Tag Archives: Green

Small Green Homes

A small home can pack a super-sized punch when it comes to reducing a house’s environmental footprint. Energy-efficient, sustainable homes tend to be smaller homes, which inherently have less square footage inside and less acreage outside. The inside costs less to heat, cool and light, leading to less energy consumption, and a minimal-sized lawn-if any-needs minimal maintenance, reducing emissions and contributing to a much healthier environment. But there’s more to a “green home” than meets the eye.

A green home does not need to look as if it was built for the year 2100. In fact, many green homes look, from the outside, like other homes going up in new subdivisions. But on the inside and some unseen places on the outside, these abodes are unusual. Features such as rainwater capturing systems, a roof designed for solar installation, carpeting made of recycled materials, and wind power are just a few ways that a house is built with the environment in mind.

The greenest of the green are residential homes built to be certified to the highest standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Conforming to the standards provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program, LEED has long been used for commercial and government buildings, but home certification is a relatively new phenomenon. One way that a green home is defined is its rating as being at least 40 percent more energy efficient than standard-code homes.

For the pure sake of building cost, smaller homes are the most likely to be built as “green” homes. Many of the systems that are constructed as eco-friendly are not cheap, and the fewer solar panels and the smaller self-sustaining heating and cooling systems equate to a smaller build-out budget. The elements that make a home a green home have dropped in cost over the past several years, but constructing a basic LEED-certified house still runs about $3,500 more than it would cost to build a regular house. The highest-level LEED-certified home costs about $29,000 more. The smaller the home, the less expensive the process. The same concept applies to existing-home renovations or “greening up” an older home.

One example of a company that successfully merges the concepts of “green” and “small” is seen with Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founded by Jay Shafer. Shafer started building small homes out of his concern about the impact a larger house has on the environment. More than 10 years later, these “tiny” portable homes not only minimize square footage, but the green homes are fully insulated with double-pane windows and an adequate heater.

More and more homebuilders are greening the American Dream. It is suggested to verify a builder’s credentials by asking for their ANSI-approved ICC-700-2008 National Green Building Standard certification (see http://www.nahbgreen.org for more information). Check out these builders online:

Atlas Home Contractors, atlashomecontractorsinc.com
BPC Green Builders, bpcgreenbuilders.com
Castalia Homes, castaliahomes.com
Dominion Homes, dominionhomes.com
Grady O Grady, gradyogrady.com
Integrity Builders, homesbyintegrity.com
Jurenka Custom Homes, jurenka.com
Ondra Home Building, ondrahomebuilding.com
RC Green Builders, rcgreenbuildersaz.com
Summit Custom Homes, summitcustomhomeskc.com
Zero Energy, zeroenergyllc.com

6 Green House Considerations

Because of the many environmental concerns, threats and considerations, many buyers, as well as homeowners, today, have become more – and – more concerned with various factors, often referred to as green real estate. There are many considerations, and variations, as well as degrees of greening individuals are interested in. Some (however a minority) are real environmentalists, and want their home, to exhibit their concern and attention, to this very important issue. Others merely want to proceed in a somewhat balanced manner, and want to include reasonable green characteristics. This article will be a basic one, and discuss, in general terms, 6 considerations, regarding making your home, a greener one.

1. Windows and doors: Obviously, energy conservation is a major environmental concern. We often speak about a business’ carbon footprint, but, obviously, certain houses are far more energy – efficient than others. When were your windows replaced and/ or upgraded, and are they efficient? Do they keep out most of the cold, in the winter, and minimize the amount of heat, which enters in the hottest weather? What materials are your windows and doors, made of? Do your doors leak? Begin by having someone do an energy inspection, and see if you are losing much heat, because of inefficiencies. Doors can often be made more efficient, by having them re – hung, and putting a properly installed, sweep, on the bottom of the door. How much money, and energy are you wasting?

