While you have been considering all sorts of characteristics of a city to move to, have you considered how the city sits on the green list? It is time to consider things like better air quality, renewable energy, certified green buildings, public parks, and superior recycling programs. If this sounds like a better life to you, take a look at a few of the characteristics found in the top five greenest cities.
Portland happens to be one of the greenest cites in America, and the community has a dedicated focus on making its city a great place to live. It is no wonder that the community is strong, as about half its energy comes from renewable sources. Many commuters in Portland bike to work, carpool or utilize public transportation, and the city has dozens of buildings that are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Portland has also set an urban growth boundary that protects 25 million acres of forest and farmland.
San Francisco, California
If you have ever considered moving to sunny California, you certainly would not be alone on that thought. And if you are coming from a place like New York City, San Francisco has everything from the city life to being a leader in protecting our environment. SF is also a leader in green building with many projects that are certified green.
Although not many people would have expect to see Boston on the top greenest cities list, they would probably be even more surprised to hear about its plans to open a power plant that would turn grass and leaves into methane gas.
There should be no surprise that Oakland would make this list, as it is a close neighbor to San Francisco. Oakland, however, is on the cutting edge by offering its commuters zero emission hydrogen powered busses.
The lake community in Burlington prides itself in not only being a green state, but also a leader in green technology. Over a third of its energy comes from renewable resources. You probably won’t find any other city in the United States that is so dedicated to sustainability, as most of its public schools have switched to organically grown foods and sustainability plays a part in the curricula at most public schools.
The hot topic nowadays around the globe is “scarcity of power”. As a country moves towards the peak of development, so is the demand of power. Reports show that there are many homes using electricity more than that used by a small industry! It is because, in the modern, digital lifestyle, each and every appliance like television, computers etc demands huge amount of electricity. However we live in a modern world and hence the usage of these power hungry appliances are inevitable.
The fact is that every positive improvement in the society will have a negative impact on natural resources. But in case of power, there are many alternate sources available in nature. Solar energy is a very good substitute for conventional power generation. The reason being, solar energy is clean, has no pollution effects and doesn’t use any fossil fuels. The most interesting aspect being solar energy can be generated in home.
How about having your own power station on your roof? It is quite simple and beneficial by using solar power. To start with, solar water heaters can be used in homes instead of old conventional methods, thereby reducing your utility bills and also conserving natural resources like fossil fuels. The solar panels called the photovoltaic cells which can be conveniently placed on the roofs of homes converts sunlight directly into electricity. This electricity obtained by the conversion of sunlight meets all the home’s electricity needs. “Hence it acts as your own power station. “Cool power from hot sun”.
A lot of people have tried the usage of solar power at home and found it beneficial and safe. The hot fact is that more than 10,000 homes in United States completely use solar energy to power up their homes. The ill fact is that enough sunlight falls on the Earth’s surface every hour to meet the globe’s energy demand for an entire year, but the same is not utilized and is wasted.
Still not convinced about the positive effects of solar power in home? By replacing conventional electric water heaters with solar water heaters, one can cut water bills up to 50 percent. And the important fact is, the price of photovoltaic cells, according to the department of energy has fallen by 200 percent in last 30 years. Don’t worry if your solar power unit generates more power than need for you. There are many utility power grids ready to buy the clean power for a higher price.
The bottom-line is, by installing a solar power generating unit in home, the home owner will never have to pay an electricity bill; instead he can become the supplier of clean electricity to the country and “save the Earth from energy crisis”
Green is big. No matter your political/scientific beliefs, you cannot deny the power the green movement has. Implementation of Green Technologies have an immediate impact on a universal expense: Utilities. This article s about saving you money, and building the value of your house. Currently, over one-third of all electricity usage goes to heat and cool our houses.
Solar power has been around forever… literally. It is an inexhaustible source of energy, and in all respects, it’s free. In fact, we already utilize solar energy to heat and cool our homes, cook our food, and power our vehicles. The fossil fuels we burn today are nothing more than stored solar energy that plants captured through photosynthesis. Over millions of years, heat and pressure transformed dead plants and animals into deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas.
Right now, solar house systems are available that reduce monthly energy bills 50 to 70 percent. There is also a current trend in building “Zero Energy Houses.” Utilizing this process, builders construct homes utilizing airtight envelopes, Energy Star appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and of course a passive photovoltaic solar system. In Lenoir City, Tennessee, Habitat for Humanity volunteers constructed these modest sized homes (1,000-1,200 sq ft.) homes for around $100,000 each. Each of the homes in the neighborhood dubbed ‘Harmony Heights,’ each energy bill averages less than $25 per month.
When building a new house, consider the following tips from Mother Earth News:
Solar design for Cold Climates:
1. Choose a building site with no obstructions to the south for complete access to the low angle of the winter sun. Another plus is a site with trees that can block prevailing winter winds, which are usually from the north.
2. Choose a design with a long south wall facing within 15 degrees of true south.
3. The house should include ample thermal mass (dense, heat-storing materials such as concrete or earthen floors). Consider building an earth berm on the north side for more thermal mass.
4. Most of the windows should face to the south for access to the winter sun. Place a minimal amount of window area on the east and west sides, and place very few windows in north walls.
5. Use shorter overhangs over south windows for better winter heat gain and ample overhangs over other windows for shading.
6. Cover windows and glass doors at night with insulating shutters or insulated drapes to prevent heat loss.
7. Maximize insulation in walls and ceiling. Use rigid insulation under the floor and around its edges.
8. Consider using a dark roof surface to pick up maximum solar gain in winter.
9. Mechanical ventilation will probably be needed in winter; a heat recovery ventilator, which preheats incoming air, is a good option.
10. Consider a porch or plantings to the west to block afternoon sun in summer.
Solar Design for Warmer Climates
1. Look for a site where the house can be positioned with plenty of outdoor living space to the north. Another plus is a site with trees to the east and west to block morning and afternoon sun.
2. The house should be compact in shape, with less wall area exposed to the sun. Build shaded porches and patios.
3. Focus on creating outdoor living spaces to the north and east for cooking, sleeping and relaxing. Comfortable shaded verandas are inexpensive additions that make a house feel luxurious.
4. Take advantage of the cooling effects of vegetation by planning for plenty of trees, vines and garden space. Established shade trees are an invaluable resource -protect them!
5. Maximize insulation in the walls and in the ceiling.
6. For the roof, use a radiant barrier and reflective metal or light-colored roof tile and create air space between the roof surface and the sheathing.
7. If some winter heating is required, thermal mass, such as a concrete floor, and windows to the south can be used.
8. If using south-facing thermal mass for winter heating, use deciduous trees or a vine-covered arbor to shade it in summer.
9. In arid climates, use thick walls as a buffer against the sun. Minimize windows to increase this effect.
10. In hot, humid climates with no winter, don’t worry about thermal mass. Lift the building off the ground over open crawl space to encourage airflow. Maximize window and door openings on all sides.