Top tips to make a home green

A well-planned, high performance home costs less to operate-and as importantly, high performance is the promise of premium resale value.

Sustainable components include energy-efficient heating, lighting, cooling and water systems, as well as the reduction of natural resources like wood. Clip this checklist as a preliminary guide for both you and your builder:

. Location: Build for lifestyle convenience where you can walk, cycle, or take public transit.

. Position: Consider north-south positioning to maximize use of the sun's energy and heat.

. Generate: Install solar panels and generator to offset public energy supply. Add a solar water heater.

. Walls: Build with concrete. An award-winning wall system, advanced by Nudura, builds with pre-assembled forms, each one stacked, reinforced, and then filled with concrete. Once locked together (like Lego) the system creates a solid, monolithic concrete wall. This method (www.nudura.com) has shown to deliver energy savings of up to 70 percent and delivers a building envelope up to three times more sound resistant, four times more fire resistant, and nine times stronger.

. Materials: Premium green choices should include low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and sealants, plus high-performance windows, roofing and flooring.

. Landscaping: Design your gardens for low use of water and pesticides. Plan with drought-resistant native plants, perennial groundcovers, plus flowers and shady canopy trees.