Going Green and Looking Good

Attractive and Environmentally Conscious Home Design

Sustainable can be beautiful. Choosing sustainable, environmentally friendly or other "green" products doesn't mean you have to sacrifice good design. There are plenty of ways you can build or decorate a home that can help lower your energy consumption or preserve dwindling natural resources.

When it comes to home construction, some of the products that make the biggest impact will likely go completely unnoticed. The home in the lead photo on the right, located on the shores of Merrymeeting Lake in New Durham, is clearly beautiful - but it's also 5+ Energy Star-rated thanks to the type of concrete used for the foundation and insulated panels installed on the walls and roof. Energy Star is a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy that helps homeowners lower energy costs and protect the environment. In many cases, Energy Star improvements and certified products (appliances, solar panels, windows, etc.) can lead to significant tax credits.

For this home, Hayward & Company Log & Timber Homes worked with Green Building Solutions and chose to utilize insulated concrete form for the foundation and structural insulated panels on the roof, walls and over the timber frame. Though you might not spot these particular materials, they make a huge and lasting impact on the home's energy efficiency. You can learn more about energy-efficient and much more environmentally friendly insulation options by visiting Green Building Solutions at nhicf.net.

If new construction or major renovations aren't options, there are a number of green products available for inside the home that are as beautiful as they are "green."

All the products pictured and mentioned above are available through local stores, including Your Home Your World in Concord, Interiors Green in Bethlehem and Seacoast Greenovations just over the border in York, Maine.

Virtually all interior design elements can be accomplished with environmentally friendly products. From replacing granite counters with recycled glass, concrete, porcelain, vitrified ash and other sustainable materials to using tile made from natural, renewable ingredients and sustainably harvested bamboo for floors, your home can be both luxurious and environmentally conscious.

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