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BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogNow that you have decided to build your dream home, you may have taken bold steps to locate the ideal lot or acreage site to build on. The impressive natural beauty of the land may have drawn you to it and instilled a sense of peace as you walked the lot. Understandably, you want to retain these same natural features that drew you to the land. Each lot and building project are unique, but these are some of the strategies that can be used to preserve the natural features that you have fallen in love with. Plan around Trees There are few natural features more beautiful than a centuries-old tree that has lush, healthy branches as well as deep roots and a huge trunk. These heritage trees tell a story of their own, so you understandably want to keep them intact on your land. If space permits, consider designing your home’s layout around the trees. These trees can be a true focal point to the landscape, and they add curb appeal as well as property value. Creating a floorplan and layout that takes the preservation of heritage trees into account is a smart idea. Build into Cliffs and Ledge If your lot has a dominant cliff or ledge, you may be able to build right up to the rock wall or even into it in some cases. Rock boring hire is available to help you anchor your property into the rock. By doing so, your home may become a part of the natural beauty. The rock may also act as a natural protective feature, and it could promote energy efficiency. It makes sense take full advantage of cliffs and ledges when they are present on your property. Hire an Experienced Architect These are only a few of the many features that you may want to preserve or take advantage of in your floorplan. In some cases, such as if you have a very large estate lot with ample space to lay the home on the land, special effort may not be required to preserve coveted natural features. However, other properties may require bold or monumental efforts in order to achieve your preservation goals. Hiring an experienced architect who has a proven track record of creativity and success in this area is advantageous. As you see, there are many creative ways to preserve your land’s treasured natural features. Identify the features that are most important to you, and speak with various contractors about the preservation options available.
BrookeChaplan posted a blog entry in Brooke Chaplan's Green BlogRemodeling a home is a great way to shake things up. If you care about the environment, one of the major shakeups you can make deals with environmental friendliness. As you change things up in your home, you can make sure your new space is a bit greener. Here are a few tips to make your remodeling more environmentally conscious. Reuse What You Can The remodeling process involves a great deal of destruction but it can also involve quite a bit of creation. Instead of getting rid of everything that doesn’t work, why not try repurposing some of it? You might be able to save money and help the environment by repainting old cabinets or repurposing some of the building materials from the area that you are remodeling. If you can’t reuse what you’ve got, try using reclaimed items from someone else. This helps to cut down on the pollution involved in manufacturing new items and keeps detritus out of the landfills at the same time. Dispose Of Your Waste The way you get rid of rubbish can play a huge role in the green nature of your company. If you’re burning trash or just dragging bags out to the curb every week, the odds are that you’re contributing to the problem more than helping. Instead of going that route, why not work with professionals, like those at Green Bin, to make sure your trash is hauled away in an environmentally safe way? While you should always do what you can to reduce waste, getting rid of what is left in the right manner is a good start. Be Energy Efficient Finally, pay attention to the efficiency of what you’re adding to your home. Bringing in newer appliances is usually a good way to ensure that your energy usage is a fair bit lower, but you don’t have to stop there. Look into other energy-saving techniques like environmentally-friendly insulation or lower ceilings that will require less energy to heat and cool. You can even reduce your dependency on the electrical grid by installing solar panels when you remodel. Choosing energy-friendly additions to your home can help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Always make sure you keep environmental friendliness in mind when you remodel. Reuse materials when you can, dispose of things properly when you can’t, and always look for more efficient ways to bring energy into your home. If make going green a priority you should be able to find ways to make your remodel fall in line with your plans.
