As an environmentally responsible homeowner, you want to make sure that when you build an addition to your home, it is eco-friendly as well as functional. That means that you need to find materials that are sustainable and add components that are energy efficient and green. That can be tricky for some structures, but it's not hard to build a green garage to add on to your home if you know what components you're looking for. Take a look at a few of the components of an eco-friendly garage so you can decide how best to proceed with your home addition.
Concrete is often the material of choice for home garages. Unfortunately, conventional concrete is not typically considered a green material, because its manufacture relies on cement, which is not considered an eco-friendly material. However, you can use cement that incorporates fly ash or blast furnace slag to replace some or all of the cement in the concrete, and then you'll have an environmentally friendly concrete to use to make your garage.
Fly ash is released by burning coal, and it is collected from the smoke stacks of industrial factories. Using it in concrete reduces the amount of cement necessary in the concrete mix, and it keeps the fly ash out of the landfills. Blast furnace slag has properties that are similar to that of fly ash, but it comes from the blast furnaces used to make iron and is more easily collected than fly ash.
There are other environmentally friendly concrete options as well. Using concrete made with recycled materials like fiberglass waste products and granulated plastics can reduce the environmental impact of your concrete garage. Or, you can use concrete made with waste paper that uses only a very small amount of cement in its manufacture. Paper may not sound like the sturdiest building material around, but it's actually highly insulating and sound absorbing, strong but lightweight, and it resists pests. If you're interested in a DIY project, paper concrete is easy to obtain materials for and to make yourself.
After the walls are built, the garage door is probably the largest feature of the garage. You may think of all garage doors as being basically the same, but some are greener than others. Steel garage doors are a common choice, and they are usually considered to be green because they last a long time, and they can be recycled when they can no longer serve their purpose as garage doors.
If you'd prefer a garage door made out of recycled materials, then a composite garage door made from recycled wood fibers is probably your best bet. Unlike a solid wood door, composite garage doors made with wood fibers are generally as durable as a steel door – they won't crack, rot, rust, or warp. Choose an insulated door to reduce your energy bill, and to create a garage that's climate controlled. As with steel doors, composite garage doors can be recycled when they've outlived their usefulness.
Don't stop with the walls and the garage door – there are other eco-friendly features that you can add to your garage to up its green factor. Rather than running your home's electricity out to a detached garage, why not have the garage generate its own electricity with solar panels attached to the roof? Because it's a small enclosure, the investment won't be too heavy, and your new garage space won't increase your energy bills.
Or, consider adding a green roof to your garage. It will improve the garage's insulation, and will help with noise reduction – both important considerations if you plan to use your garage as a workshop. If want a garden but don't have the space on your property, a green roof on your garage can be a good solution.
Ideally, your eco-friendly garage will be home to an eco-friendly car, like an electric or hybrid electric and gas powered vehicle. Complete your green garage with a home charging space for your electric or hybrid car. The EVSE (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment) that you'll use to charge your electric car's battery is fairly straightforward, and will cost around $600 to $700.
The equipment isn't difficult to choose or use. Look for one that can handle at least 30 amps, and choose one that's portable or easy to uninstall and move if possible. Be sure to measure first and make sure that the place where your EVSE will be installed is close enough to the expected location of the car that you'll have no trouble making sure that the cables reach.
Adding a green garage is a great way to add usable space to your home and improve your property value in an environmentally friendly way.