Tips for Designing an Eco-Friendly Home

There are many ways to lead a greener lifestyle, and James Tan decided to do it in a big way —through the design of his family home. James, who moved into his new BTO flat last year, is a huge advocate of sustainable living. Thus, ensuring his 5-room flat was fitted with green features was a priority for him.

From energy-efficient lights to green-certified paint, James shares the benefits and tips for designing an eco-friendly home.

Open Spaces, Cooler Temperatures

Most of us would turn to the air conditioner when it comes to beating the tropical heat. It may be the quickest way to do so, but it’s not the most energy-efficient. While fans are the next best alternative, ensuring cross-ventilation can also help keep the rooms cool. 

“Adopting an open concept for the communal area allows for better ventilation within the flat to help keep the temperature of the house relatively low,” James explains. “Deliberately keeping the design of a home minimal can also maximise ventilation.”

Going Green, Literally

Did you know that house plants can help with keeping the ambient temperature cool? Not only that, introducing greenery into your home can improve the surrounding air quality and amp up your home’s aesthetic factor.

In addition to using house plants such as peace lilies to improve air quality, James uses an environment monitor is used to track the indoor environmental quality (IEQ)

Adopt Energy-Efficient Features

An energy-efficient feature that home owners might be familiar with is LED lighting. These light bulbs last longer and are relatively more durable. Other features include motion-sensing lights and water-efficient fittings, all of which are found in James’ home.

“Not only is a green-enabled home beneficial for the natural environment, it enhances home owners’ overall living experience and well-being. Additionally, going green and being energy-efficient also allows us to enjoy utility savings,” James says.

Use Green-Certified Materials

When renovating his eco-friendly home, James ensured that all materials are certified by the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) where possible. These include paint, carpentry laminates, floor screed and tile adhesive that comprise low levels of toxic substances and emissions.

For instance, the carpentry laminates used in the bathrooms are fabricated from marine grade wood, a material with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause adverse health effects

“If you’re looking to use eco-friendly materials, do incorporate them from the start, as making changes would be challenging and costly once renovations works are completed.”

Furnish Sustainably

There are a few ways to furnish sustainably. When furniture shopping, consider the source of the materials. In addition to being ethically sourced, James advises to purchase pieces with eco-friendly components, to ensure the minimal presence of VOCs.

Instead of brand new furnishing, opting for vintage furniture or repurposing an existing piece are also sustainable alternatives for an eco-friendly home.

This article was adapted from MyNiceHome, HDB’s official website for all things related to home buying and renovation in Singapore.