The idea of living in an eco-home might seem daunting. The first few eco-housing areas to be built certainly had a lot of problems with mold, rot and erosion, as well as poor ventilation, and solar panels that didn’t generate as much power as homeowners would like. However, developers have learned a lot from those first buildings, and modern homes are generally much better designed and easier to live in.
Ecoparks and Communities
Many modern eco-homes are part of environmentally friendly communities, where likeminded people live together and pool resources for things beyond reducing their gas, electricity and water usage. These communities may have a food co-op, or even carpool, to reduce their electricity usage even further.
This sort of arrangement can be incredibly beneficial if you are interested in saving as much energy as possible, but if you prefer not to have to attend resident’s meetings and other sessions with your neighbors then you may want to look for a converted home that isn’t part of a community.
How Much Can You Save?
Eco-friendly homes can offer substantial savings. If you find a home that has geothermal heating, you can cut more than 60% off your gas bills. Solar panels can offer substantial savings on your electricity bills (especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of direct sunlight, although modern panels can generate some power just from ambient daylight). Water reclamation units can save you more than 25 gallons of water per day, which can be a substantial saving for a household with a water meter.
Many modern builds come complete with a set of Energy Efficiency A rated appliances. These, combined with insulation, double or triple glazing, and other eco-friendly features, can offer even more savings.
Well-designed eco friendly homes are not just energy efficient, they’re also easy to live in. Their green features should “just work”, so there’s no need to micro manage systems and appliances.
Making Your House an Eco Home
If you can’t afford to move house, or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of relocating at the moment, you can add a lot of eco-friendly features to your existing home. The most obvious additions are double glazing, a modern heating system, and cavity wall insulation, however there are other things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you need more living space, consider loft conversions instead of home extensions – loft conversions make use of the existing space in your home, allowing you to leave your garden untouched. Adding insulation to the loft while the work is being done will make your home more energy efficient too.
Next time you renovate your home, consider adding a water-efficient shower and a low-flow toilet. In addition, when you come to replace appliances (something that will happen naturally over time), opt for the most energy efficient items you can afford. Don’t rush out and replace all of your white goods tomorrow, especially if they’re still working well, but do make a point of opting for the greenest goods you can when you are replacing broken products.