There are many aspects to a self-sustaining home. From energy use to water conservation to using recycled materials, self-sustaining homes should reflect efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the process of building and, in the daily operation of the home.
Technically it is impossible to have a 100% self-sustaining home because there are so many facets to the term “self-sustaining”. Following are a few key basic components to a self-sustaining house.
- Using primarily recycled materials in the construction.
This is a difficult task because many homes use wood for the basic structure and wood is not recycled. Sometimes concrete block is used for the walls but, it also is not recycled. In a JLH Sustainable house the entire frame, walls and roof is made from almost 100% recycled steel. Also, the inner wall framing is made with recycled steel. In some homes, using 100% recycled USDA cardboard liquid containers for sheetrock makes the homes more than 80% totally recycled.
- Have superior energy efficiency.
Self-sustaining homes rely heavily on using high efficiency appliances and HVAC systems to reduce their energy consumption. Also, they have higher insulation values to lower heating and cooling energy needs. Typically, modern self-sustaining homes will have solar and possible wind power to lower or eliminate the reliance on the use of primarily nonrenewable energy that emits large amounts of CO2. Unfortunately, these all require fairly high increases in the costs for construction and for the high efficiency appliances. Additionally, if R values are not high enough than the cost for solar power increases to offset the lower efficiency of the home. The JLH Sustainable House System uses high efficiency IMP technology in the walls and roofs of their homes, lowering the amount of solar power needed to produce carbon negative energy emissions. The high efficiency of these engineered steel envelopes are so efficient that standard, less expensive, appliances can be installed and still each carbon negative.
- Have lower maintenance and repair costs.
Ideally, self-sustainable homes should save the homeowner money on maintenance and repairs. If the self-sustainable home is made with traditional building materials than the repair and maintenance costs will cost an average of $1/square foot per year to maintain. A 1500 square foot home will cost about $15,000 every 10 years for maintenance and repairs. The IMP engineered panels used in JLH Sustainable homes require zero maintenance for over 25 years, eliminating the loss of income from the homeowner for routine maintenance. This helps to “sustain” the family income for the homeowner of a JLH Sustainable home.
- Minimize the need for carbon-based energy.
A self-sustaining home that is made form primarily conventional materials will struggle to be able to generate enough energy to just make the home zero carbon with its energy needs and, rarely will be able to produce enough to affect the energy they use for transportation needs. The typical JLH Sustainable Home will produce enough energy to, not only have the home’s energy be carbon negative but, can produce enough to eliminate the carbon emissions for at least one car and, possibly 2 cars.
In summary it should be noted that most standard built self-sustainable homes are costly to build, are costly to maintain and do not help the homeowner save money each month. The superior engineering and use of advanced solar and battery technology make the buying of the JLH Sustainable Home “attainable” to buy.
These same technologies saves the homeowners upwards to more than $240,000 over the same 25 year period for conventionally built self-sustainable house.