Green Home – Are you interested in making your home more energy efficient and green? With rising energy costs and sky high utility bills, most of us are looking for ways to cut costs and save some money. You can start right at home, by making a few simple changes to make your home energy efficient and more eco friendly.
But beyond energy efficiency, there are several other important factors that go into the design of a green home. For example, water conservation, indoor air quality, and the use of safer building materials can all contribute to a more eco-friendly home. This applies to new construction, as well as renovating and greening an older home for improvement and sale.
Here’s a list of some of the factors to consider when remodeling your house, or buying a green home.
Proper Ventilation – The home should have the right number and placement of exhaust fans, proper ventilation, vapor barriers, and duct sealing. A well designed thermal envelope can make the home more comfortable and energy efficient. Ventilation systems should be wrapped and sealed to prevent air loss.
Air Quality – To make the home healthier, safe building materials should be used to limit introduction of noxious and harmful vapors. For example, use zero-VOC or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and install recycled, reclaimed, or sustainable flooring made from materials that don’t have formaldehyde, such as bamboo or cork. Consider installing physical termite barriers instead of chemical treatments, where appropriate.
Water Efficiency – Consider installing dual-flush toilets, low- flow shower heads, and a tankless water heater, or at a minimum; a more energy efficient Energy Star rated model.
Insulation – One of the best choices a consumer can make is to install additional insulation. Use formaldehyde-free insulation. Additionally, install a radiant barrier on the underside of the roof, where appropriate.
Roofing – Consider metal or cement tile roofing, or durable shingles rated for 40 years or more.
Appliances and Furnaces – Use Energy Star rated appliances. The HVAC (air conditioning) systems should have a 17 SEER rating or better, and furnaces should have a 90+ rating. The heating and cooling unit size and placement should be properly thought out to increase efficiency.
Lighting – Install energy efficient fixtures. Compact fluorescent light bulbs should be used in place of halogen or incandescent bulbs.
Windows and Doors – Install double-paned, Low-E windows. Properly shade windows that face the sun, or install window overhangs. Install storm doors where appropriate.
Thermostat Timers – Install a programmable thermostat and hot water heater timer.
Exterior – Consider installing low maintenance materials that make sense for your climate and region, such as fiber cement siding, 40-year shingles, and engineered wood framing.
Landscaping – Eco landscaping considers careful selection of plants, and focuses on water conservation. Use green landscape design practices, such as reducing the size of the lawn. Consider the proper placement of trees to help shade the home and reduce cooling costs.
Use hardscape materials to reduce weeds and eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides. Use native plants and xeriscape techniques to avoid the need for excessive care and watering. Compost. Install drip irrigation systems and consider reclaiming water.
You can see that from top to bottom, you can look at your entire home indoors and out to look for potential improvements to make it more eco friendly. It’s not too hard to make your existing house a green home. By making at least a few simple changes to improve energy efficiency, in no time you will see the positive results in your utility bills. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing that you are doing more for the environment at the same time, and that always feels good.