Eco-friendly Construction in Alaska
Eco-friendly construction or environmentally friendly construction isn’t just a fad, it’s a way of life. Local residents, here in the beautiful landscape of Fairbanks, care deeply about the natural world and also need to avoid high heating bills with smart, green construction practices. To build an attractive and comfortable home that makes the most of the local climate, residents should partner with a local builder experienced in ecologically sound residential construction. In addition to the other advantages, an eco-friendly home can bring a higher resale value in the future. Eco-building trends that can be used to lower carbon footprints without sacrificing comfort, include:
- Going small or choosing an open configuration: Small homes are a trend that gets a lot of press these days, and can certainly be energy efficient. If you need more space, consider an open layout with interior space divided with non-bearing walls, which lend themselves to simpler redesign if you want to change your space in the future.
- Foundations and slabs: These must be expertly designed, with proper drainage and well-insulated to stand up to everything from permafrost, wind and moisture to earthquakes. An eco-friendly foundation reduces heating and cooling costs, which reduces your carbon footprint.
- Strategic design and placement of windows: Proper window placement for getting the most natural sunlight during the winter and intelligent use of blinds to block out the midnight sun in the summer are important, but so is the type of window and glass used. Double pane windows should have an R-value of at least 4 for a working (openable) window and R5 for a picture window. Use triple pane windows with gas fill to avoid heat loss, condensation, and ice buildup. This type of eco-friendly window helps reduce your heating and cooling bill as well. It also helps your home become more energy efficient. Another eco-friendly window solution is reflective, low-E coating, which can increase the insulating power as if you have added a pane. Coatings also cut glare and provide UV protection for indoor décor and furnishings.
- Tight building envelope with proper ventilation: There may be up to a hundred degrees difference between your home’s comfortable indoor temp and the below-freezing weather outdoors. As a result, we have learned and developed practices to tightly seal buildings. All new homes built in the state must (by code) have dedicated mechanical ventilation. The economic benefit of a mechanical ventilation system is the increased energy efficiency it creates. With this system you can control the air quality and temperature that goes in and out of the home.
As an experienced, local, cold-climate builder, Big Street Construction can help create a new home that fulfills your design and space requirements, conforms to local building codes, exceeds high-performance standards for energy efficiency and leaves the smallest possible carbon footprint.