We go on and on talking about pollution, energy sources and how we should change our community into an eco-friendly one. We have been talking about these kinds of problems since the beginning of the century but we didn’t change too much – between cooling and heating our homes, watering our nice little gardens or gassing our cars we have significantly increased the energy costs and demands.
So, it is time we had a more practical approach and our homes are the best places to begin! Personally, I am planning on building a new house and I think about making it the greenest house ever built, the ideal model of energy independence – in other words, my house would be nature’s best friend!
What Does an Eco-Friendly House do?
First of all, I would think about what makes a house an eco-friendly one. It would need to satisfy a number of criteria, absolutely necessary, such as:
- the eco house has to be located and designed so that it receives the maximum amount of solar light possible;
- it should be very well insulated and it should have double-pane windows so it can avoid energy loss;
- the ideal green house should be completely sustainable, producing its own electricity and heat;
- the rainwater should be harvested and used;
- the appliances used are energy-efficient and the indoor air quality is improved;
- don’t forget about recycling!
So, next, having these criteria in mind we go on and create / design the ultimate green house project. Here is what I have in mind:
Architectural design: the “passive house”
A passive house is a building in which the need for heating is minimized using very good insulation, solar gain, natural materials and other factors. This concept has been developed by a German Institute, so the criteria are obviously very strict and very effective.
Double pane windows to reduce energy loss
Electricity based on photovoltaic panels and wind generator
The two systems complete each other so energy can be produced during the whole year, independent of the weather. (Or at least we hope that when the sun is not shining, the wind is blowing strongly, and the other way around).
Additional solar water heater
Using a separate solar water heater on your eco house would reduce the dependence on the big photovoltaic array or the wind mill, assuring a boost in energy saving and reducing costs, as a solar collector is less expensive than a photovoltaic panel.
Rainwater harvesting system
It would be very useful, especially if we plan to have a garden around the house. A rain collector system is extremely simple and very handy when it comes to non-potable uses of the water like flushing the toilet, irrigation or washing the car (which, by the way, should be an electric/wind powered/hydrogen powered one).
Energy efficient appliances and lighting
Definitely, your grandmother’s old washing machine will not work. If your appliance is more than 10 years old, consider tossing it (try a recycling company).
- And because we want to be completely eco-responsible, we should also install an ENERGY MONITOR so we know how much energy we use, every minute of the day.
As a summary, take a look at this diagram of the main features of a green home; that’s almost everything that an eco house design should include, so if you are planning in building a new green house, don’t forget to check this project:
- Or you can also go completely green and for sure energy efficient with this unique eco house project: