How Green Is Your Home? – As concerns about climate change and the wider environment continue to become more pressing, the need to ensure your household is as green as possible has never been greater. Each of us has an impact on the environment, known as our carbon footprint.
How Green Is Your Home?
For some, their carbon footprint is an irrelevance. However, those who are conscious of their personal impact on the environment should look firstly to their homes, as the most environmentally intense area of their lives. Everybody knows that driving is environmentally damaging, and many are even switching their cars to account for this.
But few realize that it is our homes that are biggest polluters. Taking simple steps in your own home can help minimize the effect of you and your family on the environment.
The first step to a greener home is to recycle household waste where possible. Levels of recycling internationally have grown dramatically in the last decade, with improved facilities and roadside collections now a reality across the developed world. This takes time in sorting household waste, but it can be an excellent starting point for reducing the environmental burden of your home.
Beyond recycling, insulation is the next easiest change you can make. Insulating the attic and the walls of your home can have a serious impact on your energy efficiency. Even opting for more energy-efficient windows and doors can have a dramatic impact on the amount of energy it takes to heat and cool the home.
Insulation can usually be retrofitted without too much upheaval, and while there are professionals that can assist in the process it is often a task embraced by DIY enthusiasts.
Insulating your home can save massively on the amount of energy required to power it. But there are other ways of improving the environmental credentials of your home. Some are now resorting to methods of generating their own energy, using roof and wall space externally to install wind and solar panel solutions.
Seattle Metal Roofing can support photovoltaic cells or small wind turbines in order to provide some degree of energy that can be used in the home. The roof in particular sees the most exposure to sunlight through the day. In sunnier regions, it can be possible to power the entire house from solar panels – even to the stage of generating extra energy, which you can sell on for a profit.
Moving from an energy consumer to a net energy generator can make your home much more environmentally friendly. Not only are you no longer dependent on unclean energy generated en masse, but you are now powered by a clean, sustainable source of power that will keep saving you money.
Reducing the number of trips we take in the car or switching the lights off at home can have an effect on our individual and family carbon contributions. But by far the biggest difference comes from improved insulation and attempts to self-generate. These will not only save money on a continuing basis, but will also make your home less environmentally damaging.
Running An Environmentally Friendly Kitchen
They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so if you care about the environment, you’ll want yours to be as green as possible and have a Planet-Friendly Kitchen.
Naturally, you will have put in the most energy-efficient appliances – ones that have a great Energy Star rating – but did you know that there are so many other ways that you can make your kitchen something that you can be proud of from an environmental perspective?
Let’s start with lighting. While there is nothing worse than a kitchen lit with traditional overhead fluorescent strips, the new compact fluorescent lights give you a much more natural light.
If you replace any incandescent bulbs in your kitchen with these, you can expect to save up to 70% of the energy you used before. For example, a 30 W compact fluorescent puts out as much light as a 100 W incandescent bulb. If you have halogen spots recessed into the ceiling, you may also want to consider replacing these with more efficient LED lights.
As an added benefit, if you do replace your incandescent and halogen bulbs, you’ll also end up using less electricity for air-conditioning, since all that wasted energy is given off as heat.
The next thing to look at is your range hood. This is supposed to ventilate your kitchen, and carry heat away to the outside. However, if it is clogged, then it’s not going to do its job, and you will end up with a kitchen that is too hot. Again, this is going to result in excessive air-conditioning.
Make sure that you clean your range hood regularly, and check that it is in working order at least a couple of times a year. Also check that it actually vents to the outside, and is not venting to the attic or recirculating air. If it is, then you will have to get an expert in to fix the problem.
If you do decide to renovate your kitchen at some point, then this is a perfect time to make sure that it is environmentally friendly. For instance, think about getting flooring or cabinets that are made from recycled materials. You can also opt for recycled glass countertops. As an example, you can get beautiful wooden cabinets that are made from reclaimed lumber – in fact, old timber is often a better quality than new stock.
This way, you will prevent all that lovely old wood from going up in flames and contributing to global warming. Another thing to consider is getting a recycled granite countertop – these are often reclaimed when major renovations are done on houses. Being stone, they are going to be in relatively good condition, and you can have them recut and re-polished so that they are like new.
Once you get your granite countertop, it will last forever and look great provided that you treat it regularly with a good granite cleaner.
Now, let’s come back to those appliances for a second – and specifically the stove. While you can get energy-efficient gas or electric rings, did you know that if you put in an induction range top, then you can save up to 70% on electricity?
They may be more expensive than a traditional cooktop, but you will end up saving in the long run. Not only that, they are safer – the cooking surface remains cool and only the pan gets hot. You can also save money by putting in a convection oven – food typically cooks 25% more quickly in one of these than in a traditional oven, so you don’t have to have it on for as long. This is because of the circulating air – a convection oven doesn’t consume power at a higher rate.