LizzieWeakley posted a blog entry in Lizzie Weakley's Green BlogGreen and eco-friendly construction is the way of the future. Current homeowners are doing what they can to make their homes green through small (or large) remodeling projects. While some can get pricey, the long-term pay off for any green project is immeasurable. Technology is being developed every day to advance green building practices, maximize renewable resources, and reduce our carbon footprint. If you are looking to make your home more environmentally friendly, here are a few suggestions for your next remodel. Cool Roofs Cool roofs are quickly becoming the way of the future according to professionals at Roland’s Roofing. The special tiles and reflective paint reflect sunlight and heat, keeping the home cooler in the summer. This reduces the need to use an HVAC system, saving the owners money but also reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. Reclaimed Floors Reclaimed wood is being used more and more for flooring projects in homes. Reclaimed wood is durable, renewable, and recycled, meaning no new trees have to be cut down. Backing without harmful VOCs is also becoming more popular to create a truly green floor. Although not reclaimed, bamboo flooring is also on the rise since it is inexpensive, durable, and the plant matures quickly. Solar Panels More home owners are opting to go solar. Solar panels are fairly quick and easy to install, increase home value, and pay themselves off in 5 to 10 years depending on your energy use. They also require little long-term maintenance. Direct Vent Fireplaces Homeowners who want a fireplace without the hassle of a fire place are turning to direct vent fireplaces. Wood-burning fireplaces may be charming and romantic, but they require a lot of upkeep and the pollutants they produce can irritate your lungs. Direct vent gas fireplaces use air for combustion and can be vented vertically or horizontally, meaning you don’t need a chimney either. Storm Water Management When remodeling, don’t forget the outside. Landscaping the outside of your home to better manage large volumes of water will come in handy after a big storm. Not only can this help prevent flooding, plants in your yard will be able to absorb the water and purify it as it soaks into the soil. This also helps curb erosion in more rural areas. Just because you are not in the market for a new home doesn’t mean you need to miss out on green home trends. Use the above ideas to improve your home as well as the environment around you.
elizabetheckhart posted a blog entry in elizabetheckhart's BlogThere’s no denying that buildings created in the past ten or so years are far more energy efficient than older structures. The older the building, more likely it is to be an energy sinkhole, consuming far more resources than it needs to. Older buildings more commonly have inefficient HVAC, cooling, lighting and water heating systems in place, as well as wear and tear issues: such as drafty doors and windows, leaky pipes, and worn insulation (if there is any at all). Many articles and much attention has been given to the easy fixes regarding these buildings. Updating lights to CFL or LED lighting, installing a smart thermometer, and purchasing inexpensive insulation from hardware stores for attics, windows and walls are all excellent ways to cut down on energy costs. However, with the ever-rising costs of energy prices, and the knowledge that resident and commercial buildings still account 40% of energy consumption globally, it might be time to consider doing more than picking up a few draft stoppers. Today there are close to 20 million home remodels a per year, with up to $150 billion spend on renovations. Unfortunately, this money is generally driven toward expansion and aesthetic purposes, such as replacing worn out interiors. Little is done toward updating the energy efficiency of a building -perhaps due to a lack of motivation, or lack of knowledge regarding the inefficiencies of a particular structure. Some home and commercial building owners might have even resigned themselves to the belief that unless they were to entirely rebuild, there’s not much that can be done, and obviously, rebuilding a structure from top to bottom costs more than most people can afford. However, this thought process is entirely untrue. There is more that can be done beyond easy quick-fixes, and it doesn’t require knocking a structure down and starting over. In fact, it has been proven that completely rebuilding would waste more material, energy, and money than committing to a Deep Energy Retrofit -what renovation companies and contractors are calling the intense weatherization program that saves far more than the 10% to 15% of standard energy efficiency driven upgrades. Deep Energy Retrofits do more than locate energy weak spots in a home and replace outdated systems. Some contractors, in an effort to create a perfectly insulated building, even use laser technology to create a 3D model of the structure - in addition to traditional scanning technology. Every DER involves adding some form of interlocking, leak proof, thermally efficient material (such as TES, a timber-based facade) onto every outer wall, as well as double and triple glazed windows. Both additions will do far more for a building’s insulation than anything store-bought and self-applicable could ever do. Deep Energy Retrofits might also include replacing poorly installed batt insulation, adding ceiling insulation, sealing ducts, and upgrading hot water heaters, HVAC and temperature systems, and all appliances to Energy Star approved machinery. Additional changes might include installing a sealed combustion furnace and improving kitchen and bath exhaust, as well as whole-house ventilation. On average, depending on the size and state of the building, a full retrofit could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000, with many variations. The cost is high, but still less than a complete rebuild, and well worth it: buildings that have been retrofitted can see onsite energy reductions of up to 74%, and carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced as much as 54%. With energy costs only continuing to rise —more than doubling in the past ten years— and the sluggish pace of renewable energy projects, an Deep Energy Retrofit is likely the best option for many outdated residences and commercial buildings. Building updates, paired with a re-evaluation of energy prices and renewable energy programs (through sites like albertaenergyproviders.ca or http://www.papowerswitch.com/shop-for-electricity/ depending on your area) are more immediate, and have more drastic results than investing in unreliable renewable energy sources onsite, such as solar panels or wind turbines, and then rewiring the building.