Green, eco-friendly homes must be considered the right way to build a home today. With more people having a better green understanding building energy efficient home is something they want to do. Whether building a new green home or making your current home more energy efficient doing so is remarkably easy. It is also affordable to reverse your home from being a power hungry monster to becoming an energy efficient friend to the planet.
BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME
Building energy efficient home or making your home greener there is more than just installing or using green construction methods or using green products. By going green lessons on how to protect the planet are taught to everyone in the family and to others. The lessons learned are extremely valuable and begin to change the way people think and live going beyond just having a green home.
Building energy efficient home or making a home more energy efficient does have a cost. Some things cost less, others don’t cost a cent. Where cost is involved an access bond can be used to get the finance required. Of course, one can go green piece by piece and save up for the work that needs to be done. When building from scratch the cost per metre to build will increase and any bond taken out will be higher. Inform your bank or bond provider that you are building green or making energy saving improvements and you may find they are supportive. Some banks and lenders give incentives to go green, lower interest rates or discount if certain products are used. Asking will always go a long way.
Why Go Green By Building Energy Efficient Home?
Going green is something every home owner or home builder must consider. Building energy efficient home that saves money long term and gives back to or takes less from the environment is the right way to go. There are many reasons to go green and it is well known that there are many ways to make your home more eco-friendly. Some of the ways to go green are well known some should be well known and despite staring you in the face are overlooked.
Some of the reasons why you should build energy efficient home or make your home green are:
Save money – top of the list for many people, saving money is a big reason to go green
Reduced stress – money is saved through lower energy bills. With lower energy bills there is less to worry about at the end of each month and stress levels drop
Feels good – it feels good to go green and build an energy efficient home. Knowing your carbon footprint is smaller leaves a happy feeling inside.
Pay off debt – using the savings from reduced energy bills you can pay off debt. Once debt is paid you can save towards holidays or big ticket items you want for your family.
Others will follow – when you go green and you make savings others will want to know how you did it. When you tell them, and when you use what going green has taught you your neighbors and friends will follow.
Lifestyle improved – by going green in the home you will find ways to go green in other areas of your life. This makes a lifestyle change that makes you happy and makes nature smile back at you.
How Do I Start Building Energy Efficient Home or Make my Home Greener?
There are many ways to go green, some logical, some needing a bit of thought, some costing nothing and others that may need finance.
Here are some ideas on how to make your home greener or build an energy efficient home:
Where you build or choose to buy
There some older properties in South Africa that face South. Designed by English architects and built by English builders they used what they knew from the UK. In South Africa, a north facing home get the most sunshine and thus is warmer. This means the house is naturally warmer in winter but considerably hotter in summer, having some protection from the sun will be needed in summer.
Thankfully South Africa is not prone to earthquakes or hurricanes but natural elements need to be taken into consideration. Building or buying close to a river could result in flooding at certain times of the year. Johannesburg, in particular, has seen some adverse rainfall and rivers have swollen considerably.
Public transport needs to be a consideration when buying or building an energy efficient home. Using public transport indirectly makes your property more energy efficient because you are more efficient. Transport such as cars, motorbikes, and bakkies use fuel, using public transport saves fuel. Public transport such as Gautrain in Gauteng or Myciti bus in Cape Town can reduce travel times to and from work at peak times as well as save you money.
When Building Energy Efficient Home Smaller Is Better
A smaller home is easier and cheaper to heat and cool. Building a small home using energy efficient building products with a plan that it is intentionally green makes a big green impact. Larger houses although affordable have a much larger carbon footprint. Bigger spaces automatically use more energy to heat and cool.
A smaller home is more manageable and easier to maintain, this is a cost saving too. Building energy efficient home is far more practical when building smaller.
When Building Energy Efficient Home Choose The Correct Appliances
In recent years new appliances have come with an energy star rating. All new appliances have to inform you of their energy rating. All manufacturers are working towards making their appliances more efficient. The energy star rating tells you how much energy an appliance uses. If going green and reducing energy use is something you take seriously review the appliances you have. A growing number of stores or manufacturers take older appliances in trade exchanges. A home with 80% or more appliances that are “A” rated will bring considerable energy savings that will be felt financially.