Of course, there are many little things that you can do to save energy and have a Green Kitchen. For example, only fill the kettle up with as much water as you need – boiling a full kettle when you don’t need it is a complete waste.
Similarly, don’t use a bigger pan then you need, otherwise you’ll expend energy heating the pan rather than heating the food that it contains. An even more radical idea is to use your microwave if it doesn’t affect the food quality – for example, butter melted in a microwave is remarkably similar to butter melted in a pan.
Finally, think about the food in your kitchen. Make sure that it comes from sustainable sources – this is particularly important when it comes to fish. Also, don’t throw out all of those scraps if you can find a use for them.
For example, bones and vegetable scraps are perfect for making stock. Even if food can’t be reused, it could go on the compost heap.
Green Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen: Invest In A Good Freezer
Creating a green kitchen doesn’t mean painting the walls green. It means making your kitchen eco-friendly. It’s amazing how much better you will feel about cooking in your kitchen when you know that you are saving time, energy and money.
Protecting the planet and your own finances will allow you to infuse your kitchen and each dish you cook with more love and flavor.
If you love to cook then you know that your kitchen can sometimes take on a life of its own. Some kitchens are warm and inviting. Others are cluttered and can seem to suck the life right out of a person. If you want your kitchen to be more inviting than it is, the answer might be to create a green kitchen.
A green kitchen does not automatically mean that you have to purchase brand new, energy efficient appliances. If you already have appliances, you could potentially swap out older, inefficient parts with newer ones. Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Electrolux, and GE appliance parts are all available conveniently at most hardware and plumbing stores. Furthermore, with a little ingenuity and the right tools, installing these parts should not prove to be hard at all.
One of the best things you can do to save both money and energy in the kitchen is to invest in a good freezer. The best type to get is a chest freezer because most of the cold air will stay in it when you open it up. A freezer that opens in the front will let all of the cold air out.
Once you have your great energy-efficient freezer, you can start buying meats, frozen vegetables and other freezer items in bulk or any time they are on sale. Bulk packaging tends to be less wasteful and save you more money. A good freezer will also help you to cook in bulk. You can save a lot of time and a lot of money on your energy bills by cooking a lot of food at one time.
Freeze the food in freezer bags or freezer safe containers and then take it out and defrost it when you want to eat it. You can even package foods in single-serve sizes for quick defrosting when you’re in a rush.
Use Small And Efficient Appliances
In general, the smaller the appliance, the less energy output. So, for example, a microwave or a toaster oven uses a lot less energy than using a large oven. It also puts out a lot less heat, which is helpful in the warm months. Some other advantages of small appliances include:
• They Are Easy To Clean
• They Heat Up Quickly And Efficiently
• They Are Capable Of Cooking Large Amounts
Don’t Waste Water
A lot of water is usually wasted in an average kitchen. If you’ve been drinking bottled water, try getting yourself a faucet filter or a filtered water pitcher. Also, get your plumber to install a low-flow faucet, or do it yourself, if you happen to be handy with that sort of thing. An energy-efficient and water-efficient dishwasher will complete your water-efficient kitchen and definitely lower your utility bills.
Save With Stew
Finally, you can increase the efficiency of your kitchen and reduce your energy spending by making mixed dishes, such as stews. Soups, casseroles, stir fry recipes and similar dishes can be cooked in one container. Many of them can even be cooked in crock pots or slow cookers. That will cut down on heat and energy spent during cooking. It will also cut down on dishes that need to be washed later on.
Don’t Waste it ~ Flip-It!
Another very important way to save green and having a green kitchen, is not to waste! Use everything we have already paid for. Americans throw out an average of 40% of the food we buy every MONTH! By using a system like Flip-It!, I have found we are using most (if not all) of the bottled food and condiments.
Am I capturing the estimated 40% on average that is wasted? No, but I do see a savings and I know every little bit counts when you are buying products by the once. Now if I can only get my wife to use Flip-It! on her ‘Beauty Products’…that will be a savings!
Specializes in writing about green living. Specifically on the topic of energy efficient kitchen appliances, and also conducts a thorough analysis on the latest kitchen gadgets including toaster oven reviews, green cleaning products and other cooking devices.
Buying an Older Home and Greening It
My wife and I recently ended a 5-month long home search. Our parameters were a bit tight. Between budget and location, we automatically discounted a number of homes. We have one car and wanted to keep it that way for sustainability reasons (financial and environmental).
We looked for a place close to the bus line that would take me to work in under an hour. We also preferred hardwood floors, natural light, and walkability. While we compromised in a few places, we got most of what we felt we needed.
