Updated: Jan 4
Our homes contribute to 13% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, but we can greatly reduce that statistic by incorporating eco-friendly features into our homes. Living in an eco-friendly home makes it easy and natural to enjoy an eco-friendly lifestyle.
An eco-friendly home provides serious benefits, including:
● Reduce environmental impact
● Save money
● Protect your health
● Increase property value
● Improve your quality of life
So what makes a home eco-friendly? Here are 7 key features of an eco-friendly house.
1. Renewable Energy Technologies
Modern lifestyles consume a great deal of energy. Almost everything we do in our homes requires power:
● Heating and cooling
● Hot water
● Cooking and storing food
● Washing dishes in the dishwasher
● Computer work
● Entertainment (gaming, TV, etc.)
Canadian households consume an average of 92.5 gigajoules of energy in a year. You can reduce your dependency on fossil fuels by using renewable energy technologies in your home, such as solar panels, geothermal systems, or wind power.
Solar panel technology absorbs the inexhaustible energy from the sun and transforms it into energy for your home. This technology gives you long term, cost-effective, passive energy for your home. Innovation in this industry has resulted in solar panels that can add artistic elements to the design of your home.
Geothermal systems use the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home by integrating with heat pump technology. Geothermal heat pumps are powered by electricity, but use much less energy than an air conditioner or a gas furnace.
For a typical residential wind power setup, a wind turbine is mounted on a tower, not your roof. An inverter transforms the wind energy into the power your house uses. Wind speeds of only 13 kilometers per hour are enough to generate power, but naturally, more wind generates more power.
2. Minimum 240V Charging Station for Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are becoming the standard. Many of the world’s major vehicle manufacturers anticipate half or more of their vehicles will be electric by 2030. If you don’t have an electric vehicle yet, chances are high you will someday. Naturally, home charging stations will become standard, too.
An electric vehicle is powered by a rechargeable battery. To recharge your vehicle, you must plug it into a charging station. It’s possible to plug it into any basic wall socket, but these are typically lower voltage (around 120V) and take a long time to fully charge your vehicle (up to 50 hours).
Portable 240V chargers are available and are great for charging your vehicle when you’re on the go. But a 240V charger is ideal for charging your vehicle at home. Installing one of these in your garage makes charging your vehicle convenient, requiring 12 hours or less to fully recharge. Plug it in overnight and you’re good to go!
3. Sustainable Environmentally Friendly Materials
The raw materials used to build and insulate your home have an environmental impact, too. Home buyers today have the luxury of almost limitless options for the design and construction of their homes, including access to sustainable, environmentally friendly materials.
A few examples of the many materials commonly used in the construction of eco-friendly homes include:
● Composite decking made from recycled material
● Low VOC paints and adhesives
● Non-toxic sealers and stains
● Natural, renewable materials such as cork, bamboo, or FSC-certified wood
Environmentally friendly construction considers what’s involved in the transportation and assembly of the materials as well.
4. Energy-Efficient Windows & Triple-Pane Skylights
Your windows are more than clear spaces on your walls so you can see outside. They work to insulate your home, but some windows insulate better than others. Energy-efficient windows optimize your heating and cooling systems, and block damaging UV rays.
The size and placement of your windows matters as much as the seal and panes. Your windows can improve your home’s lighting, help trap heat inside your house in cool weather, and provide ventilation.
5. Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Reduce water consumption (and lower utility costs) in your home with low-flow water fixtures, including toilets, faucets, and showerheads. Low-flow fixtures perform just as well as their conventional counterparts and can save several gallons of water per minute of use.
6. ENERGY STAR Appliances
Up to 13% of the energy we use in our homes is for powering our appliances. You can reduce the amount of energy your appliances use by choosing ENERGY STAR certified appliances, which are certified to meet specifications for energy efficiency.
ENERGY STAR certified appliances typically perform in the top 15-30% of their class for energy performance. You’ll lower your energy bills by reducing your energy usage with these products. It’s an easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions simply by living life the way you always do.
7. Smart-Home Technology
Smart-home technology enables you to be eco-friendly automatically. Once it’s set up, you don’t have to do a thing!
A smart thermostat controls the temperature in your home. You can program it to lower the temperature at night or when no one is home. It can stop your HVAC system from running when your desired temperature is reached, and you can set it to reach a certain temperature in time for your return from work.
Smart-home lighting can reduce your energy usage by ensuring lights are off when they’re not needed. Program them to turn on and off at random intervals while you’re on vacation for home security. You can even turn off the lights remotely if you forget before you leave the house.
The fun doesn’t stop there! Smart-home technology allows you to connect to anything in your home with smart capabilities, including your TV, washer and dryer, home monitoring system, and more.
Build an Eco-Friendly House with Melcom Homes
Melcom Homes is Calgary’s eco-friendly home builder. Our mission is to create a sustainable world, and we work toward that in the way we build your home. An eco-friendly Melcom home includes all the features we’ve addressed in this post:
● Renewable energy technologies
● Minimum 240V charging station
● Sustainable environmentally friendly materials
● Energy-efficient windows and triple-pane skylights
● Low-flow water fixtures
● ENERGY STAR appliances, and
● Smart-home technology
You can build a custom eco-friendly house that’s affordable, looks great, and lasts forever. Contact a Melcom Homes associate today to find out how your home can help you live an eco-friendly lifestyle.