Insulation Is The Most Important Part of Building Energy Efficient Home
In South Africa, because the weather is warmer many homeowners believe insulation is not necessary. Insulation does not just keep a home warm in winter it keeps it cool in summer. This means less energy is used. Less energy is used because fewer appliances are used to heat and cool the house.
When Building an energy efficient home insulation should be part of the plans. It is far easier and more effective to install insulation when building. This does not mean that insulation can only be installed when building from scratch. Any home can benefit from insulation and the savings far outweigh the costs. A well-insulated home can produce up to 40% savings on energy bills.
Simple things like gaps around doors and windows can be easily filled, escaping warm air accounts for higher heating bills. Geyser blankets, loft insulation, and lagging of water pipes make a big difference in making a home energy efficient. Too many households waste money on heating and cooling their homes simply because of a lack of insulation. Insulation is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. When building a new home with insulation in mind more than average energy savings can easily be made. Good insulation also improves the market value of a property. Check the Isotherm specifications or the Aerolite specification depending on your ceiling insulation of choice. Install SANS compliant insulation with R value 3.70
When Insulating Make Sure To Use Professionals
To get the best roof insulation price use the services of professional roof insulation installers. However this is not the most important thing when it comes to home insulation. Using the services of professional ISOTHERM INSULATION INSTALLERS or AEROLITE INSULATION INSTALLERS means your home will be correctly insulated.
Recycle As Much as Possible When Building
South Africans are used to recycling and more homes are making a concerted effort to do so. Recycling starts by reducing your need to purchase products that cannot be recycled or are not environmentally friendly. In fact make sure to install eco-friendly roof insulation products like ISOTHERM INSULATION OR AEROLITE INSULATION. Insulation products like ISOTHERM are regarded as the most eco-friendly insulation products on the market. In fact ISOTHERM itself is recyclable.
Around the home reusing materials or everyday items should be part of your energy efficient home. Plastic carrier bags can be used more than once but ideally consider stronger, longer lasting bags. Many supermarkets encourage shoppers to consider eco-friendly carrier bags and hessian and other bags are often on sale at till points. When you think green and you think of saving the environment think of all options to building energy efficient home.
Reuse to build and renovate
Using recycled building materials is a green way to build. Recycled building materials such as wooden floorboards, doors, roof tiles and bricks bring character to a property. Recycled building materials are often more affordable than new.
Reclaimed timber can be used, it may not always be used for what it was originally intended for but again adds character. Glass and metals can be recycled or reclaimed and put to good use when building an energy efficient home.
Other green building materials include bamboo and cork. Bamboo especially has become immensely popular in recent years. Bamboo is also more affordable than wood, grows fast and is naturally renewable.
Some new building or insulation products are made from recycled products. ISOTHERM, for example, is made from recycled plastic bottles and is one of the best insulation products on the market.
Using The Power of The Sun When Building Energy Efficient Home
South Africa is flooded with sunlight every day. Making good use of this when building an energy efficient home by installing a solar energy solution makes sense. The location of the house is important when installing solar. It may be the ERF to build on is specifically chosen with solar in mind. Solar is one of the best options for building energy efficient home.
Solar energy can be costly to install but it will pay for itself in a relatively short space of time. Eskom provides relief in the form of discounts on solar. These rebates may not sound like a lot but they do make a difference.
Solar energy, even if only used to heat a swimming pool or power a hot water geyser will reduce energy consumption from the grid. In reducing energy consumption the cost of energy bills comes down. Solar panels with a battery system and inverter can keep you of the grid with energy consumption. In fact with the energy efficient home that you are building there will be far less use for excessive energy.
Windows are a Big Part of Building Energy Efficient Home
Windows are part of a house that drains energy. Gaps around windows allow warm air out in winter and warm air in during Summer. When building an energy efficient home windows are often overlooked.
There are a number of options to consider when installing or replacing windows. Double glazing is one choice that while more costly than single glazed windows does bring some tremendous energy saving benefits. Tinted glass is another option to consider, tinted glass reduces the glare of the sun keeping a room cooler. In fact, double glazed window benefits are very good.
Another option to consider with windows is a reflective film. This easy to apply metallic film reflects the harsh, hot rays of the sun. With reflective film, one needs to consider the reversal of benefits in winter. In winter sunshine is needed to keep a room or home warm, reflective film prevents this from happening and thus heaters get turned on again. When considering installing reflective film on your windows think about how much you need the sun to stay warm in winter as well as keeping cool in summer.
