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Build A Greener & Safer Home

Posted On : 21 Dec 19, 9:59pm
Build A Greener & Safer Home

1. A Whole-Building System Approach for Designing a Green Home

The whole-building system approach treats a house as a single energy system in which each part impacts the effi­cien­cy of the entire home. The whole-building system approach effi­cient­ly uses elec­tric­i­ty, water, and other natural resources and strives to reduce material con­sump­tion and waste. Also, it ensures that all the building pro­fes­sion­als are informed and under­stand every aspect of the design that impacts energy use in the house. The goal of the whole-building system approach is to create a home with a healthy and safe indoor envi­ron­ment, lower utility and main­te­nance costs, and improved dura­bil­i­ty and comfort. Home­own­ers, archi­tects, and con­trac­tors concur that designing a green home needs a whole-building system approach.

2. A Green Home has a High Per­for­mance Building Envelope

A high per­for­mance building envelope minimizes heat, air and moisture infil­tra­tion and is crucial to creating a green home. Essential design com­po­nents of a high per­for­mance building envelope are con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion (CI)4 and appli­ca­tion of an air and moisture barrier. Con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion prevents gaps of insu­la­tion where heat can enter or escape (thermal bridging), and a high per­for­mance air and moisture barrier stops air leakage which degrades energy per­for­mance of a building. Moisture resis­tance is key to pre­vent­ing rot and the growth of mold and mildew, which can tremen­dous­ly degrade the integrity and IEQ of a home. A high per­for­mance building envelope should also include energy efficient windows, skylights, and doors appro­pri­ate to the home’s climate zone. Essential to green home design is a high per­for­mance building envelope that minimizes heat, air and moisture infil­tra­tion within a home.

3. Cool Roofs of a Green Home

cool roof keeps the home and attic spaces cool by shielding against solar heat gain. Materials for a cool roof include high thermal mass materials5 like clay, tiles, or slate that are reflec­tive or have light colored pigments that cast back the sunlight. Cool roofs reduce energy bills and improve indoor comfort. Cool roofs can also extend the roof’s service life.

4. The Heating, Cooling and Ven­ti­la­tion Systems of a Green Home

Because a home’s heating and cooling system account for 48 percent of a home’s energy use, the design of a green home should consider high-effi­cien­cy heating and cooling systems that use less energy. The most efficient HVAC system is 95 percent efficient; meaning 5 percent of the energy produced is lost. Con­trol­ling ven­ti­la­tion of a green home is also critical because the air-tightness of a green home can trap pol­lu­tants (like radon, formalde­hyde, and volatile organic compounds). Methods of ven­ti­la­tion may include an energy recovery ven­ti­la­tion system and spot ven­ti­la­tion, such as exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen, along with natural ven­ti­la­tion.

5. Renewable Energy Sources of an Energy-Efficient Home

The design of a stainable home should strive to generate as much energy as it uses by installing renewable energy measures: for example, micro­hy­dropow­ersolar pho­to­volta­ic (PV) panels, wind system, and small hybrid” electric system. Renewable energy sources can lessen or even eliminate a home’s utility bills and may even have tax incen­tives.