2. Solar, geo – thermal, etc: Some houses are candidates for solar panels, while others are not! What direction does your roof face? Are there any large trees blocking your roof? How many hours a day, of sun, does your roof, experience? Have you had your home examined, to discover whether you might be a good candidate for geo – thermal? This often requires a combination and evaluation of your property, pitch, location, and layout.

3. Energy – efficient burners/ boilers, and air conditioners: When was the last energy efficiency evaluation, you had performed? How old is your burner/ boiler, and is it efficient? What type of air conditioning do you use, and what it the Energy Efficiency Rating?

4. Roof: Light – colored roofs reflect heat, while darker ones, absorb it. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense, that warmer climates should use lighter ones, and colder ones, darker? What is the material being used? Is it efficient, effective and safe? How old is the roof?

5. Insulation: What is the rating of your insulation, and how well insulated, is the house? Have the walls (especially outside ones) checked, for efficiency? Older houses tend not to have updated insulation, or may contain less than the safest materials. An ounce of prevention, makes lots of sense!

6. Materials: Are you using safe, sustainable materials, in your house? This is generally more relevant, in newer houses, or extensions, but if you are concerned with the environment, you should consider the sustainability, safety and impacts of your home!

There are numerous environmental considerations. Whether you are truly committed to the environment, or merely want to be responsible, and save money (and be safer), it makes sense to think green!

Features You Must Look For When Buying Green Real Estate

The eco-friendly features of green real estate are what make green properties so interesting for the investors and buyers. A simple house with green features can help the homeowner save lots of money by cutting down the need of many resources. For instance, the power saving green features can substantially bring down the electricity bills. Likewise, water saving attributes can ensure reduced water bills and so on. So, next time when you begin hunting for a suitable green property, do look for these green features.

* The property must be properly insulated with recyclable materials. This would make sure that the house does not undergo extreme temperature fluctuations due to the outside climatic conditions. Besides, windows are known to be one of the major culprits here, as they cause transfer of heat and thus, lead to high heating and cooling bills. So, look for a house with double-pane windows with great insulating properties.

* An environment friendly furnace is another feature of green real estate that would allow you to easily and cost-effectively heat the property. Make sure it has an efficient thermostat.

* If a solar water heater is installed in the property, then you can be fully assured of getting hot water throughout the year without spending much. Usually, solar panels last for fifteen to twenty years. To get the most out of them, it is important to clean and maintain them regularly. Also, make sure that they have been installed in a place where they can receive unobstructed sunlight.

* Green properties generally have water saving bathroom fixtures, such as low flow shower heads, water cisterns and faucets. So, see to it that the property you choose has water efficient features. If the house is located in any drought prone place, then you should also make sure that it has a good sized water storage tank or device.

* There should be a backyard, where you can create a nice kitchen garden of your own. Growing vegetables and herbs at home is a great step towards a green lifestyle. Considering this fact, even the architects and builders today design houses with enough space for the kitchen garden.

With growing awareness about environment safety, most people now look for green features when buying real estate. This not only helps them play their role towards the nature, but also enhances the appeal, as well as value, of their property. Though, green homes and offices are usually more cost effective than traditional buildings, there are a few features, like installation of solar panels, wind turbines etc, that may require high set up costs. However, all these features offer many long term benefits in the form of better health and reduced utility bills. So, it does not matter even if one has to pay more for these additional green features. So, look for all these features when purchasing real estate and you are sure to enjoy a great deal.

Eco-Friendly and Green Cleaning Tips For Terrazzo Tile

Terrazzo is a combination of marble chips and cement, and comes in a variety of different colors and designs. It is a versatile and eco-friendly floor choice for a many different reasons-one of the most important being the green cleaning options available to it. Understanding what is safe, and harmful to your terrazzo floor, as well as what is safe for the environment will help you determine the best eco-friendly cleaning choices for your terrazzo floor.

The first thing to consider when practicing eco-friendly terrazzo floor cleaning is the use of commercial cleaners. The most important tip I could give you is to avoid using these cleaners if at all possible, especially if you are not familiar with the product. There are few terrazzo floor cleaning products out there that are eco-friendly, and many of them can also harm your terrazzo if you are not careful. You don’t want to be another horror story retold by the contractors repairing your discolored or damaged terrazzo flooring. Remember that most chemicals are far from eco-friendly and contain chemicals that are harmful-in both the air of your house, as well as in the water you dump into the drain or yard.

