Environment Magazine

Are Green Homes Better?

Posted on the 28 September 2012 by Aqueel Mansoor @aqeelchishti213
Are Green Homes Better?Green is in, and what's more, it's in the homes. With the rising costs of everything, and with the effects of climate change being more and more inconveniently felt as well, everyone is interested in using up less of the expensive fossil fuel-generated electricity and looking to cleaner renewable sources.One way we're doing this is by living in greener homes. For those of us who are not living in green homes yet, here's what a green home looks like - and how you can
have one too!Kitchen
The kitchen is the most energy-consuming part of the home, so it's the best place to green up. Green kitchens use appliances that are ENERGY STAR qualified, to make sure they are energy efficient. They make sure that their ranges and ovens are properly maintained by having them inspected by a trained professional every year. Their faucets have no leaks, and their dishwashers are water efficient. Their cabinets are made from locally grown materials and not tropical hardwood.
Most of our water consumption occurs in the bathroom, so if you can save water here, you will be saving a lot in your water bill.Regular toilets, for instance, use up about 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Toilets with WaterSense certification use up less water, such that if all toilets in America were replaced with WaterSense toilets, the country could save almost 2 billion gallons of water every day! You could also opt for dual-flush toilets, which use less water for urine only. Another technology that has been available for more than 30 years is the composting toilet, which requires hardly any water at all.For faucets and shower heads, choose the aerator types, which provide the same efficiency with up to 60% less water than your regular faucets and showers.Laundry
Next to the bathroom, the largest water user in your home is your laundry. Check the water factor rating of your washing machine. The lower it is, the better. Look also for an ENERGY STAR labeled model.
It also helps to make some changes in your washing habits. Only wash full loads, and whenever possible, use the cold-water wash cycle, as 90% of your washing machine's energy consumption is used for heating the water.The rest of the house
Most of the energy consumption in the rest of the house are from lights and other electric appliances. If you put up larger windows and maybe even skylights, and if you paint your walls lighter colors, you'll reduce the need to turn on your lightbulbs at all in the daytime.Planting deciduous trees near east- and west-facing windows mean that you'll get cooling shade in the summer but you'll have access to the sun's light and heat in the winter.
Heating costs typically are the largest energy expense in a UK home. An energy-efficient gas boiler can therefore make a big difference in your energy bills

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