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Going Green: Energy Conservation for Your Home

Read newspapers, watch the news or surf the internet and you will notice the hot topic is energy conservation and green living. Though growing in popularity, renewable energy is nothing new - Native Americans, people in China and even the early Greeks have historically looked to natural sources to heat and cool their buildings.

Throughout history architects were using what is known as passive solar energy. This technique makes the best use of regular building materials to trap heat with no additional mechanical equipment used. Often floors, windows and roofs were built in such as way that they would attract or deflect the sun's rays depending on the desired result.

Green homes take advantage of renewable natural resources, where possible. These green homes reduces our dependence on conventional energy sources as they generate energy from alternate energy sources such as sun, wind, geothermal energy and biomass for their energy needs.

Whether you are building a new home, looking at doing some renovations or just want to cut your energy bill, passive solar energy and cooling techniques are an easy way to incorporate green ideas into your home. With the rising interest in environmental issues, they make an excellent selling feature and they'll save you money.

The demand for Green Homes has steadily increased nowadays as they attempt to totally eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. Many green homes are built using toxin free building materials like bamboo or straw in order to combat indoor air pollution, which is much worse than outdoor air pollution. Serious health problems like cancer and respiratory ailments like asthmas can be caused by unhealthy air. Non-toxic materials such as paints without volatile organic compounds and toxin-free insulation materials made from soybeans. This means you can breathe clean, fresh, non-toxic air.

Save Energy - Save Money!

An energy efficient home is far cheaper than owning a standard home. Upfront costs may be higher because most of the architects and home builders don't have the knowledge and experience to build green homes as efficiently as standard homes. Did you know that people that own green homes use 30% less water and 30% less energy than those living in a standard home. Over the years this small monthly savings adds up to big savings.

When your house is being built, consider facing it towards the equator (we'll assume we're in the Northern Hemisphere, thus the house should face south) to allow it to receive the day's sunlight. You may also want to take time to ensure your windows are installed in locations that allow for optimal efficiency. Most windows should point within 30 degrees of due south. Maintaining a small percentage of north facing windows will ensure that your home is comfortable year round (and not cooking in the summer). While common windows allow heat to escape, special windows with low-e coating, multiple panes, inert gas fill, and/or insulated frames can reduce heat loss 50 to 75 per cent. By sealing your building envelope and insulating well, you will ensure that the heat stays in the house.

Rock or stone tile floors and brick walls will absorb the solar radiation and continue to give off heat after the sun is gone. This can then be distributed through the house using a regular ceiling fan.

Natural Light

Artificial lighting has only been the main source of illumination since the 20th century. Using overall daylight to light a space you can cut down the need for electrical lighting and the heat that's created by it. Natural light may also have added benefits for your physical and mental health. In addition to windows, daylighting makes use of skylights, light pipes (also known as light tubes), atriums, and light shelves to illuminate the interior. This is best considered when building, but with a few small renovations you can take advantage of the suns light on a daily basis.

Passive Cooling

Passive cooling is another way to cut your bills and become more energy efficient. This is especially useful in warmer climates, where air conditioning can be a major power consumer. Passive cooling refers to using things for shading such as trees and vegetations, to absorb the heat. This goes hand in hand with passive solar energy. There are interior/exterior building options as well, such as shades, blinds or special glazing on windows.

These are just a few options to make your home greener, energy efficient and healthier overall.  

About the author 

Renewable Power Solutions provides information sustainable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal etc. For more information, please visit http://www.renewable-power-solutions.com