Unfortunately, the house needed a bit of work. Since we like to cook, we wanted a bit more kitchen space. That necessitated additional cabinetry, counter space, and functioning appliances. While the home, built-in 1960, is not old compared to many of the ones we considered, the layout was not as functional as we needed it to be. Carpeting in the basement was old and seemed musty.
In an attempt to balance budget with environmentally conscious choices, we replaced the existing carpet with Shaw’s cradle to cradle certified (Silver certification) option. For the countertops, we vacillated between quartz, a more Eco-friendly route, and granite. Both were costly, which necessitated a home improvement loan for our renovation.
We are still in the process of figuring out this step and are leaning toward the quartz because of its green credentials. Furthermore, if we decide to install solar on our south-facing roof, an iffy proposition in Minnesota, a loan will be key to making that transaction a reality.
We often found that the third leg of the sustainability puzzle, the social component, was more difficult to fulfill. We had a family member make the cabinets out of birch, employing a small business owner instead of a prefab big box supplier.
Birch is a nice option for its durability and local availability, but having the cabinets custom-built was an added expense. We also looked into Wood from the Hood to build several of our furniture pieces. Since this is a long-term project, we are waiting on this step.
One change over the previous home we owned, is the use of low/no VOC (volatile organic compounds), think new car smells, or paints. With two little children, keeping contaminants to a minimum is essential. It is for this reason that we will replace the carpet. This is a difficult decision, since much of the carpet thrown away goes to the landfill. We have not torn out the old carpet yet, so making it available via Craigslist is an option, though it is not in the best shape.
In the course of the renovation, there have been numerous factors to consider. For instance, in the preparation of the kitchen, we did not demolish the existing cabinets, but removed what we could and put them in the downstairs storage space, saving materials and money, while adding storage. Undoubtedly we could have done more, but there are tradeoffs, especially given our tight budget and time frame.
Checkout this site for kitchen colors with dark cabinets design ideas
If you’re like many Americans, you have a lot of stuff. Most of it is good and useful stuff, but too much all the same. But while we’d like to simplify and declutter our homes, we worry about wasting usable items by throwing them away. Holding a garage sale or selling items online takes planning and work, sometimes for little reward.
A great alternative is to give your extra possessions away. Why not go through your clutter and look for what can be donated to a charity or other organization? You’d be helping someone else — perhaps many someone elses — and you’d have more room in your home afterward. Read on for ideas about what you can donate to charity, in addition to the clothes and furniture usually seen at thrift stores.
What’s in the Garden?
Our outdoor spaces often hold clutter we don’t think about. Garden nooks and sheds, as well as the outdoor spaces beside and behind our homes can become the resting place for many seldom-used objects. For example, sometimes people hold on to boats they haven’t used recently because they’re not sure what to do with them. The good news is donating a boat is easy.
Many groups, such as youth camps and disaster relief services, can benefit from a watercraft or the money from its sale. The same applies to surfboards, boogie boards and other sporting equipment your family has outgrown or replaced with newer models.
Past garden projects may have left your family with half-used bags of potting soil, extra flower pots or decorative pavers. Consider giving these to a local school or community garden project.
What Clutters Your Home?
A great deal of the clutter in our homes comes from items with a one-time or short-term use. For example, take magazines and newspapers. Even if your community has a recycling program, you may have held on to older issues, intending to read them one day. If you find yourself with several years’ worth of periodicals, only keep six months’ worth.
Donate anything else to a local retirement home, hospital or school (if age-appropriate). Retirement homes and hospitals are often in need of reading material for residents. Schools can use magazines in art projects.
Other people end up with a stockpile of items that were once useful but are no longer. For example, you have dozens of children’s books — when your kids have left the nest. Maybe a dog bed your pooch shuns (preferring the couch, of course). Some families find themselves with a stockpile of workout equipment that didn’t suit their routines.
All of these things — books, pet accessories and sporting equipment — is welcomed by charities serving disadvantaged families or possibly the local library, animal shelter and community center.
What’s in the Attic?
American houses usually have ample storage space for life’s odds and ends. We have attics for family heirlooms and holiday decorations, basements and pantries for bulk-bought food and consumables, and garages for excess tools and project necessities. But we often use these spaces as out-of-sight, out-of-mind areas.
Once you put something in the attic (or other storage area), how long will it be until you use it again? Meanwhile, there are many families and organizations that would put your extra items to good use.
Home renovation projects can end up with a large amount of items going into storage. Your old light fixtures, moldings, furniture and shelving might be too good to throw away — but doesn’t have a new use in your household after you’ve remodeled.
However, a church or another program that build houses for families in need could use some of those supplies, especially in disaster areas. Your local community theater or high-school drama program might need them for building sets for upcoming performances.
