Friday, January 30, 2009

Green Home Design Reduces Carbon Footprint

A green home minimizes the negative impact on its environment through its home design. Here are a few considerations your architect takes into account when designing a green home:

1. Site: Evaluations and analysis of access, slope, ledge, soil, bodies of water, and vegetation in order to limit the home’s impact on the site environment. This includes the site location (farmland, wetland, protected species habitats) and proximity to public transportation, parks, schools, and stores.

2. Size: A green home is efficiently designed to keep the square footage to a minimum. This reduces the amount of energy to heat and cool the home, lighting, and the quantity of building materials used.

3. Solar: Whether or not you plan to install a solar energy system to heat your water or produce electricity, there are several other solar considerations in green home design. Designing the home for passive solar makes the most of solar energy by harvesting it into the homes’ natural energy flows. Passive solar systems include day-lighting strategies, heating and cooling control techniques, and natural ventilation. When a whole-building approach is taken, energy savings can be great both in terms of reducing the home’s carbon footprint and the costs associated with heating, cooling, and maintaining the home.

4. Energy: Lighting, heating, and cooling systems are an important consideration in green home design. Renewable energy systems such as solar, wind, and geothermal systems use the earth’s natural energy to heat and cool your home, as well as provide electricity to run appliances and technology. Water usage, including toilets, showerheads, and sink faucet aerators, is another important green home design consideration.

Of course, you want your new home to use minimal amounts of fossil fuels, last a long time, and cost you less money. Many home design strategies don’t cost a dime in materials but can save you hundreds of dollars on heating and cooling costs. The result is a beautiful, healthy home – both for your family and the environment.