Creating a Sustainable Home: Incorporating Green Building Practices in a Custom Home Build

G.J. Gardner's Bristol home design

As the world is becoming more conscious of the impact of human activity on the environment, sustainable living is no longer just a trend but a necessity. And what better way to start than in your own home? Building a custom home with sustainable materials and energy-efficient design can significantly reduce your carbon footprint while enhancing your quality of life.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of sustainability and the impact it can have on the planet, as well as your lifestyle and finances. Incorporating green building practices in your custom home build can not only lower your energy bills but also increase the value of your home. We believe that sustainable living is not just about saving the planet but also about creating a healthier and more comfortable home for you and your family. By choosing eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or locally sourced ones, and implementing passive solar design, you can create a home that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Our team of experts can help you navigate the complex world of green building and guide you through the process of incorporating sustainable practices in your custom home build. From energy-efficient lighting and appliances to water-saving fixtures and insulation, we can help you choose the right solutions for your needs and budget.

Our favorite green building practices

Solar Power

One of the most effective and popular ways to incorporate green building practices into a custom home is by using solar power. By installing solar panels, homeowners can harness the sun’s energy to power their homes, reducing their reliance on traditional electricity sources. Solar panels are a long-term investment that can significantly reduce energy bills and are environmentally friendly.

Energy-Efficient Windows

Installing energy-efficient windows is another effective way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. These windows are designed to prevent heat transfer, keeping the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They can help homeowners save money on their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.

Water-Saving Features

Installing water-saving features such as low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads can also be an effective way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. These features can help homeowners save money on their water bills and reduce water waste.

Efficient HVAC System

A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a crucial component of any custom home. Choosing an efficient HVAC system can significantly reduce energy usage and costs. An Energy Star-rated system is a good choice, as it has been tested and proven to be energy efficient.

Green Roof

A green roof is another effective and innovative way to incorporate green building practices into a custom home. This involves planting vegetation on the roof of the home, which provides insulation, reduces stormwater runoff, and improves air quality. A green roof is an eco-friendly addition that can also add aesthetic value to a home.

Incorporating these green building practices into a custom home build can have significant long-term benefits for both the homeowner and the environment. They can save money on energy and water bills, reduce their carbon footprint, and create a sustainable living space.

Why incorporate green building practices?

Green building practices offer numerous benefits that go beyond environmental sustainability. By incorporating these practices into your custom home build, you can enjoy a range of advantages that contribute to a healthier, more comfortable, and cost-effective living space. There are many benefits to incorporating green building practices into a custom home build, including:

  • Environmental Benefits: Green building practices have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the carbon footprint and conserving natural resources. This includes reducing energy consumption, water usage, and waste production, as well as using sustainable and non-toxic materials.
  • Health Benefits: Green buildings provide a healthier living environment for occupants by improving indoor air quality, reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, and providing more natural lighting and ventilation.
  • Cost Savings: Green buildings can result in significant cost savings over time by reducing energy and water bills, as well as maintenance and repair costs. Green homes may also have higher resale value and can attract potential buyers who value sustainable living.
  • Increased Comfort: Green building practices can enhance the comfort and livability of a home by providing better insulation, more efficient heating and cooling, and improved acoustics.
  • Positive Reputation: Building a sustainable home can reflect positively on the homeowner, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility and social awareness.

Get in touch

From cost savings to improved health and comfort, a sustainable home is a worthwhile investment that will continue to benefit you in the long run. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we are committed to building homes that are not only beautiful and functional but also environmentally conscious. Our team of experienced builders and designers can work with you to create a custom home that reflects your unique style while incorporating the latest green building practices. Contact us today to start your journey towards building a sustainable dream home.

Incorporating Natural Materials into Your Custom Home

Our Bristol home design featuring natural materials

As the world becomes increasingly modernized, homeowners are turning to incorporate natural materials into their homes to add a touch of warmth and natural beauty. From wood and stone to earthy tones and textures, natural materials are a timeless and sustainable option for designing a custom home that is both aesthetically pleasing and environmentally conscious.

Incorporating these materials into your home can create a welcoming environment, while also providing benefits such as increased energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality.

Whether you are building a new home or renovating an existing one, integrating natural materials into the design can add character and personality, while also contributing to the overall functionality of your space.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of natural materials in home design and can help you create a custom home that perfectly blends modern and natural elements. Our experienced team can guide you through the design process and help you choose the perfect materials for your unique vision.