Even things like paint can brighten another person’s life if you decide to donate it rather than storing or tossing it. Many communities have paint-swap programs. They vary depending on where you live, but usually these programs accept your partially used cans of interior or exterior paint. Part of a can may be all that is necessary for another family to touch up their bathroom or refinish their kids’ playhouse.
Bamboo Household Products Have Been Confirmed to be Safe, Healthy and Environmentally Friendly
Over the years, the popularity of products made with bamboo has increased. Now, everyone is buying and using bamboo household products and clothes. Whether you need to have a new bamboo floor installed, need to purchase new furniture or need new items for your kitchen, bathrooms or bedrooms, bamboo household products have become very popular over the years because bamboo is considered safe, healthy and more environmentally friendly than household products made with other materials.
Experts Have Confirmed That Bamboo Products Are Safe to Use
After conducting years of research on the topic, many experts have confirmed that buying household products made with bamboo is better than buying products made with other materials. This is because most household products are manufactured with harmful toxins and chemicals.
Unlike other materials, bamboo is grown organically without the need for harmful pesticides and toxins. In addition, bamboo grows faster than trees and can be manufactured and processed without harmful chemicals.
Bamboo Plants Are Grown Organically Without Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals
Unlike trees and other plants that need to be treated with harmful pesticides and toxic chemicals, bamboo plants are grown organically without the need for any chemical treatments. For people looking to keep their homes and apartments toxin and chemical free, bamboo products are the way to go because these plants are grown organically and without the need for pesticides and other toxins. As such, products made with bamboo tend to be much more safe, healthy and environmental friendly.
Bamboo Plants Grow Faster Than Trees
Since bamboo plants grow faster than trees, many people are buying bamboo products instead of products made with trees. By purchasing bamboo products, people are actually helping the environment. Unlike trees that take years to grow, bamboo plants grow fast and thrive in all different types of environment. This why so many green companies have started manufacturing products that are made with bamboo.
Bamboo Plant Products Are Manufactured Without Harmful Chemicals
In addition to saving our environment, bamboo plant products are also manufactured in an eco-friendly manner that promotes healthy living. Products made with bamboo are much more healthy because harmful chemicals are not used during the manufacturing process. Unlike trees that are treated and then processed with harmful chemicals, bamboo plants are converted into different materials by pressing and extracting fibers naturally from bamboo plants.
Materials Made With Bamboo Are Hypoallergenic and Can be Used by Most People
Since bamboo products are manufactured without all the chemicals that most products are manufactured with, most bamboo products are hypoallergenic and allergen-free. People searching for hypoallergenic clothes and products for their homes, choose products made with bamboo because most people are not allergic to products and clothes made with bamboo plants. In addition to saving the environment and reducing the amount of toxins in a home, bamboo products are helping people stay allergy-free and eliminate allergens from their home.
In addition to being hypoallergenic, materials and clothes made with bamboo are also recommended by experts because bamboo is so much more versatile than other types of materials. In addition to offering greater insulation during the winter months, materials made with bamboo help people stay cooler and more comfortable throughout the day.
Additionally, clothes made with bamboo also have a built-in UV protection that other materials do not offer. With so many people concerned about harmful UV rays from the sun, many people are searching for materials that help keep them and their families safe from the harmful effects of the sun.
By taking the time to learn more about bamboo household products, many people are discovering that products and clothing made with bamboo are not only healthy and safe to use, products made with bamboo are also helping improve our environment.
To meet the high demand for green, healthy and safe products made with bamboo, many manufacturers have started manufacturing a wide range of household products manufactured with bamboo that is not only good for the environment, but also safe and healthy to use.
Recycling Used Glass Bottles In The Home
Glass bottles are a household favorite, storing all manner of fluids. Wine, water, milk and even vinegar are all commonly stored in glass containers. In any given kitchen, glass will be one of the most abundant materials for storing foods, sauces and drinks.
Fortunately, glass can be recycled with relative ease, and collections nationwide are ensuring that the environmental impact of disposal is less severe. Even without sorting your used glass bottles for recycling, there are ways to recycle your own bottles to help to conserve the environment.
Recycling glass bottles has a number of advantages. Firstly, the more glass that is recycled, the less new glass that will need to be manufactured. The processes of recycling glass are less environmentally taxing than those involved in manufacture. Recycling ensures the same glass can be used time and time again.
For those who want to get creative in the home, repurposing glass bottles can help you save on landfill waste, important for protecting the planet for future generations. There are countless good ideas for repurposing glass bottles in and around the home.
Wine bottles benefit from their attractive shape, and different colors or labels can make them interesting display pieces. Perhaps the most common repurposing of wine bottles is as a candle holder. The diameter of the opening of the bottle fits standard candlesticks snugly.
For an atmospheric candlestick holder that helps set the tone for a relaxing evening, this simple idea works surprisingly well. This is just one example of how essentially waste glassware can be used creatively in the home, helping to spare the environmental impact of its disposal while saving you money on household accessories.
