Did you know that around 40% of all the energy used in the States comes not from factories and cars, but from buildings?! So, one of the best ways to reduce climate change and protect the environment is energy-saving. Today, there are homes that waste exactly zero energy, and are completely self-sufficient and energy-independent. Naturally, you don’t have to live in a Net-Zero home. You can make some eco-friendly changes in your existing house or plan your future home with sustainability in mind. Here are some functional, yet simple suggestions.
Use passive solar design
No matter the size of the space, a building that has 60% or more windows on the south side will reduce its heating requirements by almost 25%! This is called passive solar design, and it works for practically no extra cost. However, creating a good design is crucial; otherwise, it can cause overheating in the summer and require you to blast your AC.
Choose the right layout
If you manage to reduce the surface area, you’ll automatically reduce energy loss. For instance, homes that are too spread out will require more heating, cooling and energy than those that have a compact layout. Cube or spherical homes are especially energy-efficient, and so are the taller homes. On the other hand, spread out one-stories are the worst energy-saving solution by far!
Use the right materials
If you’re just building your future home, you can choose eco-friendly building materials that will reduce your home’s impact on the surrounding area. Today, every building element from the roof to the basement can be environmentally-friendly if you choose the right materials. Not many people know this, but concrete is actually quite eco-friendly, especially if it’s made from recycled content and cement substitutes. Also, it’s very durable and low-maintenance, which is perfect for extreme temperature areas like Australia. So, make sure to contact your local formwork specialist to conduct the work. For instance, there are professional formworkers in Sydney who also provide excellent steel fixing and scaffolding for all your building needs. They can even give you valuable advice on building techniques, so make sure to listen to them!
You wouldn’t believe just how much energy is wasted on bad insulation and little cracks and gaps in the building’s envelope. For this reason, you’d better invest in proper insulation, and reduce the heating and cooling losses in your home. You’ll automatically save up some money on your utility bill!
Invest in smart tech
Today, technology can be quite helpful when it comes to energy saving, so don’t hesitate to invest in some smart tech. For instance, smart programmable thermostats will automatically turn your HVAC system on and off, depending on your habits. It will choose the most energy-efficient way to maintain your interior temperature, and even preheat or precool your home before you return! There are also smart bulbs, energy monitors, and smart power strips that can boost your energy-saving!
Get energy-efficient windows
If you want plenty of natural light in your home but would rather avoid all the heat loss and overheating large windows can cause, you might want to consider Energy Star windows. They are much more energy-efficient than your normal windows and look very attractive in any home.
LEDs and CFLs are a much better choice of bulbs than any traditional incandescent bulb. They might cost more upfront, but they are super energy-efficient, have a longer life, and can even help keep your home cooler! For instance, one traditional bulb converts around 80% of the energy it uses into heat. So, that’s like having several tiny space heaters all over your home. This can create a huge problem in the summer, make you blast your AC, and waste a lot of energy.
Install solar panels
If you want to push your energy-saving properties even further, you can actually start producing your own energy from renewable sources and become more energy-independent. Solar panels might seem like a serious investment, but it more than pays off in the long run. They can help you reduce energy consumption from the grid, boost your sustainable energy use, and even earn you some money if you decide to sell excess energy to your local utility company. Solar panels are great for sunny areas like Australia or India, where they can produce a constant amount of energy all year round!
Take care of your landscaping
You must be wondering how plants can reduce your energy consumption, but they sure can. Big, leafy trees protect your home from sunlight in the summer by keeping your space cool, and they let all the sun reach your home in the winter, once they shed their foliage. So, make sure to plant trees and large bushes on the southern and western sides of your home, and let them help you regulate your indoor temperature! Additionally, trees help to bind the soil, give animals shelter, and provide people with oxygen, so it’s a multiple-win situation!
Going green might require a bit of investing and effort, but the fruits of your labor will be bigger than you’ve ever imagined!