Are you thinking of “going green” in your home? In both existing homes and new construction, many people are. Usually, the reasons people decide to commit to “green” are twofold: one, people who are concerned about global climate change do not want to contribute to its negative impacts by having a non-green home and, two, people who believe that green home products, services and methods will improve their family’s overall health want to begin installing and utilizing those offerings now.
Low flow toilets have been around for a while now and they are becoming increasing popular. And why not…they save almost 50% in water usage. Likewise for programmable thermostats. They’ve also been around for a while and are becoming more and more ubiquitous. In addition to lower energy bills, the latest thermostats offer the convenience of “offsite” smartphone programming.
Green trends in home building? Let’s go to a couple of experts for advice and information.
Anthony Maschmedt, the founder of Seattle-based Dwell Development, a home development company that builds net zero homes, homes that produce as much energy as they consume, believes that “…sustainable practices are here to stay.” Right off the bat, Maschmedt recommends orienting the home to the south. He also suggests that owners plan ahead by installing a solar conduit and meter that will enable the installation of solar panels either now or later as well as installing a car charger (cost approximately $250.) to accommodate the electric car that will soon be living at that home.
Maschmedt’s company, Dwell, is now “wrapping” or sealing the exteriors of its new homes with an envelope air-tight applied fluid membrane called Enviro-Dri. This weather-resistant barrier system rolls on the home exterior in one day and becomes part of the house itself. Enviro-Dri is permeable and breathable so moisture and air can breathe into and out of the house all the while making the house totally water proof. (Tyvek, a DuPont product, is another exterior home sealing product to consider as an alternative.)
Martin Holladay, the senior editor of the Green Building Advisor, recommends that new construction and renovation projects use locally sourced materials in much the same way that “farm to table” chefs and consumers use locally sourced foods and vegetables. Steel, wood, rock, formerly used hardwood flooring are all easily accessible and available with just a few phone calls and/or emails. Holladay also suggests using eco friendly paint for both house exteriors and interiors. Look for low or zero levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint as these chemicals can, when evaporating and drying out, contribute to air pollution and human health hazards.
Installing and using smart technology in homes is definitely surging upwards. Maschmedt currently prefers Kiro home technology as it, comparatively speaking, allows 20 – 30% more efficiency in ventilating, heating, cooling systems. Kiro technology also adjusts home systems to individual space needs and to individual behavior patterns of as well.
Maschmedt says that “going green” is all about “how tight” you want your home to be. “You don’t want air leaking in and out so build a shell, add high performance triple pane windows with thick walls of cellulose installation and then add a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to bring in cold, forest air and get rid of warm, stale air.” If you’re not building from scratch, renovate over time your existing home with these products and suggested ideas to put you onto the road to green living.