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Green Homes - Turning A Standard Home Into An Eco Home

There are many things that can be done to convert standard construction homes into eco homes. No matter the age of your home, you can convert it into an eco-friendly home without having to tear it down and build again from scratch ...

Converting Your Home Into An Eco Friendly Home

There are plenty of things that can be done to convert regular construction homes into eco homes. So don’t worry, no matter the age of your home, you can convert it into an eco-friendly home without having to tear it down and begin again from scratch.

One of the advantages of converting standard housing into eco homes is the improvement of air quality. In recent decades we have been building more and more energy efficient homes. While this is a good thing, the increased standards of insulation and the ability to have airtight homes has raised the levels of humidity associated with indoor air. Consequently, moist air draws in harmful chemical vapors from insulation, carpeting, furniture, paint, padding, solvents, and a range of construction materials.

To turn these afflicted homes into eco homes, you need to start by testing the indoor air quality of the home. This can be done very inexpensively with a range of different testing kits. The air test will help you to pinpoint the containments in the home. Once identified, you can look for their source and begin replacing them with healthier, greener, alternative building materials. You can find out about preferred green building materials at sites like BuildingGreen.com, where they offer specs on over 2,000 alternative building products for eco homes.

The conversion of common homes into eco homes can also be accomplished by making changes to the outside. For example, it is a common practice to use pressure treated lumber when building exterior structures like fencing and decking. Did you know that pressure treated lumber contains a form of cyanide introduced into the wood in order to keep away bugs and pests? This cyanide substance can cause severe skin irritation, rashes, and infection. A green alternative to pressure treated lumber is cedar, which is naturally bug and pest resistant.

There are lots of simple ways to convert regular homes to greener homes. You can begin with something as simple as changing the light bulbs from incandescent to the compact fluorescents we have seen and heard so much about.

You can also conserve water in eco-friendly homes by converting toilets and showerheads. By swapping your standard toilets and showerheads to water-saving devices like pressurized low-flow showerhead units, you can conserve hundreds of gallons of water per year.

Also, consider retaining rainwater to use for things like irrigating the garden and watering the lawn. Stop using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn and in your garden. There are plenty of greener alternatives for gardening that perform just as well or better than commercial chemicals.

If you are handy around the house, there are lots of projects you can undertake to convert standard construction homes to eco homes. This can range from building backyard compost heaps to using alternative materials for repairs. Consider installing solar panels for energy conversion or solar heaters for hot water. Converting standard construction homes to eco homes can be a challenging and extremely rewarding project for any handyperson.

If you are less handy, look toward hiring contractors with a background in green construction, green repair, and green maintenance. More and more home improvement contractors and repairmen are becoming versed at working with eco homes, as we turn the tide to more earth-friendly construction and repair.

Home Owner's Handbook To Energy Efficiency

The Homeowner's Handbook To Energy Efficiency - This guide helps you set realistic personal goals for reducing your home's energy consumption. It also takes you through the process of assessing current energy usage and predicting the benefits and estimating the costs of remodeling options. The methods for making homes more energy efficient described in this handbook will also improve comfort, safety, durability, and resale value. With projects ranging from simple fixes to large-scale renovations, this book offers solutions for the energy-conscious homeowner, regardless of budget, technical ability, or time.

Click here for more details ...

Green Home Design - A Basic Guide

Thinking of renovating or building an environmentally friendly green home?  A green design to your home can have significant benefits to your health, your wallet and the environment.

Understanding a few basic principles of green design is not difficult and will assist in achieving a low cost, healthy and comfortable home. 

Your immediate location and climate is your starting point. Whether you live in a tropical, arid, temperate, cold, or polar climate, there are different applications and solutions for all. Passive design of your home can be as detailed or basic as you desire, although a more thorough understanding will of course yield better results. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the basics.

Orientation, cross ventilation, thermal mass and insulation are some common terms worth understanding for your green (or passive) design. In summary, orientation is for heating, cross ventilation for cooling, thermal mass for storing and insulation for control.

Orientation to the sun can have a dramatic effect on the thermal comfort of your home. With the correct placement of glass, windows and eaves, the sun’s warmth and energy can penetrate your home, eliminating, or at least reducing, the amount of artificial heating required. The heat can also be stored in your home for use later at night with the addition of thermal mass. Natural light from the sun is also a benefit.

Living in the northern hemisphere, it is generally a good idea to place your living areas on the southern side. Living areas are where you spend the majority of time whilst awake therefore the desire to gain maximum comfort.  I personally like the idea of placing kitchens and bathrooms on the west side of your home, as the sun’s warmth and natural light first thing in the morning when we enter these areas are of great benefit and pleasure.  Place the areas of least importance such as the laundry and storage areas on the northern side of the house. It is the opposite poles for people living in the southern hemisphere. Use the sun to its full potential where possible for warmth and light, after all, it’s free!

Cross ventilation is the ability of natural air to pass through your home, cooling it as it does so. When designing your green home, think about windows and/or louvers at opposite ends of the home to allow for cross ventilation. For additional benefits, why not place a water feature in the prevailing breeze path to cool the air even more. It is also healthier for indoor air quality to have fresh air passing through the home.

Thermal mass are hard dense surfaces such as concrete slabs, brick or rammed earth walls etc that have the great ability to store heat and/or cold and release it slowly. Used in conjunction with orientation, the temperature variance in homes designed with thermal mass is far lower than those not. 

A basic guide to thermal mass is; to keep your home warm, allow sun to penetrate your thermal mass storage and, to keep your house cool, shade the sun from your thermal mass storage. When sunny days turn to cool nights, your thermal mass acts like a huge heater, slowly releasing the warmth gained throughout the day. The opposite occurs in summer when your thermal mass has been shaded and acts like a natural air conditioner. The use of deciduous trees planted correctly can assist in shading and ‘sunning’ your thermal mass storage.

Insulation in a home adds control of the indoor temperature. There are various kinds of insulation and applications. Insulating ceiling and walls is often the single most effective way of reducing heating and cooling loads. Window glazing and draught proofing also come under the insulation radar.

Other effective ways for achieving a green home design is using recycled materials. Also, the use of energy efficient appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, televisions and small electrical items add to the success of a green home. Quite often, federal and state governments offer tax savings and incentives to go green in the home.

Not only are you doing the right thing by the environment and providing a healthier home for your family, green design can be cost effective and reduce your ongoing utility bills. In addition, green home design has increasingly immense possibilities of resale success with more buyers opting for health and well being assured by a green home. 

Recommended:

Home Energy Savings Manual - Learn how to save up to 50% each month on your home utility bills without installing solar panels or a wind generator! This manual identifies 4 specific categories of home energy usage and the necessary steps to reduce costs in every single one of them! More details ...

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