Written By: Harshita Jain, Batch - 2013, Mahakal Institute of Technology, Ujjain
Today world is striving to cut down the consumption of non-renewable resources. There is an urgent need for shifting dependency to renewable resources as much as possible. In these conditions, Eco-Friendly Homes are emerging as a savior. These homes use less energy than conventional houses, which saves the homeowners money and protects the environment. It helps reduce climate change in a big way because 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the electricity sector. It can involve one or many construction and operation attribute that makes a building more environmentally friendly.
Reducing Heating and Cooling Needs
One of the key ways that eco-friendly homes work is, reducing the need to heat and cool the residence. It can be achieved in many ways –
Thorough insulating the home helps to keep air from escaping or outside air from getting inside. This means that when people use the heating or air conditioning, they lose less of that air through cracks and holes.
In order to determine where air escapes from, you can conduct a home energy audit, which uses thermal mapping to identify these areas. It’s important to check every part of a house. Attics and openings such as windows, and improve the efficiency of your hot water system and heating system.
Thermostats that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times can help you to run your heating and cooling more efficiently. Smart thermostats, which use machine learning to optimize your heating- and cooling-related energy use, are becoming increasingly common today.
Using Natural Light
The average person devotes 5 percent of its energy spending to lighting. Eco-friendly homes reduce that cost by using more energy-efficient lighting and reducing the need for lighting entirely.
In certain areas, builders can design homes to take advantage of sunlight for lighting and heating. Placing large windows in areas where there’s a lot of sunlight illuminates and heats a home naturally, at least during certain parts of the day.
Another important feature of a green home is the use of energy-efficient appliances. Where artificial lighting must be used, switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to halogen incandescent, CFL or LED bulbs can save significant amounts of energy. LEDs require only 20 to 25 percent of the energy than traditional incandescent bulbs use and last longer 25 times longer. Not only will you save money on energy costs, but you’ll also have to buy light bulbs less often.
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is today being used as a high-tech way to increase the efficiency of home appliances. IoT devices communicate with each other via the Internet, which enables them to coordinate their energy use to make a home run as efficiently as possible.
Manufacturing and Materials Matter
One of the wider issues of energy efficiency is the embodied energy within the construction materials. (Embodied energy is the energy taken up with producing and transporting the materials used).
Wood is a primary building material for eco-housing. This is because trees grow using energy from the Sun, they don’t pollute, they produce oxygen, absorb CO2, they provide wildlife habitat, they can be replanted, they can be sourced locally, the timber can easily be put to some other use after a building is demolished.
Cement is a very useful building material and there are places where we have to be practical and use it. However, one alternative to cement is lime. Lime has been used as a building material for thousands of years and although energy and CO2 are used in its production it gently returns back to limestone in time, taking in CO2 in the process.
There is also the use of reclaimed materials, particularly bricks, slates, and roof tiles, to make use of the embodied energy within these materials. This can also help new buildings to blend in with their surroundings.
Eco-friendly homes have something to offer every homeowner, in part because of how efficiently they use energy. This attribute of green homes has important environmental benefits and saves money on electricity costs as well then why not dwelling green?