Sustainable Home Design

Sustainable Design for Mother in Law Suites

You’ve decided that you want to add an addition to your home by building a mother law in suite on your property. What exactly is a mother in law suite?

Essentially, it is just another smaller living space on your property that is usually detached from the home. Typically found over the garage or just off to the side of the house, a mother in law suite is designed for someone else to live on your property with you without actually being in your house (the perfect place for a mother in law, hence the name). Mother in law suites can be as big or as small as you desire, but they usually have their own living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, kind of like a one bedroom apartment (or even like a studio apartment).

The Importance of Sustainable Design

Sustainable Home DesignAs society grows and advances, more people are taking notice of the fact that certain manufacturing and building practices are not really good for the environment. Traditional energy production in particular puts a lot of pollutants into the air that should be avoided. When designing something sustainably, you should always keep this in mind. Anything that saves energy is helpful to the environment, which means using recycled materials and alternative energy sources. As long as you keep sustainability in mind when designing your mother in law suite, you should end up with a final that is both eco friendly and also comfortable for whoever will be living in it.

Making Your Mother in Law Suite Sustainable with Building Materials

If you are an environmentally conscious family, you may be interested in making your mother in law suite sustainable. This is quite easy to do since the suite is an addition to your home that you are building from the ground up. There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your mother in law suite is sustainable. The first is to use eco friendly materials to build the suite. Non-toxic materials which were either produced sustainably or are recycled is the best way to do this. It’s not hard to find recycled timber, for instance. If you can’t get any recycled materials, make sure to use materials that require little energy to produce and have a small impact on the planet.

The Energy Efficient Mother in Law Suite

You should also be trying to focus on using as little energy as possible in construction. In addition, you should be building the suite with energy efficiency in mind; it doesn’t need to be big and drafty, because that will increase the need for heat in the winter. You do want to place windows where they can let the breeze through in the summer to avoid the need to use the air conditioner. If you can afford it, putting solar panels atop the suite will go a long way toward reducing the energy used by the occupant of the suite.

Make Sure to Use High Quality Materials that can be Recycled or Composted

No matter what you are talking about in the suite, whether it’s the windows, carpet or cabinets, you should be focusing on buying high quality materials with a long lifespan so that you can avoid having to buy replacements, which requires energy. In addition, ensure that everything that goes into the house can be disposed of properly (meaning that it can either be recycled at the end of its life or composted). If you do not already have a composter, you could consider buying one for the occupant of the suite and yourself to use.

Do you have any tips to share about making a mother in law suite more Sustainable? Tell us in a comment 🙂

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About the Author

Tom BillsTom Bills is a Realtor/Broker with TBillshomes.com as well as the President of T. Bills Construction Co. since 1979. Tom is dedicated to helping people with buying, selling, or remodeling their homes and properties in the best way possible for each familie's unique needs. Read more about Why Tom and his wife Barb started In-LawSuite here. Find him on Facebook and TwitterView all posts by Tom Bills →

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