The most eco-friendly option for your terrazzo flooring is to have it cleaned and polished professionally. This has a few different benefits. Even if you do decide to use a commercial cleaner, many times it just doesn’t do too much for your terrazzo floor. It may still appear dull or yellowed. Cleaning and polishing will brighten your terrazzo flooring making it look fresh and new. The best part? It is absolutely eco-friendly. Polishing terrazzo requires no chemicals. A contractor will come in with specialized machinery that will strip a very thin layer off the top of your terrazzo floor, exposing a fresh layer that will be much brighter and lively.

Aside from the actual process, polishing terrazzo is also eco-friendly once finished. A cleaned and polished terrazzo floor will improve lighting efficiency because of it’s smooth and lustrous finish. This is particularly important for large areas of terrazzo flooring-such as in warehouses, showrooms, or factories. The only thing better than eco-friendly cleaning is eco-friendly cleaning that saves you money in the long run. In the same vein, a polished terrazzo floor will require minimal maintenance, and will retain its shine for a lifetime.

Terrazzo flooring is unique, versatile, and sophisticated. You can make sure yours is looking its best, in the most eco-friendly way possible.

Green House and Its Requirements – Its Relevance For the Environment

When you look around seriously for a green house, among many features, the surroundings of your dream house should be a primary concern. The other aspect, as important as the primary concern, is the features which are essential for the less consumption of energy and fuel on a day to day basis.

The proposed home is located at such a place where everything essential for normal living is available easily. Then it can be classified as a green home rather than a home which is located far away and you have to drive around a lot for trivial things. A house requiring so much travel can not be considered as green home even if the ambiance of the atmosphere is too environmental friendly. This is because of the simple reason that you will be expending more time and money than necessary for fuel expenses.

Many people dream of self sufficiency for a green home. Self sufficiency means producing enough food for a normal family from a well maintained garden, solar energy panels or a wind/water mill within the compound.

Both the above conditions proposed have a common point. They do not need the support of the local grid fully or partially. An apparent contribution towards the environment is evident, that is they are not part of high consumption of energy.

If your search has landed you in a place where you are not in a well placed location and instead have many facilities for self sufficiency then, your concentration should be on a well designed home. The designing has to be made in such a way that the place is cool in summer and warm in winter, with the bare minimum need for air conditioning and heating.

With this type of environmentally healthy design along with the use of certified energy content appliances, you will contribute significantly towards energy saving. But for many, the initial investment is prohibitive and this will pay off handsomely in the near future.

The acquiring of a green home is not the only avenue for helping the environment. We have to insist for the products which cause less damage to the environment during production. Additionally, we can stick to the use of products which are bio degradable for cleaning purposes etc.

We will be significantly contributing to the well being of the environment. So be a part of the elite who are hell bent on creating a healthy environment for self and future generations.

Going Green With Eco-Friendly Products – Products That Help the Environment When You Use Them

Which products help the environment when you use them? This is one of the important questions in finding eco-friendly products. There are a number of ways of going green, and we should do all of them because our environmental situation is urgent. Buying eco-friendly products are one of the crucial ways of going green. So which ones are eco-friendly?

Which are the products that help the environment when you use them? Here is a quick list of products that help the environment, organized into 3 categories:

Those that reduce our need dirty for energy and help produce clean energy:

-Solar panels on the house

-Wind generators on our house or in the neighborhood

-Solar chargers, flashlights, etc.

Those that lower our energy consumption:

-CFCs

-Energy-Star appliances

-LED light bulbs and screens

-Digital reading gadgets

Those that reduce or eliminate harm done to the environment:

-Plant-based cleaners

-Hybrid cars

-Bicycles (it’s not too late to take up this past-time and get in shape while saving the planet)

-Push lawn-mowers (yes, another habit-changing device)

Take out a pencil and see if you can’t come up with a list of more eco-friendly items or products that help the environment with their use. Think about those things that you have in your house already that help the environment. Expand your mind to consider more than just “Green” or “Eco-Friendly” products. Think about those products you could use to replace current energy-hogs or products that are more reusable and/or more easily disposable.

