Energy efficient homes

If you live a green life, but haven’t maximized the energy efficiency of your home, you’re in for a big surprise. The carbon footprint of an average American household is 48 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is far above the global average. Housing is the second largest source of carbon emissions right after transportation. In addition to considering less air travel and more efficient vehicles, one must ask ‘what can we do to reduce the carbon footprint we are leaving on the planet with out-dated building structures?’
Fortunately, when it comes to making your house more energy efficient, what is good for the environment is also good for your wallet. The simplest step is to improve insulation – that includes inspecting walls for cold or hot spots, adding insulation to the attic, and applying better sealing to windows and doors. Reconsider habits of convenience such as leaving lights and appliances on, letting the tap run or taking an extra long shower.
We can also rethink home construction. When you hear “prefabricated homes”, do you imagine a modular home in a trailer park type setting? Think again. Prefab has come a long way and can be as beneficial for the environment as it is for your budget. Constructing a conventional 2,000 square foot house in the US generates 4 tons of waste. Building a home made in a prefab factory cuts down on waste considerably. Could the future of home building look more like an assembly line automobile factory? Prefab also means no exposure to the elements, avoiding moisture build up in wooden frames that can lead to mold.
Rethinking home construction brings with it an opportunity to shift into green living. Often companies in this business are more eco–conscious, and use recycled steel or reclaimed timber. They also include alternative energy sources such as solar or geothermal energy. Contractors can even design roofs and sidings with vegetation for added insulation and air purification.
Find out what your carbon footprint is with this carbon footprint calculator, or find out other ways to be more energy efficient.
Need more ideas about being sustainable? Find them in this FREE issue.

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