How can you make your new house greener?
Today I have Jacob Goodwin from Oryn Construction with us to discuss how to make your new construction homes more energy efficient.
There are two facets to building a greener home. The first facet is by using eco-friendly materials for construction. That means sourcing non-toxic, sustainable, recycled/recyclable, natural, and biodegradable materials. These products will add to the construction costs of your home, but they are better for the environment.
The second facet of building a greener home is to think about how the home will manage its resources once it is finished. That means planning the electrical, heating, cooling, and plumbing systems to run as efficiently as possible.
LED lighting is no longer priced so high that only the wealth can afford it. You can go to your local hardware store and buy LED lights off the shelf. These amazing bulbs are the size of your pinky nail and can last from 10 – 20 years. They give out high-quality light using 60-70% less electricity and heat than traditional light bulbs.
Make sure you don’t leave unnecessary lights on by using switches with timers. You can program your lights to turn on at night and turn off in the morning and avoid wasting electricity.
Heating and cooling
Heating and cooling are one of the largest energy uses in the household. The aim is to use less energy to heat or cool the house and retain the conditioned air longer.
- Insulation – Use insulation with a high R-value. This is the thermal resistance of the insulation. The higher the R-value, the better it will be at preventing heat flow.
- Seal Your Switch Plates – Check outlets and light switches around the house and install a foam filter on wall side of plate to prevent drafts.
- Window technology – When choosing a window, look for a good-quality window that is argon-filled. Also look for the low-E (low-emissive) that keeps warm rays from shining through and heating up the house.
- Check your duct work – Hold your hand near the transitions and couplings and see if you feel air coming out. Seal it with duct tape. Check vents and diffusers to make sure the attachments are sealed and not losing air into the wall.
What About Geothermal?
Many people are curious about geothermal systems. These are great system that use the ground for heating and cooling the house. The earth’s temperature is used as a baseline and the heating and cooling system makes up the gap. The systems don’t have to work so hard and so long to compensate. The drawback is it’s expensive. Furthermore, it’s hard to repair and maintain. The heating and cooling industry has created 96% efficient air conditioners that are cheaper and easier to maintain than geothermal, so in most cases it’s just as efficient and more practical to go with a traditional system.
So much has taken place in the plumbing industry in the past few decades. Water pressure has improved and so has maintenance and service. Now the focus is on trying to reduce wastage. Manufactures have created low-flow devices, faucets and fixtures. Most homes now have water-restrictive plumbing built in.
Think about how long it takes for you to get hot water in the bathroom furthest from your water heater. Is it 1 minute? Or 2, even 3 minutes? In that time, gallons and gallons of fresh water goes down the drain before you can take a shower. A greener solution would be to consider installing instant water heaters. With a few hundred dollars, these can be installed under the sink so that your hot water is on demand without wasting energy or water.
Water heaters, air conditioning, furnaces, dishwashers, washer and dryer, and other major appliances use multiple resources. All appliances in the industry must adhere to a minimum standard of usage. However, homeowner can be aware when selecting appliances for their home. Read the labels and find the best option to save electricity, gas, and water. Ask about the rebates and incentives that come with green appliances.
You don’t have to hire someone to start making greener decisions for your new home. Buying lighting, sealing drafts, and installing water-restrictive shower heads can all be done with one trip to the hardware store. The important job of making wise choices when it comes to appliances is in your hands. Not only is a green home good for the planet, you will save a ton of money on your monthly expenses.
The Bob Wahl Show is now on your favorite podcasting app:
Thanks for watching and listening. If you have any feedback or show ideas, contact me.