Green Home Building – A friend of mine has recently built an extension to his house and he used a product called ECOBlock (see picture), basically it works by insulating the walls substantially better than most other building methods, the other day I received an email from him telling me that it had been 5 celcius (41 f) outside in the morning and inside his home with no heating it was still 18 c (64.4 f). It made me realise that we need to think outside the square when trying to build greener homes, and we need to remember that we are creating a home structure that if built well will last for 50 or more years.
The main elements to building a green home
– insulation properties, not just the batts you use in the ceiling & walls but windows and any exterior surface of your building. If insulated well then you will use almost no energy to heat or cool your home.
– passive postioning, trying to build so your home living windows face South (Northern hemisphere) or North (Southern hemisphere) depending on where you live. This will ensure that during winter you receive the most possible sun and be shaded well during summer months.
– sealing gaps, use good quality windows and doors that don’t allow warm air to escape in winter. You can also use products on existing windows and doors that seal gaps such as Duck Window and Door Seals. If you carrying out a major renovation or building project, try to build in as many green options as you can within your budget, generally it’s is easier to spend slightly more when building than trying to retrofit double glazing, grey water systems and other green building ideas later on. For example if you are spending $150,000 on building, adding say 10% or $15,000 won’t seem as bad as having to find $15,000 later on down the track. Also the extra money you spent up-front will easily pay for itself in reduced utility bills, electricty costs, heating/cooling, etc.
Some Other Green Building Ideas
Consider where your water comes from, is your nearest dam tens or even hundreds of miles away? Pumping water from far away costs much in infrastructure and also in energy. How about installing a rain water tank to collect water off your roof and using in your home.
When you are building, consider the most efficient way to heat your home – Radiant Floor Heat. A radiant system can use natural gas, electric, solar, or geothermal for an energy source. It can be embedded into concrete or built into an engineered subfloor. Finally, it is 20 to 40% more efficient than traditional heated forced air systems.
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