Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ecofriendly Design & Construction: Improving Home Design

The way that buildings are designed and constructed has much to do with how much water and energy they use. Thus, utilizing ecofriendly design & construction can minimize a house's effect on the environment and can make it eco-friendly. Designing homes to be sustainable can significantly help the environment. Proper architectural drawings are needed.

The way that a building is shaded can significantly affect its energy usage. If a house is faced north, it can have maximum shading during summer and more sunlight during winter. Also, utilizing shades over windows can help keep heat and glare from coming into a home. This can reduce the energy used for heating and cooling a house, as the home will have a more stable temperature. Drafting can help reduce temperatures during summer.

If you use solar panels for your home's energy source you can significantly reduce your impact on the environment. Solar power does not create harmful emissions and it is entirely sustainable. There are ways to utilize both solar power and other forms of energy so that a home has power throughout the year.

New heat-trapping windows can prevent heat from getting into or out of a building. These windows use a new type of glazing that, like shading, can reduce the heat of a house during summer and increase it during winter. When sealed, the windows can reduce energy costs because the home stays at a more stable temperature so that the air conditioning and heater do not need to be used as much.

Eco-friendly homes always make use out of water-efficient appliances. While somewhat faulty in the past (as they did not provide the same quality of experience that less water-efficient appliances did), they are now very effective. Now water-efficient shower heads have a great amount of pressure and low flush toilets work the first time (they do not need to be flushed more than once).

In a house, insulation serves a purpose similar to heat-trapping windows. It keeps a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer by keeping outdoor weather from seeping into the house. Without insulation a home is prone to the elements, which can significantly drive up energy costs for heating and cooling. Thus, insulation is a great investment for an eco-friendly development.

Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that should be used for every new, eco-friendly garden. It utilizes plants that are appropriate for the region. This means that they work well with their natural surroundings. Also, plants used for xeriscaping are often plants that do not need much water. Traditional lawns are rarely part of xeriscaped gardens, as they are very "thirsty." If a home must have a lawn, native grasses that require less water should be chosen above non-native grasses.

Lastly, rainwater harvesting should be utilized. This process involves capturing water in a tank; the water can then be used for gardening. This water is perfectly safe for gardening because gardens do not need fresh, clean water like humans do. By using this technique, a significant amount of water can be saved. Rainwater tanks are a great investment because once you have one, the water that is collected is convenient to use and does not cost you anything.

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