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Green Home Plans - What They Need To Include

Sep 6, 2008
Nurturing our environment, achieving a sustainable future and reducing global warming have been growing topics of concern for all of us. The need to protect the environment is in all of our hands and this responsibility needs to be exercised in almost everything we do and in the choices we make every hour of our lives. Actions we take now can lead to benefits later. When we all choose well and change our behavior to nurture, conserve and sustain, the effect can be enormous. The home in which we live is one such area where we have the ability to make a range of nurturing choices. In this article we will look at some of the more desirable elements that need to be included in green home plans.

Durability is a key tenet of a good green home plan. A green home plan will strive to use eco-friendly building materials and furnishings and will incorporate leftovers wherever possible. A green home design will make use of materials that are renewable and long lasting. The less often you have to replace materials, then the less material and effort that needs to go into maintaining them, resulting in a diminished cost of upkeep and less frequent replacement. Cork, bamboo and eucalyptus are examples of earth friendly and renewable materials that feature prominently in environmental building designs. Recycled materials should also be used wherever possible. This is relatively easily achieved when it comes to flooring as you can sand and refinish or even paint and stencil what is already there. Recycled glass (vertrazzo) looks attractive and comes in a range of colors. It can be used for both kitchen countertops and as a backsplash.

Efficient energy use is another key component of a green home plan. Using energy efficient appliances is a must and most manufactures these days will label their products with an energy star rating. But the biggest difference we can make is by leveraging that great bundle of natural energy called the sun. A solar power system can deliver most of an average household's daytime energy needs and any excess energy that is created can be fed back into the electricity grid. Rebates for the installation of solar panels and also their improved efficiency are seeing the cost of installing residential solar power systems come rapidly down. The energy savings we can achieve by installing a solar panel array will be complemented by installing energy saving windows and ensuring that our homes are properly insulated. Both measures are designed to trap heat inside the house during cold weather and reflect heat when it is hot, leading to a reduction in heating and cooling costs respectively.

The third pillar of a good greenhouse plan should be the efficient use of water: something that is particularly pertinent for those living in drier climates. An enormous amount of perfectly good drinking water is wasted each day on activities like clothes washing and flushing toilets. These activities could just as soon be done using grey water (recycled water). Home water treatment systems such as a wet compost system or a sand filtration system will achieve the aim of using water efficiently.
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