South Africa has seen the worst drought in many years and many towns and cities are facing water restrictions. There are two elements in saving water. The first is to obviously use less. The second is save and conserve water.
Using less water is something that anyone building an energy efficient home should have high up on the list of must-haves. Whether you are building a new property or just trying reduce the amount of water used in an existing property there are a number of solutions that help. Low flow toilets are one solution, a modern version of a brick in the cistern. Aerating and controlling the flow of water in showers, baths, and sinks with devices that pump air into flowing water save a lot of water.
Appliances that use water should be reviewed and replaced with washing machines and dishwashers that use less water. Just like the energy star rating new washing machines and dishwashers inform buyers about water consumption.
Saving water is just one side of the equation to consider when building an energy-saving home or looking to conserve water. Despite the limited rainfall South Africa has seen rain harvesting systems can play a big part in saving and conserving water. Combined with a gray water recycling solution limited water is wasted. These solutions are perfect for watering gardens and washing cars when the water is not going to be consumed.
Other options that can be considered are boreholes and well points. These do not use water from reservoirs that are used to store drinking water. It is not uncommon to fill swimming pools with borehole or wellpoint water. One needs to consider that well points and boreholes may come under water restrictions at some point.
Building Energy Efficient Home Make Sure To Use Led Lighting
We take lighting for granted but few homes truly respect this. One of the biggest ways to make any home energy efficient is to switch off lights that are not needed. Changing the type of lightbulb or lighting system used also plays a big part in making a home energy efficient and eco-friendly.
A few years ago the directive from power generators such as ESKOM was to change from standard incandescent globes to energy savers. A large number of households took heed of this energy was saved. Many homes saw a small reduction in energy bills, even when Eskom prices went up.
Today there is a more eco-friendly and lower energy consuming lighting solution. LED lighting systems are 75% more efficient than conventional light bulbs. The LED globes themselves have a lifespan that is 25 times longer than conventional globes. Installing an LED lighting system does come at some cost but the payback is fairly quick and substantial. The reduced energy consumption combined with the reduced need to replace globes means a considerable saving is made long term. When building an energy efficient home LED light is the only lighting that should truly be considered.
Taking control of energy-sapping functions in the home means using a little technology to save energy and save money. Programmable devices for controlling hot water geysers can bring significant energy savings. When a geyser, for example, is switched off and on as needed less energy is wasted. Why is a geyser on when nobody is home or when everyone is sleeping?
If heating or cooling systems are being used set them to temperatures that require less energy to be used. In a well-insulated home, heaters don’t need to be on so high and air conditioning does not need to be so cold. Many homes leave heaters and coolers on all day when they can be programmed to switch on at set times, and even then only when the temperature is outside the range set.
How green does your garden grow?
Most people assume that because the garden is outside than it is automatically green. More people still don’t know how a garden aids in building an energy efficient home.
A garden that has indigenous plants and those such as succulents that require less water is immediately more eco-friendly. The plants chosen in a garden can directly impact water consumption.
Lawns thrive on water and need regular mowing that uses energy. Do you need your lawn? You may be able to pave your garden or reduce lawn size through paving. Paving does not need watering.
The shade your garden provides to your home helps in reducing energy consumption. Tall trees filled with leaves block the sun and keep rooms cooler in summer. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter and allow the sunshine to warm a room. Trees can be a natural energy saver in your home. For those with wood burning stoves or fireplaces, dead wood or wood from pruning can provide valuable firewood.
There are so many ways that you can build an energy efficient home. It doesn’t take a lot to switch from black to green. These final tips can be the first place you start in your quest to go green and even save money in the home and with your family.
A Few Tips To Save Energy
Switch off lights you don’t need
Unplug devices – even when switched off many devices still draw power unless unplugged
Unplug cellphone chargers that are not charging the phone – they still draw power when not connected to a phone
Use recycled containers and bags as much as possible – margarine tubs and yogurt pots are green storage containers
Draw up a family plan to go green
Use public transport more
Find entertainment that is fun, safe and green – outdoor activities such as cycling or walking. Getting away from TVs and other screens will bring your family together and reduce energy costs in your home