Tag Archives: Homes

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

Modern Prefabricated Homes And Their Benefits

While a traditional home is built by workmen on a site, a prefabricated house is built in a factory. In other words, sections of a prefab home are built in large pieces in a factory, transported to the owner’s land and then simply assembled and placed onto a pre-existing foundation.

Modern prefab homes are also popularly known as modular homes as you can put together any number of rooms to create the kind of home you wish.

Prefab homes are increasingly witnessing high demand due to a variety of reasons:

Speedy construction

The construction of a prefab home is much faster than a custom built home. Within two months of order time your home is ready.

Since each room is built in a factory, all you have to do is to place your order with the prefab house builders and your house is built, transported to your site and then put together. On the other hand a traditional home can take few months or even a year.

Life nowadays has become very fast and people are perennially short of time. Prefab modern homes are an ideal option as they are faster to build and hassle-free.

Better Insulation

The insulation of prefabricated walls is superior to traditional houses as they are built in a factory. Although site-built walls are thicker than prefab walls, they still tend to sag over a period of time.

Protection from Bugs

Since modules of prefab houses are built in the factory, they are better protected from bugs. In contrast, traditional homes take a lot of time to build so the timber and other parts are more exposed to damage.

Money Saver

Once your prefab home is built, you can save a lot of money on electricity due to superior insulation. Precious money is also saved on lumber. It generally reduces construction and design costs to a great extent as compared to a traditional home.

Design the Way You Like

With a prefabricated home you get the benefit of designing your own home according to your whims and fancy. You can choose the number of rooms you want, their size, designs, etc.

Environment- Friendly

Prefabricated homes are less damaging to the environment as they are made from recycled, renewable materials, use less energy and don’t pollute. As people are becoming more conscious about environment, the demand for eco-friendly green prefab homes is growing.

In fact, there are green home building websites now that offer aesthetically designed environment-friendly prefab houses, modern outdoor and indoor furniture, home accessories, etc.

Better Equipped to Handle Natural Disasters

Prefab homes are stronger than traditional homes. Particularly, for an area which has experienced hurricanes or tornadoes, a prefab is an ideal choice as they can withstand violent storms and other natural disasters better than traditional homes.

Lower prices, faster and easier to build, and a range of designs to choose from are the chief benefits of prefabricated homes. The popularity of prefabricated homes is thus sky rocketing.

Prefab homes today are built from such advanced technology that you can’t even tell the difference between a prefabricated house and a traditional house. People from all walks of life are now choosing prefabricated homes instead of traditional homes.

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

Passive Houses, the Best Eco-friendly Homes

With ever-increasing population, coupled with the continued world appetite for more energy, there is a global demand for energy-efficient homes. In response, architects all over the world are designing more sustainable homes that use better insulation and high-efficiency appliances. These designers are also incorporating in their buildings, the use of new sources of power, such as solar panels and wind turbines, which are the icons of the green building. In such a quest for the best eco-friendly homes, passive houses were born.

Passive houses were started in a small town in Germany outside of Frankfurt. The objective of a passive house is to create a warm and comfortable house without energy demand. The goal is accomplished by recycling heating.

Surprisingly, many people in North America are not familiar with them even though they are gaining a lot of following in European countries. As it incredible as it may sound, they use 90% less energy than a traditional house We are talking about paying only 10% of the energy bill that a traditional home is paying.

Just as North America is lagging behind China and some European and Asian countries in internet broad band use, it has yet to wake up to the tremendous energy savings that these inventive homes are providing. The Passivhaus Standard as it is known is much firmer than the Energy Star that many in North America consider as adequate environmental barometer.

Even as President Barack Obama is already being considered as the environmental President by many for his bold initiatives to transform the U.S. as the undisputed leader in the new and growing green economy, many in Europe are way ahead of the curve on passive homes. While the Obama government is poised to overhauling 75% of federal buildings in an effort to save $2 billion through energy efficiency alone, and the funding of green schools, passive homes are little unknown here.

Best green homes:

Passive houses use only 10% of energy used by conventional homes of comparable size. They use “recycled heat” generated inside the house to heat the home itself. By incorporating ultra-thick insulation and re-engineered doors and windows, the house is sealed so that no heat gets out and no cold air sips in. They are extremely energy efficient houses that don’t need an extensive heating or cooling system like geothermal heating system or heating boiler.

The house is heated by the sun, but also from the heat from the residents and even appliances in conjunction with an air-heat exchange system to provide fresh air and recycle the heat of outgoing air. In the winter, only a back-up heating element of 1kW maximum is recommended. The heating requirements for the U.S. is less or equal to 15kW/sq m. To make sure that a house meets the energy performance standard for passive houses, it is tested with ‘blowerdoor’ and thermal infrared camera.It is important to note that the building principles used in building passive houses can be transferred to new buildings and retrofits.

There are now an estimated 15,000 passive houses worldwide, most of them being built recently and mostly in Europe. What is holding the U.S back from this all important leadership role in the green economy?