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start out onto the path of going green. Eco-friendly products are a good way to begin.

Thanks for reading about eco-friendly products that help the environment, a great start to going green!

Green Homes – Green Home Building For Eco Friendly Living

Green homes are houses that are kinder to the planet. They use lesser energy, produce less waste, and are a healthier environment for the people inside. Green homes come out of a philosophy of being more eco-friendly to the environment. They save on electricity, find ways to cut down on carbon-waste and general energy consumption. Green homes can put money in your pocket, and give you the peace of mind you are doing your bit to help sustain our planet.

Energy

Most of us would to make the world a little “greener” by reducing our home energy consumption. There has been improvement in building techniques and materials over the last couple of decades, which means that homes are becoming more energy efficient. Do you dream of a house with no carbon emissions and zero-net-energy use? This can be achieved with a strategy that includes alternative energy sources, and conscientious fabrication methods and standards. We can channel in green energy into our homes without breaking the bank. There are DIY home energy programs that cost thousands of dollars but there are also DIY Solar and wind turbine schemes that will only cost a few hundred dollars, and that can be implemented without great technical skills. You can reach your goal of a Zero Energy Home, and it maybe just a couple of steps away…

Design: Living Green Designer Homes

When we think of eco friendly homes, or sustainable homes, we probably have an image of an odd-looking place? Too many panels and windmills all over it, maybe half buried on a hill, or too high tech for our budget? That may have been the case once but it’s now possible to design a home that is beautiful, and will give you a degree of independence from both present and future water and energy cost increases and shortages There is evidence of a growing concern about environmental and design issues. There is information available from government from which you can learn about design of green buildings for energy conservation. Good modern design standards readily integrate sustainable features such as rainwater collection, alternative power sources, grey water recycling, solar hot water and water efficient landscaping.

Sustainability

In December 2006, The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced as a voluntary code in the UK and by May 2008 has become a national standard. It rates the key elements of design and construction which impact upon sustainability and efficiency. It is used by architects, builders and consumers alike in helping them plan and design new homes. The code awards new homes a star rating from 1 to 6, based on their performance against 9 sustainability criteria which assess the overall environmental impact. These are model green home building guidelines!

Building regulations require at least One Star. Six Stars reflects exemplary sustainability.The sustainability criteria by which new homes are measured are:

Energy and CO2 Emissions

Water H20 & Surface Water Run-off

Materials

Waste

Pollution

Health and Well-Being

Management of the environmental impacts of the construction and operation

Ecology

The key is to achieve sustainability without compromising either design or quality. The Code introduces minimum standards for energy and environmental factors affecting the sustainability of a home, and the rating takes into account different elements of sustainability. These include energy, transport, pollution, materials, land use and ecology and health and well-being. The UK Government has set the industry a target of delivering zero-carbon homes by 2016.

The aim of sustainable homes is to deliver real improvements in key areas such as carbon dioxide emissions and water use.

Carbon

Carbon reduction is high on the political agenda of all nations, yet there is a clear struggle for governments to come to terms with the measures that must be taken to achieve the reduction goals that our best science tells us is needed. Much can be achieved by action at the household level that can drastically reduce the enormity of the tasks that faces governments looking at the problems on a macro scale. Motivation for the changes that are needed is key, as it is in anything great but difficult that we strive for. One ‘carrot’ in the budget for households is the direct benefit of reduced energy bills achieved by making an effort to reduce their own carbon pollution. In the UK, London Green Homes service uniquely offers a free telephone advice service, a website and a paid-for green service to provide a free tailor-made package of carbon saving lifestyle improvements. The service has great flexibility, offering Londoners advice on a broad range of actions to reduce carbon emissions from lifestyle changes; and explains how best to save money on energy bills. It is the UK’s first one-stop-shop for information on how to make homes more carbon efficient.

