Sustainable Building Whitefish, Montana

Sustainable Building Whitefish, Montana – 5 Key Principles to Consider

Ever since Whitefish announced their climate action plan in 2018, there has been a surge to building and maintaining houses that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Everything from new home builds to multi-unit developments are being centered around eco-friendly principles in order to conserve natural resources and establish Whitefish as a leader in energy efficient building practices. So, what key initiatives should builders and homeowners consider when planning to build a home in Whitefish?

5 Key Principles of Sustainable Building Whitefish, Montana

Behind every eco-friendly housing and living project are 5 principles that guide the development. These principles are at the core of everything you need to consider when planning to build a sustainable home in Whitefish.

  1. Durability
  2. Energy Efficiency
  3. Sustainable Building Materials
  4. Waste Reduction
  5. Sustainable Design
eco-friendly home whitefish

1. Durability

Sustainability and durability are intertwined. When a building is durable, it is strong enough to withstand the elements for a long period of time. Durable structures prevent waste because new building materials won’t be wasted repairing or rebuilding it. In a world where planned obsolescence purposefully undercuts the lifespan of common goods, durability is the environmentally friendly solution.

2. Energy Efficiency

When most property owners think of energy efficiency, they imagine those appliances that use less water or power. In building terms, energy efficiency is about streamlining the home’s functionality in a way that does not leave a carbon footprint. For example:

  • Greywater system to reuse water
  • Insulation to minimize heating needs
  • Natural heating and cooling, made possible by home shape, environment, and orientation
  • Solar panels on the roof
  • LED lights use less energy than traditional lights

These environmental interventions are not just good for the planet, they can also save the homeowner money on utilities. The easiest way to make any new construction more energy efficient is to incorporate it into the landscape. This means building the home into an earthen feature for added cooling. The windows can also be oriented a certain direction to achieve the desirable home temperature with sunlight alone.

3. Sustainable Building Materials

When a home is made with green building materials, it minimizes the environmental impact of the construction process. Sustainable building materials are renewable resources that will grow back or recycled products that reduce waste. Many of the materials used in sustainable building in Whitefish, Montana have been used for centuries, such as stone and adobe bricks. Stone is readily available, durable, and its use does not release any pollutants. Adobe bricks are made from sand, clay, silt and straw; they are durable, resistant to fire, and can regulate indoor temperatures. Bamboo is a sustainable alternative to timber because bamboo absorbs more carbon than trees and regenerates itself in a fraction of the time. It also requires a lot less water and requires no fertilizer.

4. Waste Reduction

The biggest challenge of environmentally friendly living is reducing waste. Sustainable houses in Whitefish often utilize recycled materials to keep it out of the landfill. Common building materials like glass, plastic, and steel can be recycled into parts for new homes. Unconventional materials like bark can be repurposed as siding. Both used newspapers and bottle corks can be turned into a wood-like substance to be used in home flooring, baseboards, and railings. Similarly, the ash from mining processes can be mixed with cement to make strong, durable blocks, which also keep that ash from polluting the environment.

5. Sustainable Design

The last principle of sustainable building is for the design of the home to be built with environmental protection in mind. While this may seem redundant to the other principles, it is at the core of truly energy-efficient homes.

If you know what you are looking for, you might have already noticed sustainable building Whitefish, Montana in your neighborhood. Here are some examples of this design principle:

  • Home built in barren areas conserve green space and prevent disruptions to the native animal population
  • Multi-family units use fewer resources than single family homes
  • Clustering homes, schools, and workplaces within walking distance cuts down on how much the residents will need to drive
  • Dome-shaped structures naturally regulate temperature and absorb light, which means less energy is spent on indoor artificial lighting
  • Gutter systems can be routed to feed into a water collection bin to save water
  • Vegetation grown on the roof – known as a green roof – controls the home’s temperature and contributes to better air quality.

Residents of Whitefish have most likely seen many of these green technologies at work in the homes of neighbors. As the effects of the climate crisis grow more obvious, more and more property owners have taken steps to make their properties more eco-friendly. But the benefits of sustainable houses in Whitefish go beyond just the conservation element; sustainable houses routinely cost less in upkeep and utilities, plus there are tax benefits.

What Sustainable Building Techniques are Suitable for Homes in Whitefish, MT?

The homes made with sustainable building methods in Whitefish, MT incorporate a few different eco-friendly technologies. Solar panels are ideal for Montana homes due to the weather. Homes can also be built with greywater systems and appliances that save water. These technologies prevent water waste and save Montana residents money on their utility bill. Sustainable homes in Whitefish can also be built with green materials, like repurposed wood and recycled steel.

In Whitefish, MT sustainability is the name of the game. Of course, when you live next door to Glacier National Park, you’re bound to value and want to protect the environment. Although the city has their own plans to make some eco-friendly changes, homeowners are also taking up the cause by making their own homes more sustainable.

Local Initiatives and Regulations Supporting Sustainability

Whitefish, Montana has been at the forefront of climate legislation since 2018 when the Climate Action Plan was adopted. There are 7 action items outlined in the CAP:

  1. In accordance with the Paris Agreement, Whitefish strives to help the US cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% before the year 2025.
  2. Whitefish has the goal of going carbon-neutral by 2050. Steps have already been taken in forest conservation and replacing public transportation with green alternative vehicles.
  3. In order to reduce emissions from cars, future development efforts must be pedestrian and bike-friendly.
  4. Diversity the water supply, reuse as much water as possible, and modernize the water treatment plans to use less energy.
  5. Create community and school-based education programs to help residents adjust their own habits for greener living.
  6. Whitefish will become a fire-adapted community, which means that steps will be taken to naturally control forest fire risk and prevent ecological disasters.
  7. For the reduction of food waste, Whitefish intends to invest in local farming as well as expand city-wide composting and recycling.

