When planning for the construction of a vacation or second home, this list of guidelines will help you minimize its footprint—and even turn it into a “power house.”
- Super-efficient building shell and windows.
- Low-impact HVAC (heat pump or geothermal).
- Sufficient photovoltaics or wind turbines to run all mechanical systems.
- Safe, low-impact septic systems (composting toilets or the next best thing).
- Low-maintenance roofing such as standing seam metal, clay tile, concrete tile or recycled rubber.
- Low-maintenance siding, such as fiber cement, stucco, manufactured stone or brick.
- LED lighting throughout.
- Water-conserving fixtures.
- Energy-efficient and appropriately-sized appliances.
- Remote control and monitoring of energy systems.
- Appropriate size.
- Siting that minimizes impact to sensitive habitats.
- Drought-tolerant, native plants—no lawns!
- Automatic drip irrigation systems.
- Rainwater cisterns and/or graywater irrigation.
- Porous driveways and walkways.
- Natural swimming pools only.