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It IS Easy Being Green – Top 10 Green Innovations for Your Home

Solar panels make use of the sun to provide a clean, environmentally sound way to collect energy. Photo courtesy of greenpoweryourhome.com.

Solar panels make use of the sun to provide a clean, environmentally sound way to collect energy. Photo courtesy of greenpoweryourhome.com.

Within the last several years, environmentally sensitive features for homes have become increasingly popular with builders, designers and homeowners alike. As energy prices have increased and the green movement ascended, more innovative, eco-friendly materials, systems and solutions have emerged in many of today’s newest constructions and home designs.

The benefits of creating a green home are many, including lower utility and water bills and a host of tax incentives and breaks. Below are the top 10 green innovations and ideas to help turn any house into a self-sufficient, resource-saving home.

1. Ventilated Foundation – The MODÌ Module Ventilated Floor system is a self-locking flooring form to help create efficient slabs and foundations. This system helps preserve rooms from humidity and Radon gas while reducing the amount of gravel and concrete needed for building foundations.

2. Rain Catching – Emerging and existing companies offer systems that collect, recycle and filter rainwater to be stored in a surface or underground tank. The water is disinfected and the resultant greywater—or wastewater—is used for things such as toilet water, gardening or irrigation. The clean water is suitable for drinking, bathing, etc.

3. Royal FlushThe Perfect Flush by Brondell. This system easily installs in your existing toilet giving a dual-flush button on top of the tank. It works by giving the option for a half flush, thus using 50 percent less water. This water-saving bathroom product is more sustainable than buying a new energy-efficient toilet, performs just as well and can save up to $100 a year in water bills.

4. Smart Surfaces – New, earth-friendly materials for floors and countertops are garnering attention because they mimic the look and feel of other solid-surface countertops. Made from eco-friendly materials like post-consumer recycled paper or plastic resins, these surfaces are a safe alternative that provide comparable strength and durability. Why not stick with natural stone surfaces? Fabrication processes for granite, marble, etc. must be considered for eco-consciousness.

5. Keep Track – The BrightSpark by Econetex is a simple-to-install kit that lets you manage and track your home’s energy consumption. A touchscreen control panel which also serves as a thermostat, three light sockets, a 6-outlet power strip and wall outlets communicate through WiFi to provide the capability to control your appliances from your computer or smart phone.

 

Both beautiful and eco-friendly, bamboo flooring is a great alternative to traditional hardwoods.

Both beautiful and eco-friendly, bamboo flooring is a great alternative to traditional hardwoods.

6. Walk on it –  For flooring, bamboo and palm look beautiful, wear well and grow back much faster than old-growth forest trees. Bamboo is actually a grass, not wood, that produces new shoots each year and grows to maturity every five years, in comparison to the 50 years needed for traditional hardwoods.

7. Keep Warm – Though not a major necessity here in Florida, an eco-friendly way of heating homes is essential in many parts of the country. Fed by a solar heating collector on the roof, radiant heating tubes snake through concrete floors to warm the building’s interior.

8. Clovers – Uniquely shaped solar panels from Armageddon Energy, the SolarClover is designed to be lighter, more flexible, and easier to install than traditional solar panels. The SolarClover system converts solar energy into usable electricity and helps run power at lower voltages than a DC home run would be. Just three SolarClovers on your roof can provide your home with a kilowatt of power. Look for it on the market in 2010.

9. Insulate it – Made from high quality natural fibers, UltraTouch’s Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation provide effective sound absorption and maximum thermal performance, all without the itchiness when handling. UltraTouch contains 85 percent post-industrial recycled natural fibers—scraps from manufacturers—making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to use a premium sustainable building material.

10. Change with the Times – Black surfaces absorb the sun’s heat very efficiently, producing a hot surface. In the wintertime, that can be a good thing for a dark roof. But in summertime, it is definitely a bad thing, making your house hotter and your A/C work harder. To help, a team of recent MIT graduates created Thermeleon, tiles that change color based on the temperature, Hypercolor style. In the cold they turn jet black, absorbing the sun’s warmth and channeling that into the house. In heat they turn white, reflecting that same light and cutting down on cooling bills.

  • User Gravatar Pak Property
    October 16th, 2009

    Its my most favorite topic that i was so excited when i found it and decided to comment first before reading the entire post to regard you, Saving resources and remaining close to the nature is the requirement of almost every home owner, but how ? you have explained very well here . Many techniques such as Thremeleon by MIT are new for me like other readers, all 10 tips are practical not cost too much and give home a fresh and happy look. Thanks John

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