Ranch houses, which are typically just one level, have a lot of perks: easy access to every room, with little to no stair climbing required; a notable absence of noise or footsteps overhead; and easier renovations thanks to the lack of load-bearing walls. When it comes to creating a more sustainable home, you have plenty of options, from adding more natural light to reducing your heating and cooling expenses with renewable energy sources.
If you’re having a ranch home built from the ground up, you can choose eco-friendly, sustainable materials from the get-go. If your home is in a lovely natural setting, you may even want it designed to work in harmony with the landscape. Since ranch houses are all one level, some architects opt to keep everything connected (home, patio, porch, pool, etc.) for a sleek, unified look. This is easiest if the land is flat instead of sloped.
There are several ways to design a ranch house if you’re lucky enough to be building your own. Ranch-style homes can be petite or enormous, classic or modern — there’s no limit to how large your home can be or the styles you can go with. There are also various takes on the traditional ranch house, like a raised ranch, which has a second floor as well as a basement.
Sustainable Features for Your Ranch House
There’s almost no end to the ways you can outfit your sustainable ranch house. If you haven’t yet built your home, you have even more flexibility. Here are just a few high-end features sustainable homes can include:
- Eco-friendly materials can be used for construction. Examples are recycled siding or locally harvested wood.
- Skylights increase the natural light of a room and limit your utility costs. Plus, since a ranch house is just one level, you can add a skylight to practically any room you want.
- Solar hot water collectors on the roof can help with heating your floors.
- Straw bale works as a great insulator, and it’s eco-friendly because it’s annually renewable as a byproduct of the agriculture industry.
- Look for energy-efficient appliances. While they may have more upfront costs, you’ll end up saving more energy, which will reduce your bills.
The Case for Metal Roofs
Metal roofing isn’t new, but it is growing in popularity. Here’s why:
- Since metal roofing is usually made with recycled aluminum or steel, it’s better for the environment. The roof can eventually be recycled into a new roof or another metal product. This means it won’t end up in a landfill and there won’t be any energy or natural resources used to make additional metal.
- Metal roofing is very energy efficient, and it does a great job at keeping either heated or cooled air in instead of escaping.
- Metal roofs are durable and long-lasting, standing up to even extreme weather. Because of this, you may get a discount on your homeowners insurance.
- If you want to add solar panels to your home at some point, most people start with metal roofing as a base.
- Rainwater can be collected via metal roofs, and doing so will provide you with cleaner water than you’d get from other materials. You also won’t deal with any leaks thanks to the way metal roofs are constructed.
Easy Upgrades to Make Right Now
As nice as it would be to simply pick up and move to a new home on a smart power grid, that’s not always possible. Instead, some homeowners need to make changes slowly, starting small and working up from there. Here are some simple ways to make your home more sustainable right now:
- Replace your regular light bulbs with LED bulbs — this is the last time you’ll have to go light bulb shopping for more than a decade.
- Go through your closest for dingy or torn clothing you don’t wear anymore, then cut up that old tee into rags. Use them instead of paper towels when you have to clean up a spill.
- You’ll be shocked at how dirty your refrigerator coils are. Cleaning them to get rid of lint and dust will help your fridge to be more efficient, requiring less energy to stay cold.
- Start an herb garden. Instead of purchasing herbs and seasonings from the grocery store, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by having them grown at home. Try making your garden as sustainable as possible as well.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the normal 140. You probably never need your water to get as hot as it can go, so you won’t even notice the difference.
These are some easy tips to follow to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. How have you taken your interest in reducing your carbon footprint to the next level? Share your thoughts or advice in the comments below.