THE LATEST IN GREEN LIVING
Living green involves a lifestyle that sustains a healthy environment in the home, community and planet. Some big factors in creating a green home lifestyle include contributing as little waste as possible, eliminating toxic substances and reducing our use of power and water.
Say “goodbye” to the green home of the 20th Century and meet the 21st Century green home, a stylish, healthy, high-performance home perfectly suited to any lifestyle.
“Green building” – society’s buzzword that refers to environmentally-sensitive construction – was once the dream of a select few forward-thinking environmentalists. It required compromises – compromises on design, lifestyle and price.
Today, however, green building is gradually becoming a reality, infiltrating every facet of life. Now, building green allows you to build the home of your dreams, and rewards homeowners with a healthier home for both their family and the environment.
Making seemingly small changes to one’s own home may seem inconsequential when the nightly news is flooded with global warming headlines, but small efforts add up. Together, one home at a time, we can keep Cape Town clean and vibrant for future generations to enjoy as much as we do today.
BENEFITS: GOOD FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH
The benefits of building a green home are diverse, but the most widely recognized outcomes are environmental. Reducing the environmental impact of homes is an important step towards fighting global warming and conserving valuable natural resources.
However, there are numerous, less publicized benefits of green homes. The first warms the heart of every South African – savings. Cost has long been considered a deterrent to building a green home, initially turning interested homeowners away. Closer inspection, however, reveals that price increases are generally only a few percentage points higher (a statistic decreasing as green practices become increasingly mainstream).
Learning to view these upfront costs as an investment is key. Additional expenses will literally pay for themselves in lower energy and water bills, tax and insurance credits and reduced repair needs.
Anyone buying a home should consider the, “total cost of ownership – the purchase price, plus operating costs, plus maintenance, plus taxes, etc. Often, one will find that the higher purchase price for a better built, more sustainable home has a lower total cost of ownership.”
- Reduced Material Consumption
- Lower Energy Costs
- Lower Water Bills
- Low maintenance Due to Durability
- Increased Home Value
- Potential Lower Insurance Costs
- Potential Tax Credits & Incentives
The superior energy efficiency of a green home reminds us that it’s truly a high-performance home. Attention to detail and durable, sustainable materials makes a green home far superior to the average home on the market and results in numerous health benefits. Along with drastically improved air quality and reduced exposure to mold, mildew and toxins (of great comfort to allergy sufferers) green homes also maintain consistent temperatures and humidity levels throughout the home.
As the advantages of green homes become more desirable (and necessary) green elements will likely become standard on homes. Therefore, homes without green attributes may actually lose value. Going green today is a valuable way to protect your investment in your home, regardless of whether you think you will ever put it back on the market.
Contrary to popular belief, homeowners do not have to give up the personal style and luxuries that they have come to expect in order to build a green home. In the past, a green home could be spotted a block away by its simple design and unmistakable bank of solar panels on the roof. Fortunately, today nearly any architectural style can be built green. The green features are subtle (and often desirable) such as simple awnings and large porches for shade and durable building materials such as copper or steel roofing and brick walls.
We see green building as high-performance building. There are a lot of people looking for high-performance homes, and when we get involved we can explain how a high-performance home is really a green home, and then we can show you how we can continue to make improvements and help the bottom line. It’s just the beginning.
Building a high-performance home, however, does require extensive planning. But this extra attention to detail can really pay off.
After careful research and consideration, you make the decision to build a green home. Now what?
There are numerous “shades of green” to building a home, which is often initially confusing to homeowners. Working with an experienced green home builder can be extremely beneficial
ELEMENTS OF A GREEN HOME
Innovations in green building technologies are immeasurable, with researchers developing new green products and strategies each day. Consequently, there is a vast array of areas in which a home can be designed to be green.
If you desire to be steadfast to the principles of a green home, consider building it within a sustainable community. These forward-thinking neighbourhoods strive to strike a balance between the natural systems of the area and the new homes. Every effort is taken to preserve natural resources while enhancing the community with pedestrian-friendly tree-lined streets, bike trails and sidewalks, thus creating inviting outdoor spaces. To reduce car trips, some communities incorporate shops and small cafés within walking and biking distance from homes.
“Siting” your home on its home site refers to orienting your home to true south to take advantage of the sun’s natural path across the sky. In winter the northern sun helps to warm your home, and the exposure is particularly important if you have solar panels. Although not every home site will afford this orientation, attempt to get as close as you can.
Stormwater runoff from sidewalks and driveways and can be funnelled into underground storage tanks where it is filtered and gradually absorbed into the ground, drastically reducing the need for elaborate sprinkler systems. On a simpler scale, rainwater runoff from roofs can be funnelled into storage barrels to later be used for watering plants.