Natural material-led interior design

Natural material interior design is all about bringing the outside world indoors by incorporating elements from nature into a living space. This design style emphasizes the use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, metal, and plant life, to create a harmonious and organic atmosphere.

The focus is on creating a connection to the natural world, with an emphasis on simplicity and sustainability. The use of natural materials in interior design has become increasingly popular in recent years. People have become more environmentally conscious and seek to create a peaceful and relaxing environment within their homes.

How to build a house with natural materials

Using natural materials not only adds a unique aesthetic to your home but also has numerous benefits. With such an array of materials available, there are several ways in which you can incorporate natural materials into your custom home.

  1. Wood: Incorporating wood elements into your custom home can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. From wood flooring and ceiling beams to wood-paneled walls and cabinets, wood can add texture and depth to any room.
  2. Stone: Using natural stone materials, such as granite or marble, can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your custom home. Stone can be used for countertops, flooring, and even accent walls.
  3. Metal: Incorporating metal elements, such as wrought iron, copper, or brass, can add a rustic or industrial feel to your custom home. Metal can be used for light fixtures, stair railings, and decorative accents.
  4. Natural fabrics: Adding natural fabrics, such as linen, wool, or cotton, can create a cozy and comfortable environment in your custom home. Natural fabrics can be used for upholstery, window treatments, and bedding.
  5. Plants: Bringing the outdoors inside with live plants is an easy and cost-effective way to incorporate natural elements into your custom home. Plants not only add visual interest and texture but also improve air quality and create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Benefits of natural materials in the home

Incorporating natural materials into your custom home can offer a range of benefits. First and foremost, natural materials have a unique texture and aesthetic that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

They can bring a sense of calmness and serenity to your home, helping to create a comfortable and peaceful environment. Additionally, natural materials are often more durable and longer-lasting than synthetic materials, making them a smart investment in the long run.

Using natural materials can also be an eco-friendly choice, as they are often sustainable and biodegradable. Many natural materials, such as wood and stone, have a timeless quality that can add value to your home and increase its resale value. Natural materials are also incredibly versatile, as they can be used in a variety of ways throughout your home, from flooring and countertops to furniture and decor.

Our Riverview home design making use of timber panels and shelves.

Costs involved with natural materials

Incorporating natural materials into your custom home design doesn’t necessarily have to be more expensive. While some natural materials such as exotic woods or custom stone can come at a premium cost, there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank.

Materials like bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, and recycled glass countertops are not only cost-effective but also eco-friendly. Using natural materials can also save you money in the long run as they tend to be more durable and require less maintenance.

It’s all about finding a balance between the materials you want to incorporate and your budget. Working with an experienced builder like G.J. Gardner Homes can help you find the perfect balance and create a custom home design that incorporates natural materials within your budget.

Natural materials and custom homebuilders

When it comes to incorporating natural materials into your custom home, choosing a custom home builder is the best option. A custom home builder has the experience and expertise needed to seamlessly integrate natural materials into the design and construction of your home.

Custom home builders can provide valuable advice on the types of natural materials that would work best for your specific needs and budget. They also have access to high-quality natural materials and know how to source them ethically and sustainably.

Furthermore, custom home builders can work with you to create a unique design that complements the natural materials you choose, ensuring that every detail is carefully considered and executed to perfection. This level of customization is not possible with a pre-built home or a standard builder.

Working with a custom home builder to incorporate natural materials into your home ensures that you will get a unique and personalized home that is not only beautiful but also functional and sustainable.

Get in touch

From wood and stone to cork and bamboo, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using natural materials in your home. At G.J. Gardner Homes, we understand the importance of creating a custom home that reflects your style and values. Our team of experts can help you design and build a home that incorporates natural materials in a way that’s both practical and beautiful. So, if you’re ready to start your custom home journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team today.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Claiming Clean Energy Tax Credits

Man installs solar panels on the roof of a house

A current topic for discussion across many households is the use of renewable energy alternatives and sustainable appliances to reduce our carbon footprints. As a nation, it is vital to consider employing environmentally friendly home inclusions as we all play a part in improving the world for future generations.

Even the federal government recognizes this, following the introduction of new policies to the Inflation Reduction Act that rewards homeowners with a tax credit for employing energy-efficient practices into homes. Not only is this a responsible environmental choice for homeowners but it is also an economically responsible one. As we move towards cleaner energy sources, choosing efficient appliances can play a part in reducing household energy bills for years to come.