Broader bottles and jars are commonplace in most homes, storing everything from sauces to coffee. Refresh glass containers by using them to host pot plants around the home. This looks great in the kitchen, and is a low-cost way of sourcing stylish containers for your planting.
It is even feasible to make wrap-around labels for your jar plant pots, to ensure they look as neat as possible in your home. From the jaws of the recycling bin, this can help breathe new life into old unwanted glass containers, and at no cost.
Taking Your Home in a Green Direction
When you talk about going green and taking your household in that green direction, a lot of people tend to shy away from the very notion. Some people cite expenses as being the primary concern while others simply think it’s too hard – and then you have people who are just plain afraid of change. The fact of the matter, however, is that you can go green in your home and your daily life and it really doesn’t require some kind of massive paradigm shift in thought.
Below are just a few ways you can go green in the home without completely overhauling your way of life:
- Change energy providers. Energy Providers Texas and many other services across the country have made the switch and get their energy from renewable sources. These include hydropower, wind power and, of course, solar power. Getting your energy from a service like this is a great way to go green without drastically altering your daily routine and you could even save money.
- Recycle. You can establish a secondary receptacle to handle all recyclable materials and, by doing this, you will help cut back on the production of waste in your home. If your neighborhood doesn’t have a recycling program, see if there is a local dump that handles these materials. One day out of your month taking a trip to the dump isn’t such a big deal.
- Turn out those lights. This is an easy one to remember but difficult to execute – especially with children in the house. However, if you want to cut back on energy waste, you have to turn off the lights in rooms you aren’t using. Start early with your children and make sure they understand this rule. If you can’t get through to your children, there are other solutions like timer switches and motion detectors.
- Fix that leaky faucet. A drippy faucet probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal but, depending on the rate, you could be wasting several hundred gallons of water a year in addition to what you use cooking, bathing and flushing the toilet. That’s a lot of wasted water and a lot of wasted money.
- Unplug unnecessary electronics. A lot of current generation gaming consoles are notorious energy hogs because they not only draw tremendous amounts of energy while in use, but while they are offline, as well. As long as a gaming console is plugged in, it can draw power so make sure you unplug them when they are not in use and tell your children to do the same.
If you follow these tips, you will go far in not just saving the environment and going green, but saving some green, as well.
The Green To Be Seen
Today’s average homeowner knows about the benefits of going green or incorporating green principles into the home, but they aren’t moved enough to turn this knowledge into policy on the domestic front. Going green at home is not that difficult but in the initial stages it does require a few minutes of extra though, some sacrifice and a bit of effort.
These all become second nature once they are adhered too but let’s face it, humans are averse to change. Once we are set in our ways, we find it very difficult and sometimes scary to break free of these habits. Especially where our homes are concerned, we enjoy the constancy, even when we could do better and do better for ourselves, we are very slow to implementing productive changes for the fear of sacrificing comfort.
Why is it important to begin going green at home? Let’s look at it from a more global or rather, a more holistic standpoint.
This Summer will go down as one of the hottest in history – so hot that in some places the heat is having drastic effects on actual infrastructure. To deny that global warming is real and is occurring is a folly undertaking of epic proportions and while we are in no way trying to incite panic, we do however want to inspire a more thoughtful and meaningful way of living, not just for ourselves but for our children who will succeed us.
The biggest challenge when it comes to seeing green at home is that people don’t want to move away from their comfort zones. If just one person makes that step and makes that effort, it will be a lot easier to engender on the whole home front. There are simple things that can be done at individual level to make your home green. Putting recycling bins in the kitchen for everyone to use and adhere to is a great start.
Separate by glass, paper, plastic and you’ll soon be underway to helping your environment. Why not get a water filter for your kitchen faucet instead of buying bottled water all the time? Those bottles don’t disappear and even though some of them are recyclable, that’s an expulsion of energy that could be better utilized.
Don’t run your dishwasher on a small or too medium cycle as it takes the same amount of energy to build up the heat and do the work as a large cycle. As far as washing and cleaning are concerned, there are several effective, natural and affordable home-made solutions you can do yourself to create green household cleaning products.
Let’s look at our furniture and fixture choices – using natural and non-synthetic bedding and interior decorations is very key in keeping the home on the green team. You can find things of this nature!
There are some people who take showers AND baths every single day – this is so wasteful!! Why not alternate between having a quick brisk shower daily and relaxing in a hot or cool bath once a week or once every two weeks? The amount of water you’ll be saving will show up in your hydro bill next month!
