Friday, 10 May 2013 09:40
Gaze upon the Helliers’ half-built house in Bristol, Vermont, and you might think you’re looking at an ordinary home construction project. Table saws, building materials, and piles of earth lie around the newly framed dwelling, while a crew of carpenters mills around the site, dressed for warmth in the chilly fall air. But look closer, and some unique features emerge. The exterior frame is wrapped in an outer layer of heat-trapping insulation. Sunshine streams in through large, south-facing windows, flooding the interior living spaces with light. Once the house is completed, solar panels will supply the family’s hot water and much of its electrical power. And indoor finishes, paints, rugs, and fabrics will be nontoxic.
In short, the Helliers’ house is being built to be green. And that puts it in good company; new green homes jumped in number by 30% between 2005 and 2006 and could include up to 5% of the entire U.S. housing market within five years, predicts McGraw-Hill Construction, an industry information provider, in its June 2006 Residential Green Building SmartMarket Report. That makes green homes bright spots in an otherwise dismal housing market facing its worst slump in decades.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 11:31LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are specialized semi-conductors (about 1 mm square) whose convex covers focus the light they emit. LED's have been around for years, but they were colored (red, green, blue) and not practical for general lighting use. In time, LED-makers figured out how to produce a warm white light from those colors (phosphorous coating is one way) and to create bulbs with enough output to satisfy almost any lighting requirement.
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 18:16Following is a list of myths about energy and energy savings. Sometimes the basic premise is correct, but the energy savings are much smaller than people realize. In other cases the myth is based on factors that were once true but have been subsequently resolved through better design or manufacturing of products.
Well-intentioned information campaigns during oil crises of the 1970's created a lot of confusion about how to save energy and even about how to talk about saving energy. Energy efficiency means getting a job done with less energy. This could be lighting a room, cooling a house, or refrigerating some vegetables. The things made possible by using energy are sometimes called "energy services," e.g. illumination, comfort, or food preservation. Energy conservation, on the other hand, means reducing the level of services, e.g. reducing lighting or comfort or turning up the temperature of your fridge. Reducing service levels (conservation) does not necessarily mean sacrifice, however. For example, many spaces are over-lit by current-day standards, water heater temperature are set too high, etc. Consumers have the option of improving energy efficiency (e.g. by purchasing better appliances) and/or reducing service levels, but lowering the quality of life is not a prerequisite for reducing energy demand.
Monday, 29 April 2013 10:06Determining the air quality is not difficult. Do your rooms feel stuffy or have a musty smell? Is moisture present on the interior window panes? Do you have an excessive amount of dust on flat surfaces? Is mold visible in areas of your home, such as on books, shoes, or other items? Do you or family members suffer from sneezing, feel lethargic, or have dry skin? If you answer yes to these questions, it is possible that you may have poor air quality within your home. The EPA ranks indoor air pollution as one of their top health concerns due to greater awareness of health problems such as asthma, allergies, and chemical sensitivities. Three basic strategies for improving your home's air quality are proposed by the EPA.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 11:39Green-certified homes sell for 9% more than regular homes in California and their premium is highest in the hottest and most eco-minded areas, says a report today.
Monday, 22 April 2013 09:18If rising energy prices make you wonder if you'll have to tighten your budget and eat out less, then you need to see this home. Built as a model of energy efficiency, this home building process was anything but normal. Equipped with energy saving windows, bamboo counters, and of course solar power, this home uses zero energy. Yours can too, read to find out how.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 09:07With growing awareness of the effects human activities can have on the global environment, people are becoming more interested in using green building techniques. These techniques focus on a few key concepts: using energy-efficient equipment and design, using sustainable materials, reducing impact on environment and human health, and managing water resources.
Thursday, 11 April 2013 07:10
What will the energy-efficient house of the future look like?
It could have gardens on its walls or a pond stocked with fish for dinner. It might mimic a tree, turning sunlight into energy and carbon dioxide into oxygen. Or perhaps it will be more like a lizard, changing its color to suit the weather and healing itself when it gets damaged.Those are just a handful of the possibilities that emerged from an exercise in futurism. The Wall Street Journal asked four architects to design an energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable house without regard to cost, technology, aesthetics or the way we are used to living.
Thursday, 11 April 2013 06:54
Building a green home means reducing your home's impact on the environment. Eco-friendly building involves making choices that take resource use and energy efficiency into account. It includes considering the consequences of your choices on results such as indoor air quality, as well as typical concerns about appearance and affordability.
Friday, 27 January 2012 15:17
To get the most from your home - think sun. That's right, the sun can heat and cool your home and reduce its energy use. More importantly, the energy from the sun can make your home comfortable year round. There are two types of solar design systems -passive and active.
Homes constructed as passive solar design use the natural movement of heat and air to maintain comfortable temperatures, operating with little or no mechanical assistance. It's called passive solar because the design of the home maximizes the benefits it receives from the sun with standard construction features. Passive solar takes advantage of local breezes and landscape features such as shade trees and windbreaks, and uses a simple system to collect and store solar energy with no switches or controls.
On the other hand, active solar systems use mechanical devices such as pumps and fans to move heat from collectors to storage or from storage to use. Photovoltaic panels that collect solar energy, turning it into electricity, are also considered an active solar system.
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