A green home may incorporate a diverse selection of products actually made from recycled materials, and due to modern innovations in production, they may be difficult to spot. Everything from carpet to counter tops to hardware can be made from recycled objects. Continue the sequence by recycling construction waste (this is particularly important with home renovations). An easy example: Any trees cut down during construction can be turned into firewood or mulch for landscaping.
If you don’t think that solar panels fit into the architectural design of your home, think again. New breakthroughs in solar panel design offer the option to use a collection of small panels that resemble roofing tiles, seamlessly blending in with your roof.
A vital step in making a home energy efficient is reducing uncontrolled air leakage. Innovative low-E (low emissivity) windows that improve the insulation value of the window itself. For the remaining exterior walls, increasing the R-value (resistance to heat flow) of insulation increases thermal performance and energy efficiency. When homes are built air-tight, controlled ventilation is typically added to maintain indoor air quality.)
In order to honor your community’s sustainable design, make your landscaping sustainable as well. Planting indigenous species of plants and other drought resistant varieties as well as minimizing grassy lawn areas reduces irrigation
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY?
Don't take our word for it. Hear what our customers have to say.
"Simon, and the team at RDA built our dream home in Kommetjie. The whole process from start to finish was exceptional. What could have been the most stressful experience turned out to be a truly memorable one.....And the end result is way beyond our initial expectations. The budget was tightly controlled, solutions were offered at every halting moment, the communication was clear from day 1. The building took 12months, and at every stage we felt in safe, capable hands. All this, from a distance of 6,000 miles ! The whole team from A-Z were professional and flexible in their approach, we cannot rate them highly enough. Without hesitation we would recommend RDA, and most definitely would use them again in the future."
"Building our new home with RDA was an absolute pleasure. Simon and his team went out of their way to ensure our building experience went as smoothly as possible. They communicated well, they were flexible along the way in terms of changes. They gave very good advice and input during the building process. The end product exceeded our expectations, we are really happy with our new home. RDA are in a league of their own. "
"Highly recommend RDA Building. The whole building process was an absolute pleasure & we were very pleasantly surprised to come in under budget and finish within the stipulated time frame. We really appreciated the work ethic & attention to detail displayed by Simon & his team. Our snag list had a total of one minor snag on it which was very promptly fixed. Very grateful to RDA for the entire building experience & wish them the best with all their future projects. "
"Dear Simon and team, I thought I would take this opportunity to write and thank you and your company RDA Builders for building us such a beautiful home. From the very beginning with initial talks, preparation of quotes, delays on my side with plans getting passed, all was so professionally handled. One always hear of nightmares and stories with “ Builders “ letting clients down and fighting over extras and over budget. I think RDA is a true exception to this rule, nothing was ever too much trouble when I made last minute changes, and there were quite a few. An absolute pleasure, and unheard of there was money left over at the end of the job ! Their invoicing system, paper work and transparent way in which Simon operates is highly efficient and available at anytime to the client. Our house is of the highest quality and any little snags at the end were hastily fixed by Simon and on the same day it was mentioned. This is our second house we have built with RDA over a span of 17 years. So all in all thank you so much once again Simon and hopefully one day we will build “ another “ house with you. Regards Gail and Allan Thorrington"
"Simon built a reasonably large home for me in Stonehurst in 2014. The scope of the work required complete building from start to finish, with no architectural supervision. At all times Simon was transparent in all discussions. The quoting process was lengthy as there were several aspects that needed to be debated and clarified. Building commenced once a price had been agreed for the construction plus all the PC amounts. There were some initial problems due to unforeseen ground conditions and Simon looked at several options as potential solutions, whilst at all times being conscious of a quality outcome at a sensible price. Simon was able to guide cost effective suppliers for PC items and solutions for all matters as they arose and the final project was completed within the deadline and within the agreed budget The construction was done to my complete satisfaction with great attention to detail. I was particularly impressed by Simon’s ‘unflappable’ attitude and genuine concern to ensure that all costs remained well contained I am aware of numerous other premium end homes that RDA has built and I know that those owners were equally pleased with Simon’s work. I would certainly build with him again and be happy to recommend him."
"Simon, Ryan and his team did a fabulous job. They were always present to answer questions and help with design and build options. Would definitely use them again. "
"The whole building experience was a pleasure. The house was completed on time and under budget and we were very pleased with the finishes. Simon and Ryan couldn’t have been more obliging and there was zero stress throughout. All their sub-contractors and RDA’s own workmen were quality people as was their workmanship. We recommend RDA very highly "