Environmental

A US survey has shown that 87% of home buyers want to know how their homes rate in terms of environmental performance in order to make an informed decision when moving house. Further, 84% would pay an average 2% more for an eco-friendly home. Environmentally friendly homes are no longer a luxury reserved only for the richest Americans. Environmental concerns, dependence on foreign oil, water shortages, vanishing species, are all factors in an increasing the awareness of the call for us to be better stewards of the earth and its resources.

In this environmentally aware world, we are hearing more about green homes, eco friendly living and sustainable homes. Green homes that are designed to be energy efficient, use environmentally friendly and healthy materials and conserver water are becoming the standard. In addition to new building standards, there are simple environmentally friendly, DIY projects that will help curb energy costs, and improve your homes value.

Space is still the most important consideration for home buyers, but environmental considerations and use of eco-friendly materials are very high on the list of priorities. Architectural firms today are often committed to developing creative yet environmentally sustainable components of space for the betterment of lifestyle and family in a way that supports responsible stewardship of the environment and natural resources. Green living and building, with an emphasis on health, energy efficiency and environmental conservation, has never been more relevant than it is today. As time goes on, there will be more attention given to advocating for socially just and environmentally-minded rebuilding solutions. Home-building imposes very significant environmental and social costs at all levels. Impacts of new home construction include:

quarrying to provide basic raw construction materials like aggregates,

water consumption, and the widespread use of toxic

chemicals in building materials.

Conclusion

Green homes can put money in your pocket, they don’t need to be thought of as an expensive way to do what’s demanded of us for the environment. Sustainable homes give you peace of mind from knowing that you are doing everything you can to help sustain the planet. Sustainable homes don’t have to be unattractive anymore, and unsuitable for residential architecture. Green homes are better for the environment because they use less energy, less water, and have a lower impact on the environment

4 Easy Tips To Go Green And Thus Attract More Tenants

Going green is the trend these days, and it’s because more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious. As a landlord, you should be able to identify this trend and use it to your advantage to make your house look more attractive to the tenants. There are several ways in which you can make your house green. Here are 4 easy environment-friendly tips on attracting more tenants:

1. Introduce Green Replacements

If you are about to renovate your house before putting it back on the rental market, or even before doing something as small as fixing a broken bulb, consider getting green replacements. This is generally better if your tenants are already living in the house, as it reduces the downtime.

Check if the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer have Energy Star ratings. Replace older shower heads with low-flow models. Other small things that you can pay attention to include light bulbs, carpets, window coverings, and paints.

2. Use Solar Energy

It has been found that heating water using electricity is a major contributor to power consumption and electricity bills. While solar panels have been making a leeway into apartment complexes, you should make it a priority even if it’s an individual house. Solar heat pumps are available on the market, and the government has been supporting the idea with subsidies. The future will see better storage technologies for solar power, and your house will appear smart to the tenants with this choice. And hey, it would reduce the bills too!

3. Insulate Your House

Insulating your home is a direct step towards encouraging sustainability. You can trap cold air in the summers and warm air in the winters. This reduces the annual costs involved in using air conditioners and heat radiators. There are ample cheap, recycled insulators in the market that are made of wool and polyester. You should definitely consider getting them.

4. Get Compost And Recycle Bins

You can get your tenants some inexpensive recycle bins. It would be great if you can get compost bins too, as these will promote waste reduction and proper recycling of food waste. You can even buy some fruit gardens to use the compost. Tenants will really appreciate this.

These days, more and more house hunters are looking to live in environmentally friendly areas. Follow these simple steps to not only ensure that you attract green-savvy tenants, but also help the house live long.

Ways to Make Your House More Green

Building a new home is a perfect time to integrate green features in it. A green home not only reduces cost of construction, but also makes it more marketable in the future. Let’s see how you can make your house more green.

