Imagine living in a house that didn’t require as much energy to build or run, yet was as efficient (and in some cases even more efficient) than conventional homes. The good it would do for the environment would be phenomenal. Most climate change and environmental damage happen because of the activities involved in constructing and running an average home.
Starting from the burning of fossil fuels to warm our homes to the destruction of trees for woodwork and their use in construction. Not to mention small factors like the vehicles then used in construction that too emit and contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases all over the world.
Greenhouse gases are contributed to by many factors and activities, but 39% of all carbon emissions globally are caused by the building and construction industry alone. The fact that 28% of this comes from energy consumption and 11% comes from the construction materials themselves according to the World Green Building Council.
A Brief History
Wood was the primary (and only) source of energy for home use up until 1875. It was used for all energy production within the home. It was used to cook, to produce heat during the winter, and even for indoor lighting. Wood was practically the only source of energy for all activity within the home and as you can imagine, it wasn’t the most efficient and environmentally friendly source of energy but it’s what they had available at the time.
From 1875 until about 1950, coal was introduced as a secondary source of energy. Coal had a number of advantages over wood. One of those advantages included the fact that coal burns much longer than wood and did not need to be collected as frequently. Following the introduction of coal, came oil and gas around 1961, as fossil fuels began to gain traction during this time period.
They were and still are used primarily for cooking and space heating but from 1961 electricity was introduced. Electricity is the most cost-effective and energy-efficient source of power in homes today. It also allows for more possibilities in the utilization of power in the home as time and technology has advanced in the years since it was introduced.
Benefits of Energy-efficient Homes Over Conventional Homes
Minimizes heat loss: Energy-efficient homes are constructed in an airtight manner to prevent heat loss through cracks, air vents, and the likes. Every joint is tight and stable and all seams are finished with precision to ensure that all seams are free from all gaps.
This type of construction ensures that when you turn on the heating or air conditioning, the hot or cold air (respectively) stays trapped within the building and no energy is wasted. To add an extra layer of protection, builders use spray-foam insulation to create an effective barrier between the home and the outside world.
Reduces Utility Bills: Energy-efficient homes also employ advanced technology that is designed and engineered to use less energy. In combination with energy-efficient homes, appliances that promote energy efficiency use significantly less energy than conventional appliances.
Appliances with better energy star ratings can help you save up to 25% on electrical power (depending on the appliance) and also on water usage too. As a result, energy-efficient homes offer significantly lower utility bills from day one and these factors alone.
Reduced Incidence of Pests: Dealing with pests such as ants, rats, and termites can be very frustrating. They can also be quite expensive to deal with. The very design of energy-efficient homes greatly reduces their incidence. In more traditional homes, leaky or broken ducts enable insects to get in, particularly in the attic or basement, and can cause inconvenience and damage later down the line.
Lower Negative Environmental Impact: Conventional homes have a huge effect on the environment. If you are concerned about climate change, it might be better for you to think about switching to a more energy-efficient home. An efficient building automatically consumes less electricity and water than its inefficient counterparts. Greenhouse gases are emitted a lot less and energy is saved a lot more, both in construction and in the day-to-day running of the house.
If you’ve considered incorporating a more energy-efficient lifestyle to simply lower utility costs or for the global effect that contributing to greenhouse gases causes, a great place to start is with your appliances and the small changes that can have a huge impact.
Then, if you’re in the position and have considered or looked into energy efficient homes, an experienced architect and/or builder can help you out with the next steps. It does depend on where you’re based as to what professionals are local to you, but for a trusted architect in the Adelaide region, Brett Aylen Architecture are the people to call.
They can help in the design process and offer energy efficient, custom homes that help you do your part with climate change and save you money in the long run.