy living. Finally, it means designing for flexibility, our homes are designed to adapt to changes in future use.
- Design to use less: Consider “designing big” rather than “building big”, meaning design to make a space feel larger than it is. Design for double function so that aspects of the homes can serve more than one purpose. Through the use of large and numerous windows you can design to minimize the need to turn lights on during the day. For lake homes, consider walk-out basements. This will add square footage in the same footprint and allow access to the lake.
- Design to collaborate with the environment: Orient homes in the landscape to maximize both lake views and energy efficiencies and try to avoid extreme excavations or other highly invasive procedures. Consider the indoor/outdoor living aspects of lakefront property by incorporating transitional materials, overlapping spaces, decks, and large overhangs.
- Design for longevity: Consider houses made of sturdy wood and steel frames that are designed to last a long time. Think about homes built offsite in a factory where controlled conditions produce higher quality construction.
- Design for flexibility: Consider building flexibility into your design so that your lakefront home can adapt to changes in future use.
- Design for healthy living: Lake homes should be thoughtfully crafted in a way that integrates some of the most beautiful elements of design with a keen understanding of the importance of sustainability.