Global warming, pollution and toxic wastes scream that ourenvironment is rapidly deteriorating. To protect our own interests, itis quite imperative that we should think and implement ways andtechniques that are eco-friendly. We can think of building homes orremodeling an existing home using eco-friendly materials and methods.This goes a long way in contributing towards protecting our environment. A green home can be designed to be eco-friendly. Use of recycled materials, energy andwater efficient appliances, low VOC materials to check the air qualityare some ways to consider when building a home. On an average, buildingsuch homes costs nearly twenty five percent more than building astandard construction. However, choosing to build an eco-friendly homenot only saves the environment but also make great savings on your pocket.
Energy efficient home appliances
Energy Star is a standard created by United States EnvironmentalProtection Agency. It is an effort to conserve energy and green houseconsumption. Appliances built on this standard normally use twenty tothirty percent less energy than required by federal standards. Suchgadgets carry the Energy Star logo. Energy Star appliances adhere tostrict compliance to meet energy efficiency guidelines set by EPA and US Department of Energy. Home is full of appliances which use lot ofenergy. When you are building or remodeling your existing home, investin buying or replacing your existing appliances energy star complianthome gadgets. Apart from these, simple steps such as turning off thelights/fan when not in use, installing additional insulation and usingCFLs help to reduce and conserve energy significantly.
Renewable energy generation
Energy that renews or replenishes through natural resources such asrain, sunlight, wind, geothermal heat is Renewable Energy. This energycan replace conventional energy mainly in transport gas,powergeneration, hot space or water heating. The cost of operation andmaintenance is low for these facilities. These have low impact on theenvironment since they generate very low waste products or chemicalpollutants.
1) PacWind is a vertical axis wind turbine at home
Seahawk from Pacwind is a compact turbine unit that can be used for homes,buildings,boats, emergency and remote power. This vertical wind turbine is designed to supply electrical loads in 48,24 or 12 VDC. It measuresabout 55 inches in height and 30 inches in diameter. It has severaladvantages over a conventional propeller. It is completely noiseless and vibration free. Since the direction of the wind is irrelevant, crosswinds do not affect VAWT. It has only one part that is movable. You caneffectively make use of this eco-friendly wind turbine whenever andwherever the wind blows.
2) Solar air heaters for warm, green winters
Solar Air Heaters use sun’s energy to heat the air and passes it through a thermalchimney. The hot air is transferred from the chimney to the room, thusmaking your room warmer in winters. You can also make use of standardfans or solar power to speedup the process. Ready made heaters as wellas DIY heaters are also available. Thus, you can heat up your homespending less energy as well as less money.
3) Walking House
This compact modular dwelling system is suitable for people who live a life of a vagabond. It moves throughthe land collecting energy from its surroundings making use of solar and wind energy. It also collects rain water and has a solar heated hotwater system. It features a composting toilet to dispose the sewage. The construction can equip up to four people to lead a normal daily life.It is made of steel,wood and aluminum and windows are made ofpolycarbonate material.
Eco building materials have very minimal impact on the environment or helps in conserving energy.These materials come from renewable resources and are non-toxic. Theyare durable and need minimal maintenance. It can be cleaned easilywithout the use of chemical detergents. Such materials reduce toxicemissions and helps in providing a toxic free environment for itsinhabitants. Cellulose insulation has low organic compound-emittingmaterials which can be used for insulation. Building materials are made from plant materials, sustainable lumber, recycled stone, non-toxic ,renewable and recyclable products. Green homes make efficient use ofsunlight and wind and make great energy savers. An enormous volume ofgas emission can be reduced by simply constructing buildings that useenergy efficient concepts.
Good insulation conserves significant amount of energy. Insulationmade from recycled materials do not contain chemical irritants. Aproperly insulated building brings down energy emissions as well aselectricity bills. There are many green and sustainable alternativesthat can be used for insulation.
Best types of green insulation
- Sheep Wool Insulation : This is an excellent insulation material and has low embodied energy. It needs to be treated with chemicals toreduce fire risk and prevent mite infestation. These are natural,non-flammable and make it very eco-friendly.
- Cellulose: This is made of newsprit and other cellulose fibre. Itcan be used in floors, roofs, used as loose fill or in quilts, batts and boards.
- Flax and Hemp : These are made of natural plant fibers and have lowembodied energy. This can be used as a fire retardant, fungicide or aninsecticide. Few examples are Flax 100 and Isonat.
- Eco Fiberglass – This environment friendly product contains fortyfive percent of recycle materials. It uses binders that have zeroformaldehyde.
- Expanded Clay Aggregate : These small clay pellets can be used as an aggregate and insulator. It expands at high temperature and becomeweight-bearing and have good insulation properties.
There are devices to monitor the energy consumptions including greenhouse emissions at home. These are helpful in providing info to theusers so that the data can be used in reducing the energy consumption.These monitors range from being simple to complex energy saving machines. Cutting back theenergy usage helps not only on the environment but also the pocket.