Geothermal energy. Minimizing use of concrete. Making windows more energy efficient. There are many ways that new homes can showcase environmentally friendly technologies. Here are a few of the current trends in home building for buyers looking to decrease their energy consumption or their carbon footprint.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
The average American household uses well over 50 percent of total energy consumption on heating and cooling. Anything you can do to decrease the amount of energy you use puts less stress on the city’s energy supply and also saves money. Geothermal heat pumps rely on the relatively stable temperature of the earth to heat and cool the home throughout the year. Heat pumps move heat from one place to another, instead of heating or cooling air independently. Since the heat pump is built partially underground, it can take advantage of cooler temperatures in summer and warmer temperatures in winter to keep the home more comfortable. You can even hook it up to a water heater in a lot of instances. Although geothermal heat pumps tend to be more expensive, they use far less energy and can last up to 50 years.
If you want to know of a building item that is really on the black list of carbon emissions, cement would be it. The trouble is that cement is a primary component of concrete, which is the most common building material. Lowering a home’s carbon footprint means cutting back on the amount of cement needed for the job. Fortunately, new innovations can help you achieve this goal. For example, some builders are choosing to place rigid foam structures inside a concrete foundation, requiring far less cement but retaining the same stability. Others are relying on alternatives to cement in the making of concrete, such as steel dust, a byproduct of steel manufacturing.
When you consider energy efficiency for your home, you have two areas to focus on: the production of the energy, and the efficiency of the structure to use it. Windows are some of the most inefficient parts of the home structure, because they hold very little insulation. New technologies promote window efficiency. Double-paned windows help to decrease the heat transfer from one side of the home to the other. Adding a low-E coating helps to block non-solar heat gain. You can even have a special gas placed between the panes to improve insulation even further.
Renewable Energy Sources
In the past, using a renewable energy source has been a balance of paying extra money and hoping for additional benefits. Green building companies seek to make your investment more fruitful over a long period of time. For example, solar panels on your home can save you money on energy and provide a renewable-energy source for the property. The latest developments make installation very simple and even allow you to pack up the panels and take them with you when you move. That way, you can easily maintain your roof while you live there, and you do not have to worry about the return on investment if you do not plan to live in the home for many years.
Building a home that decreases your family’s carbon footprint takes some careful planning and in a lot of cases, a bigger investment. With these green building technologies, you can reduce energy consumption and do your part to preserve the environment.
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