Cool roofs fall into one of three categories: roofs made from inherently cool roofing materials, roofs made of materials that have been coated with a solar reflective coating, or green planted roofs. While green roofs are in many ways the best, they are also the most difficult to construct and maintain. Inherently cool roofs like vinyl are relatively easy to install, while the easiest and in this respect the best cool roof is a coated roof.
Types of Cool Roofs
Inherently cool roofs
White vinyl roofs, which are inherently reflective, achieve some of the highest reflectance and emittance measurements of which roofing materials are capable. A roof made of thermoplastic white vinyl, for example, can reflect 80 percent or more of the sun’s rays and emit at least 70% of the solar radiation that the building absorbs.
An asphalt roof only reflects between 6 and 26% of solar radiation, resulting in greater heat transfer to the building interior and greater demand for air conditioning.
An existing (or new) roof can be made reflective by applying a solar reflective coating to its surface. The reflectivity and emissivity ratings for over 1000 reflective roof products can be found in the CRRC (Cool Roofs Rating Council) website.
Green roofs provide a thermal mass layer which helps reducing the flow of heat into a building. The solar reflectance of green roofs varies depending on the plant types (generally 0.3-0.5). Because of the lower solar reflectance, green roofs reflect less sunlight and absorb more solar heat than white roofs. The absorbed heat in the green roofs is trapped by the greenhouse effect and then cooled by evapotranspiration.
The Benefits of Cool Roofs
Cool roofs offer energy savings and global warming mitigation. In its simplest essence, Cool roofs offer high solar reflectance. This is achieved primarily by reflecting the visible, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of the sun, which in turn reduces heat transfer to the building.
Cool roofs are also are high in thermal emittance (the ability to radiate absorbed, or non-reflected solar energy). Cool roofs can reportedly save up to 15% off the annual air-conditioning energy use in a single-story building.
Most of the sunlight that falls on a white roof much of is reflected and passes back into space. But when sunlight falls on a dark roof most of it is absorbed and converted into much longer wavelengths which we know as heat.
The atmosphere is transparent to sunlight but opaque to heat, which is why white roofs help cool the planet and dark roofs warm the planet. Most of the roofs in the world (including over 90% of the roofs in the United States) are dark-colored.
In the heat of the full sun, the surface of a black roof can increase in temperature as much as 50 °C (126 °F), reaching temperatures of 70 to 90 °C (158 to 194 °F). White surfaces reflect more than half of the radiation that reaches them, while black surfaces absorb almost all.
A 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) white roof will offset 10 tons of carbon dioxide over its 20 year lifetime. The potential reduction is GHGs is very significant. If all urban, flat roofs in warm climates were whitened, the resulting 10% increase in global reflectivity would offset the warming effect of 24 Gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, or equivalent to taking 300 million cars off the road for 20 years.
A 2012 study by researchers at Concordia University estimated that worldwide deployment of cool roofs and pavements in cities would generate a global cooling effect equivalent to offsetting up to 150 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – enough to take every car in the world off the road for 50 years.
Cool roofs have a wide range of benefits including:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduction in urban heat island effect and smog
- Improved occupant comfort (Less heat)
- Reduced cooling energy load
- Save peak electricity demand costs if you have time-of-use metering.
- Extended roof life service life and help
- Reduce roofing waste added to landfills.
- Comply with codes and green building programs (like Title 24 Energy Efficiency Building Standards)
Reduced building heat-gain, as a white or reflective roof typically increases only 5–14 °C (10–25 °F) above ambient temperature during the day. Research shows that conventional (black) roof membranes degrade from the sun adversely impacting durability.
High temperatures and large temperature variations are also detrimental to the longevity of roof membranes. Reducing the extremes of temperature change will reduce the incidence of damage to membrane systems. Covering membranes with materials that reflect ultraviolet and infrared radiation will reduce damage caused by u/v and heat degradation.
White or white coated roofing membranes, or white gravel are best but Cool roofs can come in many colors, even some dark colors are EnergyStar rated, but white is the most reflective.
One contested study by researchers at Stanford University suggested that although reflective roofs decrease temperatures in buildings and mitigate the urban heat island effect, they may actually increase global temperature.
However, according to a 2008 case study in the Province of Almeria, Southern Spain, cool roofs reduced the ambient temperature by 1.6ºC over a period of 20 years compared to surrounding regions.
Green Building Materials
The construction industry was once chided for its contribution to environmental degradation but has turned things around and is now among the leaders in the green movement. Through the dedicated research and study of individuals such as those with a masters degree in civil engineering, the range of green building materials available in the market is quite staggering.
More and more consumers are opting to use these types of green building materials to build their new homes. These materials either come from renewable resources or are recycled from waste. They are instrumental in reducing CO2 emissions and lowering energy consumption. What’s more, these are free from toxic chemicals and demonstrate high quality.
