Man caves are the places that men get away from the day to day grind and relax in comfort and seclusion. Common fixtures in man caves usually include big screen TVs, stereo systems, and a variety of other electronic and technological gadgets. Though the initial image of a man cave may seem anything but environmentally friendly, there are ways to create a manly retreat that makes a smaller eco footprint. After all, if you’re building something new, why not make it as green as you possibly can?
When planning the location for your man cave getaway, the first decision you’ll likely make is whether to locate it within your home or in a standalone building elsewhere on your property. For man caves that are within the home, there isn’t a lot of planning to be done relative to heating and cooling, plumbing, etc. However, for standalone structures, you will have to make some decisions regarding utility access.
When it comes to electricity, there are many alternatives to hooking into the standard grid. For example, why not use solar panels or a small wind turbine to generate power? You’ll need some kind of battery system for holding the electricity you create, but there are a growing number of contractors today who specialize in installing such systems. Plus, you’ll have the coolest technological gadget to show off to the guys – your own power generating system!
There are also many ways to cut down on the amount of electricity you consume in your man cave. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to use well insulated windows and doors and lots of insulation in the walls and roof. For climates that see hot summers and cold winters, consider planting deciduous shade trees around the building. The leaves will shade your man cave in the summer, reducing cooling costs, and in the winter the tree will lose its leaves, allowing the sun to warm the building on those cold days. Also remember that ceiling fans are an excellent way to circulate air and cut back on energy costs, especially if your man cave has high ceilings. You might even consider an attic/house fan to pull cool air in from outdoors.
When finishing off the inside of your man cave, look for eco friendly products like recycled flooring. If you want something new, there are a variety of natural floorings that are sustainable sources, such as bamboo and cork. There are even many good quality carpets that are made of recycled bottles and clothing, too.
Plumbing may be another issue in a standalone building. If you don’t have access to traditional water or sewer hookups, a small composting toilet is a great eco friendly option. A good, professional system will operate with very little maintenance, will produce no odor, and won’t use any water or require a sewer line or septic tank. Composting toilets can be expensive to purchase up front, but they do pay dividends in the long run with reduced water and sewer bills.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started. There are many more ways to create a relaxing and entertaining space that’s still green. By building an eco friendly man cave, you’ll not only have a unique space for spending time with friends, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something great for the environment, too.