Global warming, pollution and toxic wastes scream that our environment is rapidly deteriorating. To protect our own interests, it is quite imperative that we should think and implement ways and techniques that are eco-friendly. We can think of building homes or remodeling 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 and water efficient appliances, low VOC materials to check the air quality are some ways to consider when building a home. On an average, building such homes costs nearly twenty five percent more than building a standard construction. However, choosing to build an eco-friendly home not 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 Environmental Protection Agency. It is an effort to conserve energy and green house consumption. Appliances built on this standard normally use twenty to thirty percent less energy than required by federal standards. Such gadgets carry the Energy Star logo. Energy Star appliances adhere to strict compliance to meet energy efficiency guidelines set by EPA and US Department of Energy. Home is full of appliances which use lot of energy. When you are building or remodeling your existing home, invest in buying or replacing your existing appliances energy star compliant home gadgets. Apart from these, simple steps such as turning off the lights/fan when not in use, installing additional insulation and using CFLs help to reduce and conserve energy significantly.
Renewable energy generation
Energy that renews or replenishes through natural resources such as rain, sunlight, wind, geothermal heat is Renewable Energy. This energy can replace conventional energy mainly in transport gas,power generation, hot space or water heating. The cost of operation and maintenance is low for these facilities. These have low impact on the environment since they generate very low waste products or chemical pollutants.
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 measures about 55 inches in height and 30 inches in diameter. It has several advantages over a conventional propeller. It is completely noiseless and vibration free. Since the direction of the wind is irrelevant, cross winds do not affect VAWT. It has only one part that is movable. You can effectively make use of this eco-friendly wind turbine whenever and wherever 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 thermal chimney. The hot air is transferred from the chimney to the room, thus making your room warmer in winters. You can also make use of standard fans or solar power to speedup the process. Ready made heaters as well as DIY heaters are also available. Thus, you can heat up your home spending 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 through the land collecting energy from its surroundings making use of solar and wind energy. It also collects rain water and has a solar heated hot water 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 of polycarbonate material.
Eco building materials
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. They are durable and need minimal maintenance. It can be cleaned easily without the use of chemical detergents. Such materials reduce toxic emissions and helps in providing a toxic free environment for its inhabitants. Cellulose insulation has low organic compound-emitting materials 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 of sunlight and wind and make great energy savers. An enormous volume of gas emission can be reduced by simply constructing buildings that use energy efficient concepts.
Good insulation conserves significant amount of energy. Insulation made from recycled materials do not contain chemical irritants. A properly insulated building brings down energy emissions as well as electricity bills. There are many green and sustainable alternatives that 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 to reduce 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. It can 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 low embodied energy. This can be used as a fire retardant, fungicide or an insecticide. Few examples are Flax 100 and Isonat.
- Eco Fiberglass – This environment friendly product contains forty five percent of recycle materials. It uses binders that have zero formaldehyde.
- Expanded Clay Aggregate : These small clay pellets can be used as an aggregate and insulator. It expands at high temperature and become weight-bearing and have good insulation properties.
There are devices to monitor the energy consumptions including green house emissions at home. These are helpful in providing info to the users 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 the energy usage helps not only on the environment but also the pocket.