FRC is made from waste materials including plastics, rice husks, and saw dust. Some community recycling endeavors supply the ingredients for FRC creation. These are blended together in a highly technical manner to come up with an extremely durable composite. The resulting FRC mimics many properties of wood but it is so much stronger than its natural counterpart.
In addition, it can be recycled as much as 20 times for construction purposes. The material is commonly used for sidings, moldings, railings, furniture, trimmings, fencing and cladding. Its resistant to water makes it ideal for various outdoor applications as well.
Bamboo as Green Building Materials
Bamboo is an incredible plant with plenty of desirable properties. It can grow very quickly compared to other trees so sustainability is not an issue. The material is tough and water-resistant so it can last for many years. Bamboo is now being used in residential construction for a variety of applications, notably as kitchen flooring.
It can take the foot traffic and occasional spills in stride. The panels are very beautiful and should fit any modern home. They can be used in other parts of the house as well like the living room and bedrooms. There is also plenty of bamboo furniture of different styles.
The steel industry is heavily into recycling as it is has been found that the process is much cheaper than mining and refining new ores. Energy expenditure is also reduced thanks to this practice. The vast majority of old structural steel from buildings goes to recycling plants for processing so that they can be reused in new constructions.
Homeowners need not worry about their stability as steel does not lose its inherent physical properties during the conversion into new beams. It is the most widely recycled material with scraps coming from cars, machinery, reinforcing bars, engine blocks, pipes, appliances and more.
Metal Cladding is a method that very popular around the world as an alternative to gluing and welding different metals together
Homes, schools and offices consume tons of paper every year. Despite the promise of a paperless society due to the digital revolution, we are still dependent on this cheap and reliable material to do all sorts of tasks. Engineers have thought of a way to recycle paper waste and reduce toxic building materials at the same time.
Paper insulation is created mostly out of cardboard boxes and old newspapers. It can be used as a green alternative to traditional foams. It has excellent insulating properties which contribute to energy efficiency and it is insect resistant so there is no need to fear an infestation. Non-toxic treatments make it fire-retardant.
Modern construction uses a lot of concrete. Massive efforts have been exerted to try to tame this material and make it green through sustainability. To this end, a number of concrete manufacturers have begun to add recycled materials to their products including wood chips, steel slag, and crushed glass.
The resulting material is not that different from typical concrete but the addition of waste materials slightly reduces carbon dioxide emissions. This is a big step forward for concrete manufacturing which is known to generate as much as a tenth of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds
It is true! Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds can really help make your home or workplace more eco-friendly. Creating a green home is no-longer a trend or something that only environmentalists would consider doing. It is now mainstream and ordinary people all across America have started realizing there are major advantages in making your home more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Some people are actively and systematically transforming their home, others simply base their purchasing decisions increasingly on green credentials. There are many reasons to this but I would say the primary factors to are efficiency, economy and the psychological feeling of doing something important that really makes a difference in a larger sense but also in a smaller and more personal perspective. Good for you on a personal level, good for the community, good for the country and good for the planet.
Obviously for low- and mid-income earners the major driver would logically be predominately economical while for high-income earners it would more be based on psychological factors. Regardless, some of the main economical factors are fairly obvious and well-known, such as efficiency, reduced operating costs and tax benefits.
Steps you can take in achieving this include common things like installing solar-power and making your home more energy-efficient. However, one of the least known actions in making your home more eco-friendly is by installing window blinds throughout your home. Why?
Because it reduces your dependency on energy and petroleum-based products (without sacrificing style). It also protects your furnishings from sun-damage and can potentially lower your utility bills. A slightly forgotten action to take but very efficient and actually fairly easy.
What is Vinyl?
Vinyl is an organic compound made into a man-made, or synthetic material. It was first produced in 1920 as a way to provide consumers with durable and affordable ways to make their lives easier. It is known for heat and moisture resistant properties that make it a top choice in home construction.
This type of plastic is also particularly useful for window accessories, which often face the brunt of extreme weather. Furthermore, vinyl is recyclable and is partially made from renewable resources.
Application on Shutters:
In the past, the only shutters you could obtain were wooden versions. Although they are aesthetically appealing, wood shutters don’t hold up well. Water damage from rain causes such shutters to dry-rot, and sun exposure can make them crack over time. Vinyl shutters are a better option.
The shutters are made out of materials that will deflect weathering. When taken care of properly, nothing will be able to penetrate the vinyl shutters, including ultraviolet (UV) rays. This is far more effective than painting UV-protectant paints onto wood shutters.
Save Energy with Vinyl Shutters and Eco-friendly Blinds
Energy Saving Benefits:
While vinyl is extremely durable, perhaps the best benefits are the energy-saving ones. Vinyl naturally prevents excess heat from penetrating the surface. This means that when you use vinyl shutters, excess heat won’t have the opportunity to penetrate through the shutters and ultimately through the windows.
