Although you may not think it, but 21% of the green house gas emissions produced in the united states come from everyday household energy usage. By implementing cost efficient energy saving techniques, you can help reduce these emissions while saving money at the same time.
Improving your homes efficiency
Compact fluorescent light bulbs last up to 10 times longer, produce 75 percent less heat, and still produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb with only 25 percent as much energy usage. By simply swapping your old lights out for these new ones, you can see a drastic reduction on your monthly energy bills. If you want to take it to the extreme, you can easily make the switch to solar power. Solar panels are getting cheaper to purchase, easier to install, and will last for around 20 years. In addition to cutting your energy bills, the federal government also offers a tax credit of up to 30 percent of your installation cost.
Reducing Heat Loss
By making your home almost air tight, you can improve your homes energy efficiency by 20%. Add/replace old weather-stripping to your windows and doors as well as plugging any other leaks in your home can stop/reduce heating and air conditioning losses. You may also want to consider adding insulation where it’s missing or has a minimal amount. this will reduce heating/cooling expenses as well as reduce moisture buildup in your ceilings and walls.
Electronics and Appliances
75% of a homes electricity is consumed by electronics and appliances while they are turned off according to the U.S. department of Energy. This can be reduced by unplugging devices when their are not in use. You can also reduce this amount by swapping out your old appliances with new energy-saving models.
For every 10 degrees in temperature you increase your water heater, you use an additional 5 percent of energy. By reducing the temperature you can be saving yourself unnecessary expenses as well as lengthening the lifespan of your water heater. If you wanted to eliminate this problem all together, Tankless water heaters only warm your water when you need it. Instead of constantly heating your water to maintain a set temperature, these devices use up to 60% less energy than your traditional water heater.
Green building is a phrase which refers to the implementation and use of environmentally-friendly practices and materials in the location, design, construction, operation and disposal of buildings and homes.
This noble concept applies to both renovation and retrofitting of existing buildings and construction of new buildings, whether residential or commercial, public or private. The trend for creating greener buildings and structures is now viewed as an important instrument for positive change in the building industry.
Building Green Helps To Improve The Overall Quality Of Life
By continuously improving the process of locating, designing, building, operating and retrofitting buildings and homes, developers and policy makers would do a lot in improving the well-being of the community. The use of advanced energy-saving technologies applied in buildings could in effect result in considerable reductions in demand for fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases.
Implementing more-improved design and building practices can also aid in addressing environmental concerns like natural resource depletion, sewage and waste disposal, as well as air, water, and soil pollution. The concepts behind green building can also help assist the gains in human health and prosperity.
However, despite the huge potentials for transformation, going green in building homes and structures still represents a small percentage of building in North America. Some estimate that green building currently accounts for just around two percent of the new non-residential building segment in the US, and 0.3 percent of the residential market. In Canada, green building trends are generally thought to be similar to those in the US, while in Mexico, there are no reliable figures to show the extent or levels to which green building exists in the marketplace.
Applying Green Building Concepts Help Create Superior Work Environments
It’s a fact that buildings and structures created using green building principles have a lesser negative impact on the environment than conventional buildings. Applying environment-friendly construction methods help in minimizing the use of natural resources by using alternative building materials, and also recycles construction waste rather than sending these to landfills.
Majority of a green building’s interior spaces are also equipped with natural lighting and outdoor views, efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, as well as in using low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials like paint, flooring, and furniture to create a superior and much healthier indoor air quality.
Just a few years ago, the term “green building” would generally evoke visions of tree-hugging, granola-munching individual who walks barefoot and sleeps on straw mats. These days however, the term goes beyond the usual hype, and offers developers and home builders concrete benefits like lower overhead costs, increased employee productivity, less absenteeism, and better employee attraction and retention.
Energy savings, higher productivity and less waste. These are but a few of the many attributes towards implementing green building concepts and practices. These days, because of programs like the U.S. Green Building Council’s landmark LEED rating system for buildings, the ideas and concepts of green building have now entered the mainstream.
Currently, sustainable development analysts have noted that there are around 500 million square feet of green buildings under design, development, and implementation, and there has been a lot of success in LEED applications in different industries and sectors.
The Challenges Toward Widespread Acceptance of Green Building Ideas
Despite the rising acceptance in the concepts of sustainable building, there still remains a large challenge toward widespread acceptance and long-term practice, and despite the growing awareness in sustainable practices, green products, and high-performance technologies in building design and construction, many worry that there continues to be a lack of accurate, thorough, and quantifiable information regarding the financial and economic impacts of high-performance buildings within the construction and home building industry. In addition, there are also hurdles when it comes to the perception of cost, which has become a stumbling block in the quicker acceptance of green building concepts.
According to some sustainable development purveyors, there’s a consistent disconnect between capital costs and operating costs, as for instance, a building owner knows there is a return on investment of 40 percent going into a green building, as the investments are taken from capital; however, the year-to-year, the operating budget isn’t linked, and that poses a real stumbling block. For the past years, many entities have discussed and analyzed what it actually costs to build green and the ultimate value that results from constructing an environmentally responsible, high-performing facility in hopes of convincing the facilities industry to rethink construction budgeting and financing.
The Attributes Of Green Building Designs
Home builders and developers who have embraced the concepts of eco-friendly building, say that the four attributes of green building design, which are increased ventilation control, enhanced temperature control, enhanced lighting control, and increased daylighting, have been clearly and significantly correlated with increased levels in productivity.
Many note that indoor air quality also has been linked to potential productivity and health gains in workplaces and educational facilities, which helps to explain that the greatest advantages of green building come in the form of benefits to the occupants. The other financial benefits of green buildings are more than 10 times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building. Construction industry insiders say that for energy savings alone, these exceed the average increased cost associated with going green, and the benefits and savings mark the true value of sustainable construction.
In these times where cost-efficiency, productivity and concern for the environment need to go hand in hand, home builders and property developers have a choice between a building designed to be healthy and efficient or one that is not. According to experts, with a 50-year life-cycle investment, green buildings are increasing at a rate of around 40 to 50 percent each year, and as global energy costs also soar up, the risks of simply doing conventional design are increasing, as well as the risk of going obsolete has fast become a large phenomenon too.