The green building trend has been gaining ground around the world. It can involve a wide variety of construction and operation attributes that make a building more environmentally friendly than other buildings in some way.
These characteristics can include methods for conserving water, using sustainably sourced building materials and taking advantage of renewable energy, such as solar power. One of the main tenets of an eco-friendly home, though, is energy efficiency.
What are Eco-friendly Homes
Eco-friendly homes use less energy than conventional houses, which saves the homeowners money and protects the environment. It helps reduce climate change in a big way, because 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the electricity sector.
Reducing Heating and Cooling Needs
One of the key ways that eco-friendly homes reduce energy use is through reducing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the residence.
Green buildings achieve this in a number of ways. Thorough insulating the home helps to keep air from escaping or outside air from getting inside. This means that when the homeowners use heating or air conditioning, they lose less of that air through cracks and holes.
In order to determine where air escapes from, you can conduct a home energy audit, which uses thermal mapping to identify these areas. It’s important to check every part of a house. Attics and openings such as windows, and improve the efficiency of your hot water system and heating system.
Thermostats that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times can help you to run your heating and cooling more efficiently. Smart thermostats, which use machine learning to optimize your heating- and cooling-related energy use, are becoming increasingly common today.
Using Natural Light
The average U.S. household devotes 5 percent of its energy spending to lighting. Eco-friendly homes reduce that cost by using more energy-efficient lighting and reducing the need for lighting entirely.
In certain areas, builders can design homes to take advantage of sunlight for lighting and heating. Placing large windows in areas where there’s a lot of sunlight illuminates and heats a home naturally, at least during certain parts of the day.
Where artificial lighting must be used, switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to halogen incandescent, CFL or LED bulbs can save significant amounts of energy. LEDs require only 20 to 25 percent of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs use and last longer 25 times longer. Not only will you save money on energy costs, you’ll also have to buy light bulbs less often.
Another important feature of a green home is the use of energy-efficient appliances. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates appliances through its ENERGY STAR program, which aims to provide certainty to consumers about which products will help them save energy.
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is today being used as a high-tech way to increase the efficiency of home appliances. IoT devices communicate with each other via the Internet, which enables them to coordinate their energy use to make a home run as efficiently as possible.
Manufacturing and Materials Matter
Part of the process of making a home energy-efficient occurs before and during construction. Green homes use materials that were sustainably sourced and produced using energy efficient means.
Local products, for example, don’t need to travel as far and, so, require less fuel. They might also be produced in a factory that operates in an energy efficient manner. Materials that last longer are more efficient as well, because disposing of them and manufacturing new components to replace them requires significant energy use.
Eco-friendly homes have something to offer every homeowner, in part because of how efficiently they use energy. This attribute of green homes has important environmental benefits and saves money on electricity costs as well.
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