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  • Writer's pictureKate Hamblet

Eco-Chic - Five Beautiful Sustainable Design Ideas

Healthy Home Design Corner by, Kate Hamblet with Balanced Architecture

Sustainable design strategies aren't all about extra insulation and air sealing (though these are very important aspects!). There’s a lot to sustainable design that you can actually see and experience in your home.

Here are 5 great ways to make your home more eco-friendly and energy efficient while making it more beautiful as well.

South-Facing Natural Light with Sunshades

South-facing windows are one of the best ways to make a beautiful and comfortable energy-efficient home. Throughout the winter you get to soak up the warm sunlight all day long, getting free heating and lighting. And in the summer you can take advantage of exterior window shading devices to block direct sunlight from coming into the windows, while still filling your home with lovely indirect natural light. You’ll be saving energy and aligning your circadian rhythms with natural sunlight to improve your health. Exterior shading devices can add a lot to the look of your home. You could do anything from traditional awnings to modern wood slats. There are so many possibilities, and they do a great job of adding character and interest to a home.

A Rain Garden

A rain garden is a beautiful way to help manage the water runoff on your property. It’s essentially a shallow hole in the ground that you fill with well-draining soil and ground cover, then fills with appropriate plants. The rain garden becomes a delightful addition to your landscaping while stopping water runoff from your property and cleaning the water before it re-enters the natural water system. Learn how to create your own rain garden here.

Natural Materials

Choosing natural materials for your home is good for the environment and your well-being. Natural materials like wood, wool, and stone have low embodied carbon while also helping to connect us with nature and providing a peaceful environment.

Indoor Herb Garden

Plants are an easy way to bring nature into your home, providing that much-needed connection with nature. It’s even better if your indoor plants also serve as a source of food. Indoor herb gardens are an easy way to start growing your own food. Many types of herbs survive really well indoors, and they’re pretty easy to maintain. My favorites are rosemary, basil, and oregano.

Thermal Mass

This funny-sounding term is an amazing way to store heat for free in your home. Thermal mass is the idea of using a material that absorbs heat and can hold onto it for a period of time. For example, you could install a stone wall inside of your home. In the wintertime, the sunlight will hit the stone wall, and the stones will absorb all the heat from the sun. When the sun sets, and the indoor air temperature begins to drop, the stone wall will release the heat that it’s been storing all day long, helping to heat the house during the night. Stone, bricks, tile, rammed earth, and water are all good thermal mass materials. This often becomes a beautiful design element in a home.

There are a lot of fun ways to bring sustainable design strategies into your home renovation or new build project. And it’s worth showcasing them! Bringing natural elements into your home will not only help the planet but will make your house a beautiful, calming, happy retreat.

By, Kate Hamblet The Wellness Architect Balanced Architecture

Kate helps health-conscious families create homes that support and promote health, happiness and longevity. You'll find her at

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