We have a lot of brilliant, forward-thinking minds at work here at Sustainable Nine Home + Build. One of those creative thinkers is Paul Trieu, a designer who has been a key asset in creating our beautiful, modern homes. His passion and enthusiasm for environmentally conscious homes makes him a great fit here.
We sat down with Paul and discussed the importance of creating a home with sustainability in mind, some of the key details that we use in our homes here at S9 (and that you can too), as well as the future of sustainable home building.
Importance of Sustainable Details in Your Home
Building a home may be one of the bigger investments you’ll make in your lifetime.
“A home is a product with an extremely long lifecycle. This is in stark contrast to many other products in our lives which we may keep for only a few years, a few days, or sometimes just a single use,” says Paul.
With your house, you will be investing time, money and resources into a finished product that will last 50-100+ years. By using sustainable materials and building techniques, you can help increase the lifespan of your home.
On a larger scale, the U.S. produces a lot of homes each year, which means that there is a lot of embedded energy – materials and resources – that is needed to construct all these houses.
“With this combination of long lifespan, high embedded energy, and large quantity produced, homes can be seen as one of the most important products being made today to design and build sustainably,” continues Paul, “Any improvements, even incremental ones, can translate to a very meaningful benefit when viewed from this macro perspective.”
Unfortunately, there are many people who simply are not aware of the sustainable options available. For eco-friendly home builders like Sustainable 9, the goal isn’t just to create environmentally conscious homes that will last a long time, but to also spread awareness that these types of homes are available and are worth the investment.
What Are Some of the Sustainable details that S9 Currently Uses – And that Others Can Use Too?
It’s hard to pick just a couple, especially because every step in our process is centered on sustainability.
“We have a baseline standard for all our homes,” says Paul, “Which includes selecting Low/Zero VOC interior materials, highly durable exterior materials, home orientations and window placements that increase natural lighting and passive solar gains, LED lighting, and our construction detailing we’ve been perfecting over the last 12 years.”
The natural lighting aspect of S9 homes is actually one of Paul’s favorite details that we use in our design process.
“I have always been impressed with the abundant natural light present in all of S9’s homes. Walking through a home that stays exceptionally well-lit from dawn till dusk with no lights on is the type of experience that leaves you with the feeling that you ‘didn’t know what you were missing’,”
“If you were to walk into a Sustainable 9 home during construction, there aren’t even lights installed, by when you walk into the home, it’s so easy to see the layout and that everything flows. There is always good natural lighting in our homes, even when there is an overcast day.”
Other details to Consider Using
High Efficiency and Cooling Systems
Why You Should Use: Element wasted energy and keep your home running efficiently. Radiant heating, geothermal, and high velocity ductwork are all great options that will help your home’s functionality.
Sustainable Insulation Strategies
Why You Should Use: Save money on heat in the winter, which especially important for Minnesota homes. Using materials like cellulose, spray foam, and mineral wool can all help you use your he
Sustainable Landscaping Elements
Why You Should Use: Benefit off of the natural elements around your home for the ultimate coexistence between home and environment. Rainwater retention systems, green roofs, and native/pollinator friendly plants will take your home’s green elements to the next level.
Energy Production Systems
Why You Should Use: Photovoltaic solar energy and small scale wind energy systems are becoming more and more prominent in homes and should definitely be considered for your next home build.
The Next Sustainable Feature that Sustainable 9 Will Tackle?
In this industry, there is so much growth in technology that we are constantly learning about new techniques to perfect our homes. One of the techs that Paul is looking forward to branching out into more are sustainable water systems.
“We have become increasingly interested in novel potable and grey water systems and see this area as one of the major frontiers remaining in providing a fully sustainable system,” says Paul, “Having the ability to capture, store, and filter rainwater for home use for instance is a very old concept that is getting a lot of attention again today as more and more of our major cities continue to drain aquifers far faster than they can replenish themselves.”
This is one detail that we are excited to start incorporate into our homes.
The Future of Sustainable Homes
It seems as though the rise in sustainable home building will be here to stay, both as a product of people wanting to live more eco-friendly lives and as new regulations continue to be put forward.
“In the last 10 years there have been substantial increases on the minimum airtightness and insulation required by home building codes and regulations in modern construction, and this trend has every indication of continuing to speed up, making the most novel builders of yesterday the standard of tomorrow,” says Paul when asked about the future of eco-friendly home building.
So, when it comes to embracing the future and creating your own sustainable home, Paul has asks, “Will you wait until you have to build sustainably? Or will you step up and be someone that chooses to take on the challenge of building something above and beyond of what is required today?”
If you’re interested in working with Sustainable 9 for your next home build, reach out today!