But what are the eligibility requirements for these tax credits? And how can you access them? In this article, our home experts will delve into the tax credit plan, if you can access it and how to apply for the tax credit itself. Let’s get started:

What are clean energy tax credits?

The clean energy tax credits provide taxpayers with money back as an incentive for homeowners to install energy-efficient solutions as we move towards a clean energy future. Simply claim this credit on your annual tax return to reduce the federal taxes commonly paid as a homeowner.

There are two different credit options available under the residential section: the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit and the Residential Energy Property Credit.

What products are eligible for energy tax credits?

There are a variety of home improvement products available for the tax credit including:

  • Roofing
  • Solar panels
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Skylights
  • Insulation
  • Biomass stoves
  • Central air conditioners
  • Water heaters and coolers
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Wind turbines
  • Lighting
  • Appliances
  • Home backup power storage
  • Electric or natural gas heat pumps
  • Solar water heating products
  • Oil furnaces and hot water boilers
  • Panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits or feeders

Alternatively, a range of energy suppliers offer rebates on certain appliances. The Energy Star website has a rebate finder that locates based on your ZIP code the rebates available currently. Some home improvements and energy-efficient solutions are eligible for both the rebate and the tax credit.

What qualifies for the energy tax credit?

There is a range of home improvement components that can be claimed through the energy tax credit initiative. These are detailed in the table below:

Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit:

ProductCredit Available
Building Envelope Components
Exterior doors30% of costs up to $250 per door & a total of $500
Exterior windows & skylights 30% of costs up to $600
Insulation Materials/Systems & Air Sealing Materials/Systems30% of costs up to $150
Home Energy Audits30% of costs up to $150
Residential Energy Property
Central air conditioners30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces and hot water boilers30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Improvements or replacements to panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits, or feeders30% of costs up to $600 for each time (including labor)
Heat pumps, biomass stoves and biomass boilers
Electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters30% of costs (including labor)
Electric or natural gas heat pumps30% of costs (including labor)
Biomass stoves and biomass boilers30% of costs (including labor)

Residential Clean Energy Property Credit:

ProductCredit Available
Solar panels30% off the total cost
Solar water heaters30% off the total cost
Fuel cell property expenditures30% off the total cost
Small wind energy property expenditures30% off the total cost
Geothermal heat pump property expenditures30% off the total cost
Battery storage technology expenditures30% off the total cost

Is there a limit to what can be claimed?

Yes, there are limits to what can be claimed under the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit as tabulated below. The credit is only available for certain energy-efficient upgrades made to the primary residence such as insulation, windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, and water heaters.

The credit is not available for any type of energy-efficient appliances, such as refrigerators or washing machines, and not all models of these qualifying upgrades are eligible for the credit. There are also limits on the amount of credit that can be claimed for each type of improvement and the credit is subject to a lifetime cap.

Additionally, the credit is only available for upgrades installed in the current tax year and it may not be carried forward. The credit also has an expiration date, which means that it is only available for a certain period of time.

ProductAggregate Yearly Tax Credit Maximum
Building Envelope Components
Home Energy Audits
Energy Property
Electric water heaters
Natural water heaters
Electric heat pumps
Natural gas heat pumps
Biomass stoves
Biomass boilers
Total maximum tax credit maximum$3,200

However, there is no total limit to the Residential Clean Energy Property Credit currently.

How to claim the energy tax credits?

To claim the energy tax credits offered by the federal government, homeowners need to complete Form 5695 as part of their annual federal income tax return. This form can be found on the IRS website or obtained from a tax professional.

The credit is available for certain energy-efficient upgrades made to the primary residence such as insulation, windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, and water heaters. It’s important to keep in mind that the credit amount may vary depending on the type of improvement and the date it was installed. To qualify, homeowners must have installed the upgrades during the tax year for which they are claiming the credit.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the credit has a lifetime cap, so homeowners should keep track of the total amount of credit claimed over multiple years. Homeowners are also encouraged to keep all receipts and documentation as proof of the improvements made and the cost of the materials, to ensure they can claim the maximum credit amount possible.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we strongly support the energy tax credit plan available to homeowners in the U.S. This program provides a significant incentive for homeowners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades for their homes, which not only helps to lower their utility bills but also reduces the overall carbon footprint of the homes we build.

Our team knows firsthand the benefits of this program, as many Americans have been able to take advantage of these credits to make their homes more energy efficient and encourages you to also ask your tax advisor for additional energy saving credits that you may qualify for.

If you are looking for sustainable and energy-efficient home designs, be sure to contact our local team to learn more.