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What is Eco-Friendly Housing?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
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  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Eco-friendly housing is the concept of having homes that take energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into great consideration in their construction and operation. The construction of eco-friendly housing, which also is known as “green building,” is based on the belief that every effort should be made to help the environment. Since the green industry boomed in the early 21st century, the demand for eco-friendly housing has increased. A lot of homes have been built to take advantage of wind turbines, efficient lighting and insulation, water conservation methods, recycling and waste management and other eco-friendly technological innovations. Even the building materials and techniques are environmentally friendly.

Real estate developers and contractors have invested in architects and engineers who are certified “green builders.” A green builder is someone who plans eco-friendly housing construction designs. The entire house plan aims to save energy and use mostly eco-friendly materials. Many professionals spend time and effort researching the most innovative eco-friendly housing solutions because of the increased awareness of individuals and corporations to preserve the ecology of the planet.

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Expert organizations such as the United States Green Building Coalition conduct assessments of eco-friendly housing construction. The U.S. Green Building Coalition awards Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications to architects, engineers and other construction professionals and firms. Some eco-friendly housing that was built by professionals and construction firms that have passed the LEED exams are the Athena Marie Plantation of North Hutchinson Island, Florida, in the United States and the Orchid House of the Lower Mill Estate in Cotswold, England.

To begin converting a house to an eco-friendly one, one first must assess the house’s current energy consumption. An online energy calculator that is applicable in the country where the house is located can be helpful for this. Many electric companies offer energy calculators on their website, and those are more accurate tools to use. There also are websites that generate a graph or tally of how the house can reduce energy consumption to a sustainable level. These tools can be used to determine how much energy is enough.

For construction of new eco-friendly homes, green builders usually think about designing the house in a way that the occupants can achieve the utmost comforts and at the same time achieve sustainable energy consumption and eco-friendly living. Eco-friendly housing construction should cover all aspects, such as floor planning, exterior elevations, foundation planning, framing and wall sections, among others. The materials and technologies to be utilized also should be considered in the planning process.

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John57
Post 4

Does it cost more to buy eco-friendly housing materials? We are in the process of looking at house plans and hope to begin building in the next few months.

I haven't done many calculations on the difference of savings if we built a house that was energy efficient and eco-friendly.

I know that you can take deductions on your taxes if you install energy efficient heating and air conditioning products. I wonder if there is also some kind of deduction if you build a house with eco-friendly materials?

I would imagine the materials might be more expensive initially, but you would probably make your money back over a period of a few years.

SarahSon
Post 3

If I ever build a new house, I would love to install solar panels to take advantage of the energy from the sun. Using these eco building materials makes a lot of sense to me.

Right now the house I live in has a lot of windows that face the south, and this really makes a difference during the winter. The sun shines inside an enclosed porch area and it warms up so nicely, you rarely need to heat this area.

If I had solar panels installed to take advantage of this for my whole house, I can imagine how warm my house would be. I don't think it would take long to pay for itself. During the long, cold months, I pay a lot of money to keep my heater running all day and night long.

julies
Post 2

I didn't realize that many utility company websites had energy calculators you could use. I sign on to pay my bill every month, but never realized I had access to a tool like this.

I live in an area of newer homes, but I don't think many of them were built as eco friendly houses. We get a notice from our electric company every summer saying they will give us a discount on our bill if we participate in a certain program.

They are trying to get people to turn their thermostat up during peak energy times in the summer. If everyone did this even by a few degrees, it would make a big difference in the energy

that is available.

I can program my thermostat to come on an hour or so before I get home. This way it is not running at peak performance all day long. When I get in the house, it is cool enough to notice, but it still has a few degrees to go before it is really comfortable.

Mykol
Post 1

I live in an older home that probably wouldn't be considered an environmentally friendly home. Ever since we moved here, we have been trying to make it more comfortable to live in.

We replaced all of the windows and doors, and noticed a big difference in our utility bills.We also didn't have the cold drafts of air coming in during the winter.

There is a lot of character built into my house, but it sure lacks in being very friendly to the environment. I think it is very wise for many of the new buildings going up to use green building materials.

Years ago when my home was built, I don't think people really thought about the impact the buildings would have on the environment. I know for the next home I live in, I will put a lot more thought into how the home I am buying or building will impact the environment.

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