Make your walls and roof well insulated

Effective insulation makes your apartment warm during winter and cold during summer. Through wool, glass fiber batts and reflective foils, you can insulate the walls and roof of your house. Heating and cooling process account for more than 50% of the home’s total energy consumption.

Replace old and leaky windows

Replace old and leaky windows with energy-efficient models. You can also boost efficiency of the windows via weather-stripping. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones is a common practice followed by green homeowners.

Install plenty of ceiling fans

Installing ceiling fans in every room is a great way to reduce carbon footprints. Ceiling fans are cheaper than air conditioners and consume less power. They reduce your monthly electricity bill and protect the environment.

Use energy-saving light bulbs

Compact fluorescent lamps are a part of eco-friendly houses. These bulbs, though expensive, consume less energy, produce less heat and last longer than traditional bulbs. You can save a lot by using these energy-efficient bulbs.

Plant trees around your house

A good landscaping is essential to make your house green. Hence, plant plenty of trees and shrubs around your home. They not only improve the home’s overall look, but also generate pure oxygen – an absolute must for a healthy living.

Use energy star appliances

Energy Star is a renowned symbol on energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star is a program started to cut greenhouse gas emission. Energy Star appliances are cheaper as compared to others. When appliances meet certain criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency, they earn this label.

Have cross ventilation

Cross ventilation helps a house to cool down fast. You can make cross ventilation by opening doors or windows on the opposite side of your home. This allows free-flow of breeze. Don’t just open a single door or window. Have higher ceilings and wide entry halls for more circulation of air.

Opt for renewable source energy

Opting for renewable source of energy reduces dependence on coal-burning power plants. These plants emit a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Install solar panels on roof to harness the power of sun. Your electricity bill will scale down manifold when you opt for natural sources of energy.

Upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system

Upgrading your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system reduces your energy cost by nearly 30%. Divide your heating and cooling system into multiple zones in your home to save money.

Is There Really A Need for Sustainable Green Housing?

Anchored on the growing issues of climate change and global warming, sustainable green housing plans and developments have been at the forefront of many real estate company portfolios. The reasons that green housing are more sustainable than the traditional or conventional houses become a primary key point in lobbying these types of homes to modern-day home buyers. The demand for more eco-friendly houses is seen to be doubling incredibly. But sans its purchasing price, is there really a need for sustainable green housing. The rest of the article attempts to explain.

Energy-efficiency

One of the main thrusts of sustainable green housing is to provide home owners with houses that are energy-efficient. This means that the entire household, through various means, can cut down its power-related expenses. Aside from the use of construction materials that facilitate natural movement of cool and hot air when needed, energy efficiency also lies on the use of appliances that are certified Energy Star compliant. With its logo depicted in a household appliance, expect to cut down on your electric bill to as much as 50% compared to non-compliant models.

Resource conservation

A new construction home uses a lot of materials that required raw ingredients to be used during their manufacture. Wall, floor, and roofing materials all consume some of the earth’s natural resources. If you are going to use new materials each time – you become liable for the depletion of natural resources. For instance, materials made of wood directly increase the number of trees being cut down. And for every tree being cut down, an area of the forest becomes depleted. In green housing, the use of fully-recycled or partly-recycled construction materials is promoted. This is a great answer towards resource conservation.

Healthier indoor and outdoor setting

Green housing also aims to provide home owners with houses that maintain healthier indoor and outdoor setting. By standards, the use of construction materials that emit harmful components like gases is avoided. This means that green houses are to be free of paints with VOCs, asbestos, and other materials which are hazardous to the health. Don’t you want a healthier indoor air that is free of these respiratory hazards?

For a healthier outdoor setting, sustainable home gardening is encouraged. Not only ornamental plants are advised for planting, but also those which are herbal, and those which yield fruits and vegetables. Isn’t this healthy? To make it healthier, make it organic by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers. You’ll have tasty garden fresh ingredients for use in your already-appetizing recipes. How’s that for sumptuous meals?

Green housing aims to make lives comfortable not only with the appeal and design of the house, but also of its healthier approach to functionality.