Green or sustainable building are terms we encounter more and more often and they refer to a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient and which can relate to a variety of actions or features and actions, from design to construction, maintenance, renovation and then demolition. But what exactly makes a house green and how can be emphasize this aspect in our homes? The solutions are numerous.
First of all, it’s important to know how the energy is spent in your home. Around 40% of the energy is used for heating and cooling. The rest is divided between the appliances, which use around 10% of the total energy, the electronics and computers which use another 10% and the lighting which uses around the same amount. To that, add a series of other elements such as water heating for example which, in the U.S. uses around 12% of the total energy.
The basics means for creating an eco-friendly home include things like:
- Installing solar panels, which are expensive but allow you to save money in the long run and, more importantly, help the environment and prolong the life of our planet.
- Double glazing for the windows, a solution meant to offer better insulation for the home by keeping the cold air out during the winter and the trapping the heat inside. This also reduces the transmission of sound, another great advantage.
- Cavity wall insulation, which can substantially reduce heating costs. It’s used to reduce heat loss through a cavity wall by filling the air space with material that inhibits heat transfer.
- Energy-saving lightbulbs which have become more and more popular and are used around the world. This is the easiest way to save energy without being a major investment and without requiring a lot of work.
All of these are home improvements that are worth the initial expense and which contribute to a living environment that’s healthier for us all. To these you can add a list of everyday habits and things which can have the same effect, although to a smaller extent. For example:
- You should always fix a drip as soon as you notice it. Why waste water and air for it when you can solve the problem immediately?
- Learn to take showers instead of baths. They’re shorter use less water so you’d be saving both time and money.
- Don’t dry clothes on the radiator. This causes heater to work much harder and thus use more energy and make your bill bigger. Plus, the wet clothes prevent the heat from properly dispersing around the room and create a damp atmosphere.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly. This helps improve their efficiency so they don’t have to work as hard and use as much energy to offer the results you want and to maintain the temperature constant.
- Put thermostatic valves on the radiators and you’ll be able to set the temperature you want and this way the heater won’t work extra.
- Decorate with rugs and carpets to insulate your home. They keep the floor warm and cozy and they make rooms look and feel more comfortable and inviting as well.
- Wash clothes with cold water. Since most of the energy used by the washer goes into heating the water, you’ll be able to save quite a bit of energy this way.
Sure, you may think these are tiny things with very little impact overall but there are many others like you who apply the same measures and lots of others who do even more than that. For example, there’s a greenhouse in Norway shaped like a dome and covered with solar panels. It’s irrigated using waste water, has a series of long pipes that bring in warm air during the winter and cold air during the summer, vents at the base and windows near the roof which ensure air circulation.
Images from inhabitat.