Archive for the 'Energy Efficiency & Green Building' Category

Oct 28 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Energy Efficient Cooking in your New Home

House Plan 035H-0034When you built your new home, chances are you spent time researching the most energy efficient kitchen appliances before making your final choice. While selecting the most earth-friendly appliances is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to green living, there is still more you can do in the kitchen. Take a look at these “green” suggestions and see which ones you can incorporate into your kitchen and cooking routine.

 

·         If you have bright, sunny kitchen windows, pull back the curtains and prepare meals by natural light whenever possible. Only flip the switch on when necessary, but make sure to turn it off when you leave the room.

·         Unplug small appliances such as the toaster and coffee maker when not in use.

·         Consider no-waste baking. Buy a reusable, nonstick silicone baking mat to save on use of aluminum foil and parchment paper.

·         Avoid opening the oven while it is in use. Each time the oven door is opened, the temperature can drop as much as 25-50 degrees requiring more energy to warm it back up.

·         Place a lid on the pot when brining water to a boil to prevent heat and energy from escaping. Leaving the lid off extends cooking time and adds heat and moisture to the air making your air conditioner work harder throughout the summer months.

·         Make an effort to match pots and pans to the same size burner or heating element and center it on the flame or element to prevent heat from escaping.

·         Choose the right size pot or pan for the job. It takes more energy to heat a large pot or pan, so choose smaller ones when appropriate to save energy.

·         Whenever possible, use the same pot or pan for multiple foods.

·         Make smart decisions about running the dishwasher. Dishwashers are designed to get the dishes clean no matter how dirty they are or what was baked in them. There is no need to pre-rinse. Save the water instead. Also, only run the dishwasher when it is full, conserving water and energy. Skipping the drying cycle is a plus saving even more energy and keeping the kitchen cool.

·         Take advantage of the freezer. A full freezer uses less energy to cool than an empty one. Stock your freezer buying large quantities of meats and vegetables when they are on sale (saving you cash) and freeze them for future use (saving you a trip to the grocery store later.)

 

There are many other things you can do to make earth-friendly and energy efficient choices in the kitchen. Beginning with these tips will get you started down the right path.

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Oct 08 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Why Build a GREEN Home?

Green Home BuildingWhen it comes to building a new home, there are many benefits to gain by using green building methods. From choosing earth-friendly materials to following environmentally-friendly practices there are several things you and your builder can do to make your new home green. So why build GREEN? Green building and living is the way of the future. With every choice we make we have the option to protect our environment and planet or endanger them. Building a home makes a huge impact on the environment and landscape. Making responsible choices and decisions throughout the construction process helps protect the environment, our resources and our health. It is important that we do our part.

 

Carbon Footprint

Making an effort to use green materials will help lesson your carbon footprint. (A carbon footprint in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by an individual, organization or an event such as building a home.) Choosing local materials to finish your home will have less of an impact on the environment than selecting materials that must be shipped from far locations. Also, when clearing your lot, only clear the space that is necessary to build the home. Leave as many mature trees and as much shrubbery undisturbed as possible. This will leave the established ecosystem in place providing homes to resident animals and insects, allowing trees and greenery to produce oxygen and provide shade reducing your summer cooling bills.

 

Protecting Resources

Plan to use sustainable materials when building your home such as bamboo flooring. Bamboo grows much more quickly than other timber allowing it to replenish itself in a fraction of the time it takes for hardwoods and exotic timber to reproduce. Choosing sustainable materials prevents exploitation of natural resources.

 

Energy Efficiency

Using green or recycled materials can help increase the overall efficiency of your home and eliminate landfill wastes. Consider recycled paper or denim products to insulate your home. Choose countertops made of recycled glass instead of purchasing a granite countertop. Install high quality thermal windows cutting down on heating and cooling bills. Consider a geothermal heating and cooling system. Incorporate solar panels. Take advantage of your lot and position your home to make the best of natural lighting. Choose and install Energy Star rated appliances. All of these things help eliminate waste and reduce energy consumption (and your utility bills.)

 

Water-Use Reduction

Select and install water-conserving appliances and fixtures such as low-flow toilets and shower heads. Purchase a water-conserving washing machine and dishwasher. Not only will these choices help protect our water supply, but they will also reduce your water bill.

 

Heath Benefits 

Choose green products to finish the interior of your home such as formaldehyde-free building materials and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints. These healthy alternatives help prevent respiratory problems that can arise when using traditional building materials.

 

So, before you build your new home, talk with your builder about these green building practices and other things you can do to make earth-friendly choices throughout the construction process.

 

For more information, check out these articles about green building.

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Aug 06 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Green Building: 7 Earth-Friendly Building Tips

House Plan 001H-0012If you are planning to build a new home, it is important to consider including green building techniques.  Green building is a huge step in the right direction for healthy and responsible living so take some time to develop a green building plan with your builder. Incorporating just a few of these tips and ideas will not only result in an energy efficient home, but also you feel good about taking responsibility for the impact your new home will have on the environment. Consider these tips:

 

1.     Keep it small – The best green homes have just enough space and no more cutting down on use of building materials, heating and cooling costs and more. Also consider building up instead of out. This technique requires less foundation and roofing materials and leaves more green space.

2.     Incorporate renewable energy – Position your home to take advantage of natural lighting. If possible, incorporate other renewable energy techniques such as solar panels.

3.     Use the benefits of your building site – Take advantage of the features on your lot that will provide economical benefits. Visit the lot with your builder, note the special features and build around them. Rather than cutting down mature trees to clear the lot, build near them. The extra shade will cut down on cooling costs. Build near evergreens. They work well as a wind block.  

4.     Develop a recycling plan – There is no need to waste materials. Order only the building materials you will need. Return anything that is unused. Recycle any partially used materials, donate them to a worthy cause or keep them for a future building project.

5.     Plan for durability – Durability is one of the most important factors in green building. Selecting strong and durable materials ensures a long life. Choose materials that will stand the test of time requiring little or no remodeling in the future.

6.     Incorporate a recycling and composting center – Face it, families generate a lot of waste. Be sure to include a space for a family recycling center. Also consider yard waste. Include plans to have your own composting area in the backyard for grass clippings, leaves, etc.

7.     Choose green materials – Incorporate energy efficient and green building materials. Energy efficient materials include everything from insulation with a high R value to low flow toilets and Energy Star rated appliances. Also choose wood wisely. Look for wood products provided through sustainable wood companies.

 

There are many ways you can incorporate green building practices in the construction of you new home. Talk with your builder about these suggested techniques and any discuss other earth-friendly options the builder recommends for your area.

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