As a result, your air conditioner will run less during the hot summer months, saving both the environment and your energy bills. At the same time, vinyl shutters also have energy-saving benefits during cold winter months. Vinyl has the propensity to control interior temperatures.
This means that if you run heat or a fireplace during the winter, the vinyl shutters will help control the warmth in your home. You will quickly notice that your heater runs less, which greatly saves the environment from excess heating use. Plus, you will also save money on astronomical heating bills.
Find Your Perfect Shutters:
Vinyl shutters are plentiful on the market, but it is important to deal with a company that has the widest selection to fit your needs, as well as one that has a reputation for fast and reliable service. These types of shutters are highly versatile and they can be used on the outside of any room. Examples include living rooms, bedrooms, libraries, kitchens and bathrooms.
Amazon.com is your one-stop shop for quality exterior shutters that will help you save the environment, as well as your bank account. Check out the wide range of selection and start reaping the benefits today.
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3 Easy Ways to Go Green and Save Money in Your Home
Green living is more than just a trend; it’s an important lifestyle to adopt to keep our planet healthy. Many people think that going green at home means giving up things that they’re accustomed to, like long showers and a lighted hallway.
Fortunately, it’s easy to go green in your home without a big investment and without dramatically altering your lifestyle. New homes are popping up all around the country that are developed to be green, and there may even be a green master planned community in the area you want to live in.
In fact, going green will probably save you money, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re doing your part to make the planet a better place. Small steps can have big impacts, so check out this list of ways you can go green in your home, and start living a greener lifestyle today.
Watch Your Water
Many cities across the United States are experiencing water shortages, meaning water is in high demand and expensive. Reducing your water use in your home will mean you’re playing an important role in helping conserve water, and you’ll be saving some serious cash too. It’s easy to conserve water. Only run your washing machine when you have a full load, and consider wearing pants and jackets more than once before washing them.
Turning the water off when you brush your teeth saves an estimated 4.5 gallons of water, meaning if you brush your teeth twice a day you’ll be saving 3,276 gallons of water a year! If you want to make a big change, install a low flow toilet in your home. Low flow toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, which is less than half of what a regular toilet does.
Switch Your Light Bulbs
One of the easiest ways to go green that won’t affect your lifestyle at all is by switching out your old-fashioned light bulbs for energy-efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 66% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, and last ten times longer.
The Light Bulb Finder app for your smartphone makes it easy for you to figure out what kind of bulbs will work well for your home, as you can simply input what kind of lamps you have and the app will tell you where to get new bulbs (including how much you’ll save per year by switching). You won’t notice a single difference in your home by switching light bulbs, but you will definitely notice a difference in your lowered electricity bill.BUY LED’s and save more
If you garden, there are easy ways to garden that make your vegetables taste healthier while making the earth feel healthier. One of those ways is to abandon synthetic fertilizers for good old-fashioned compost. Having a compost bin in your yard will give you perfect compost that provides your plants with the nutrients they need without using nasty synthetic fertilizers. Compost will also minimize weeds, and can even help keep away pests.
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Reduce Your Household Bills By Going Green
Times are tough and money is tight for a lot of us. Here are a few tips you can easily implement to reduce your household bills whilst you save energy.
Companies such as phone/energy providers, credit cards and catalogs have all been known to charge a little per month for printing and sending paper bills. It might take a while to check everything and switch, but all those little bits add up, so with a bit of a time investment you could save a significant amount – and a lot of paper that would have otherwise been wasted.
If you don’t have double glazing, investing in weather stripping or even drought excluders to fill any cracks around windows and doors is a cheap and effective solution, as is installing heavy curtains or Roman Blinds to keep the heat in after dark. Likewise, conservatory blinds can keep heat in a conservatory in the winter months, and have the added bonus of keeping it shady and cool in the summer.
Those of you without loft insulation should consider placing a thick blanket over the loft hatch before closing it, making sure it overlaps the edges. This will create a thick seal which should prevent heat from escaping into the loft and out through the roof, and less lost heat means lower energy bills!
The simplest way to save water is to put an unused brick in your toilet cistern. You’ll use half a gallon less per flush, which is great if you’re on a water meter. If you don’t have a spare brick lying around, lots of water providers will give you a “water saver” for free which serves the same purpose, and if they don’t, fill an unused plastic bottle with sand or gravel, and it’ll do the job.
Turn Down The Boiler
We all know that keeping the heating in our homes low can go a long way to saving both energy and money, but did you know that doing the same with the hot-water thermostat on your boiler can do the same? Having the hot water temperature anywhere above 140F is a waste of energy as your boiler has to work harder to keep it hot, and turning it down means your baths and showers will be a far more pleasant temperature. NEST