Supporting sustainable building Whitefish, Montana is a way that all landowners can do their part. Flathead Valley has stunning landscapes that are unlike anywhere else in the world. As a hub for outdoor activities, everyone in Whitefish knows that they must all take steps to preserve the area’s natural beauty.

sustainable home design whitefish

Benefits of Building Eco-Friendly Properties

These green innovations can be designed into any new project. When a landowner takes the leap to make their properties more green, they can sleep better knowing that they are helping the planet. They will also be thrilled to know that green technologies will also appeal to environmentally conscious renters.

What Eco-Friendly Technologies Are Suitable for Whitefish, MT?

If you are interested in building sustainable homes on your property, there are 3 green technologies that can be easily added to any building:

  1. Solar panels are suitable for almost any type of roof and can reduce your electric bill down to 0.
  2. Energy-efficient appliances including toilets, shower heads, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and ovens.
  3. Home composting systems are an easy way to keep food scraps out of the landfill. It will also produce great soil for all your gardening projects.

3 Design Elements to Consider for New Property Developments

Landowners building a new property should consider incorporating these green features into the home’s design:

  1. Cool roofs are designed to absorb less solar energy, which keeps the home cooler. Green roofs are like a lawn on top of a home. The effect is better air quality, lower indoor temperatures, and it supports the local ecosystem.
  2. Greywater systems take the runoff water from the sink, shower, and washing machine then reuse it for other purposes, like flushing the toilet. There is really no need to use perfectly clean water for flushing, especially not when your home can reuse water.
  3. Airflow design allows residents to use less AC on hot days. The home just has to be built to allow cross breeze. When they want to cool the house down, they can just open windows at opposite ends of the house and let the landscape’s natural breeze flow through.
whitefish, mt eco solar panels

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Sustainable Building?

The process of constructing homes, workplaces, and public structures that benefit the environment around them. This could mean adding solar panels and a greywater system to a home in order to use fewer resources. It can also look like building multi-family homes instead of single family homes in order to conserve green space for wildlife.

2. Why is Sustainable Building Important in Whitefish?

The national parks around Whitefish must be protected in order for residents to continue enjoying their beauty. If humans continue to over pollute, use up resources, and demolish habitats to build homes, then places like Glacier will cease to exist. Sustainable building is a small adjustment to existing construction styles that plays a big, long-term role in saving the environment.

3. Are There Any Local Incentives for Sustainable Building in Whitefish?

There are 5 programs in place to incentivize Montana residents to make their homes more green:

  1. Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit: Allows a homeowner to deduct 30% of the cost of their solar panels from taxes.
  2. Net Metering: If your solar panels generate more energy than your household consumes, you can get credits on your power bill.
  3. Renewable Energy Systems Exemption: When Montanans increase the value of their home by adding solar panels, the extra value isn’t added to their property taxes for up to 10 years.
  4. Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program: Montana homeowners can get a loan for sustainable home improvement with a rate of 3.5% on projects costing up to $40,000.
  5. Alternative Energy Systems Income Tax Credit: this tax credit gives single filers $500 back and couples $1,000 if they implemented qualified sustainable home improvements.

4. What are the 7 principles of sustainable construction?

  1. Durability
  2. Energy Efficiency
  3. Waste Reduction
  4. Sustainable building materials
  5. Indoor air quality
  6. Water conservation
  7. Sustainable planning and design

5. What is sustainable vs green homes?

Green homes are generally made with the only focus being on the environment. These may have solar panels, biodiverse lawns, and energy efficient appliances. However, not every step in the design and construction process is ecologically sustainable. Green homes may not be durable enough to last as long as they could. They may also use materials made with highly polluting processes.

Sustainable homes are designed with every aspect of the environment in mind. In addition to solar panels, they are structured in such a way to create passive heating and cooling. These houses are also commonly built with recycled materials, and are designed to last a long time.

What Does Eco-Friendly Housing and Living Look Like in Whitefish?

For a case study of sustainable building, look no further than the homes developed by Eco Residency. This home is an example of how land all over Whitefish can be re-designed to meet the needs of the residents and the environment.

158 Mountain Brook Lane

The home on Mountain Brook Lane is an excellent example of how a single family home can be designed with sustainability in mind. From the outside, the home has a classic Scandinavian design. It’s a beautiful, luxury home for Montana living. Hidden within the sleek, angled home are a few key design choices that maximize its sustainability:

  • Energy-efficient appliances
  • House shape and window placement for optimal, natural climate control
  • Passive radon system maintains indoor air quality
  • Permeable space around the home to absorb rain
  • The home is located within walking and biking distance of other activities
  • Built with durable materials in order to last many generations
  • Minimal paving in the neighborhood to maximize green space

How to Start a Your Eco-Friendly Project

These projects are just the beginning for sustainable building Whitefish, Montana. Eco Residency is looking for landowners and homeowners who want to transform their property into beautiful, environmentally friendly buildings that anyone would want to buy. Whether you want to get the best use out of untouched land or renovate your home to be sustainable, Eco Residency can help. Please get in touch via phone or email to start the conversation.

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