How to Live the Dream and Help Save the Planet
Small-scale agriculture and animal farming are some of our strongest links to the earth. This symbiotic, cyclical relationship between humans, flora, and fauna predates our agrarian roots and is guided by a principle of respect for our planet’s natural resources. Of course, not all farming operations adhere to this standard. To keep your farm’s environmental footprint light, here are some considerations for sustainable barn design.
An increasingly popular option for people who care for farm animals is a barn with living quarters. Commonly referred to as apartment barns, these multipurpose structures generally consist of equestrian facilities on the ground floor and upstairs living quarters on the second. Going this route means less materials and resources are required to house both you and your animals.
But what about all that smelly manure? When built correctly, barns with living quarters offer a very comfortable level of separation between you and your downstairs neighbors. Of course, the greatest peace of mind comes from knowing how much you’ll save on energy expenditure and, as a result, energy bills.
A central tenet of smart barn design comes down to the materials you use for your building. Construction materials that have been treated with chemicals are inherently low-scoring on the sustainability scale. A good rule of thumb when it comes to sourcing building materials is to keep things as natural as possible. Wood without chemicals will long outlive treated lumber and does not require the addition of drywall to cover the gross discoloration chemical treatments leave behind.
In addition to the building elements themselves, the ways in which you harness natural elements can also lessen your impact. Designing your barn to optimize natural lighting and ventilation will go a long way toward keeping your animals happy and healthy. Less energy output and less money spent on your power bill is also a welcome benefit.
In recent years we’ve seen an explosion in eco-conscious technology. From solar to wind, there are several alternative options to traditional energy sources. The simple addition of a solar panel on your barn’s rooftop or a windmill in your yard can have a big impact on your property’s ability to self-sustain. With renewable energy becoming more affordable and accessible every day, it’s a great time to start thinking about what you could save in the long term. Chances are, it’ll be more than just the money on your energy bills.
An Oregon native, Dustin Gruetter is a serial entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio of businesses to run. His two largest roles are as president of both DC Builders, an elite design and construction firm, and DC Structures, a construction materials company. With more than a decade of leadership and management experience, Dustin lends his expertise to Eris Creative as the head of business development. Dustin lives in Portland with his wife Ilanah, son Maxton, daughter Violet, and dogs Piper and Marley.