Category Archives: Energy Efficiency

Energy Saving Home Improvements

Energy Saving Home Improvements

Green efforts save you money, and they protect the planet for future generations. Energy Saving home improvements make your house a bit more green without requiring tearing it down and building a zero energy home. Instead, you can be green with just a few small changes.

Garden on the Roof

Get out your ladder and put your green thumb up high. A roof garden offers many environmental benefits, according to the Washington Post, and these include extra insulation for your home, storm water control, and pollution retention. Green roofs are more expensive than conventional roofs, but in some areas like Washington DC, you can offset that cost through programs that allow you to get credits on your water bill after installing a green roof.

Photo by kretyen via Flickr

Here Comes the Sun

When the sun’s harsh rays drive up the temperature in your house, you are forced to run the air conditioner at full whack to combat the heat. Give your AC unit and the planet a break by keeping out the sun with the best roller shades. Keep these down during the day to keep temps down naturally, and then roll them up and open the windows at night to enjoy the relatively cooler air. Improving the efficiency of your heating and cooling through smart technologies and insulation is one of the most major areas of energy saving home improvements you can take on.

Photo by tom.arthur via Flickr

Insulate the Attic

According to architect George Clarke in the Telegraph, insulating your attic can save the average homeowner $400 to $500 per year. Be sure to seal air leaks and ensure the roof is in good condition before getting started. Both loose-fill and batt insulation work for the job.

Photo by Song_sing via Flickr

How to Save on Electricity using a Radiant Barrier

If you live in a hot climate, Energy.gov recommends installing a radiant barrier rather than insulation in the attic. A radiant barrier reflects heat, preventing heat from the roof from reaching the rest of the attic. This reduces summer heat and thus cooling, costs.

Photoo by imn4t001 via Flickr

Recycled Furniture

Rather than taking a stroll through a cheap furniture store so that you can decorate your home with pieces that will quickly break and end up in the landfill, use recycled furniture. Recover sturdy old sofas to match your new sense of style, hit the thrift store, or get furniture from a shop like Loll Designs that exclusively offers furniture made out of recycled materials. 

Photo by Gutsbikes via Flickr

Oil and Water

When painting, you have a choice between oil-based or water-based paints. Water-based paints, also called latex paints, are more environmentally friendly than their oily counterparts, reports the Health Care Environmental Resource Center. Their volatile organic compound (VOC) is lower than oil-based paints, reducing their potential VOC emissions. This makes your home safer and your air greener.

Photo by Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons

Control the Nest

With a programmable thermostat like the ones offered by Nest, you can keep the temperature of your nest under control, regardless of where you are. Use today’s best technology to create convenient energy saving home improvements. Set your heat to come on in the morning and go back off when you leave your home for the day. By not wasting heat on an empty home, you save money, and you conserve precious resources for the planet.

Photo by Amanitamano via Wikimedia Commons

If you link your thermostat to an app, you can even control the temp while you’re not home. If you’re coming home late, you can let the furnace know so that it doesn’t kick on until later. If you’re coming home early, have the heater prep the house for you, that way you won’t be tempted to run it on full blast to warm things up.

Benefits of Concrete Floors

Benefits of Concrete Floors

Concrete’s versatility makes it a popular material for myriad construction projects. It is used for home foundations, streets, hospital floors and many other surfaces. In order for people to make better green choices and help save the environment they must understand the benefits on concrete floors.

Concrete

List of Benefits of Concrete Floors

  • The other alternative to concrete flooring is installing a wood floor. By using concrete there is no need to cut down any trees.
  • Installing a concrete floor helps to minimize the waste created by installing other type of floors.
  • The cost to install a concrete floor is higher than other types of floors but you will find that a concrete floor installed by reputable concrete contractors will not need to be replaced as often as other floor types.
  • From a medical stand point concrete floors offer a better and cleaner surface for medical practices. An article by The Center For Sustainable Development points out that concrete floors in hospitals can lead to a 78 percent reduction in parasitic infection in children, as well as many other health benefits.

Concrete Floors can Produce Better Homes.

Besides certain benefits that concrete floors can bring to people there are some other ways that the material can help produce better homes.

  • Concrete can be fashioned in may different ways. Color can be added for decoration and design can be added for personal taste.
  • Concrete materials do not emit harmful VOC’s into the air. Some materials that can put VOC’s in the air include carpet, finished wood floors and tiles.
  • Radiant heat can easily be installed before the concrete is poured.
  • A concrete floor also can be cleaned more easily that a floor made of wood and other material.
  • A concrete patio can help increase the value of a person’s home.

Concrete can be Recycled

Another way concrete can help save the environment is that it can be recycled.

  • Broken concrete can be used to build a walkway or a path. Depending on the type of path you are trying to build the concrete will need to be broken up into very small pieces.
  • Some gardeners have found that putting concrete under the soil makes for seeds that germinate better in the spring. It can also be used to build raised beds.
  • The broken material has also been used to limit erosion and to help build angled retaining walls.

Heating Benefits of Concrete Floors

Concrete floors can be efficiently heated with radiant floor heating system. These energy efficient devices heat a liquid solution which is pumped through the floor. This heats the entire slab of flooring and begins to radiate up, heating the air in the room and the house. It also keeps your feet warm which makes all the difference.

This radiating effect continues even hours after the unit has cycled off. All combined a radiant floor heating system is one of the most effective and energy efficient heaters possible for concrete and other stone flooring, new additions and basements, greenhouses, and more.

Creative Commons image by Josh and Melanie Rosenthal

The Zero Home

The Zero Home is the first single-family smart home to be certified as net-zero energy-efficient, meaning that all the energy the home consumes is produced on site via renewable resources. To dive into the systems and building practices that made this feat possible, read here: http://www.techhive.com/article/2045771/a-floor-to-ceiling-tour-of-americas-most-energy-efficient-home.html

“The 4300-square-foot Zero Home is the result of a partnership between Vivint (a fast-growing company best known for home-security and home-control systems) and Garbett Homes (a residential development company that builds between 400 and 600 homes per year). Both companies are based in Utah, and the Zero Home was built in the Salt Lake City suburb of Herriman.”

“The Zero Home defies the home-of-the-future stereotype of being too impractical for large-scale implementation: “This home is designed to be replicated on a mass basis,” said Garbett Homes marketing director Rene Oehlerking. “It costs about $150 per square foot to build a home like this—the same amount it costs our competitors to build conventional homes.”

Algae Powered Apartments

These apartments in Germany are 100% self powered by algae fueled bio reactors. Algae panels on the building also provide shade and temperature regulation, as the sunnier it is the thicker the algae grows in the panels.

Algae Powered Apartment

Read more: http://homes.yahoo.com/news/net-zero-apartments-powered-live-algae-151500406.html

Algae-Powered-Apartments-2

 

Learn how to make algae biofuel: http://organicmechanic.com/algae-biofuel/ or to make an algae based business to take advantage of these and other algae business trends! http://organicmechanic.com/algae-business/

Apple Facilities Running on Renewable Energy

Apple’s Data Centers Now Running on 100% Renewable Energy, Corporate Facilities at 75%

Source: http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/21/apples-data-centers-now-running-on-100-renewable-energy-corporate-facilities-at-75/