6 Criteria Upon Which To Measure Your Green Home

Nature's Real Estate

6 Criteria Upon Which To Measure Your Green Home

  • Energy use and efficiency
  • Water Use and Conservation
  • Mitigation of the Heat Island Effect
  • Healthy Building – Air Quality and Non Toxic Materials
  • Sustainable Materials and Reduced Ecological Footprint
  • Location – Location – Location; Choose a home in a neighborhood with a great walk and bike score, close to transport and amenities

The home should reflect an excellent quality of interior space, healthy environment, superior energy performance and durability.

Energy Use And Efficiency:

 

  1. Energy efficiency is one of the first things we can measure. There are professional energy auditors that can make recommendations as to how to improve the energy efficiency in your home by sealing leaks, adding insulation or updating inefficient equipment. Depending on your province, there may be programs that offer this service. In the province of Quebec there’s a program called Renociimat. To learn more about the Renoclimat program and possible rebates visit;

http://www.efficaciteenergetique.gouv.qc.ca/en/my-home/renoclimat/#.VXtn6EZGz7g.

 

Some valuable links to learn more about some of the many different programs offered in Canada;

EcoEnergy efficiency for housing by Natural Resources Canada;

http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/offices-labs/office-energy-efficiency/5695

Canada renovation grant programs;

http://www.homeperformance.com/

CMHC Green Home Program;

http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_008.cfm

Grants and Incentives across Canada by province for eco retrofits and geothermal energy programs;

http://www.geosmartenergy.com/home/incentives/254-canada-incentives.html

 

2. Replacing old lighting with LED’s or other equivalent energy efficient models will significantly lower your overall energy use and create savings as the lifespan of LED’s are significantly longer than conventional lighting. Replacing old appliances with Energy Star ones or their equivalent will also translate into lowering the energy footprint. Read this if you want to make better sense of the LED choices out there: http://eartheasy.com/blog/2011/08/led-bulbs-are-ready-to-light-your-home-7-tips-you-should-know/

 

3. Updating or replacing old heating and cooling systems with newer high efficiency systems will pay for itself over time. In some cases, depending on your province, there may be government programs for this in place. To learn more about which provinces and their different programs visit:  http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/energystar/why-buy/14136   and for Quebec –   http://www.efficaciteenergetique.gouv.qc.ca/en/programs-and-financial-aid/

 4. Clean energy alternatives like solar panels or wind turbines, depending on where you live, can provide you with the ability to supplement or generate your own power or even contribute your surplus energy production back to the grid. Elon Musk just recently unveiled his new Powerall system for homeowners. A home storage battery that allows consumers to store the surplus energy that their alternative energy systems produce for use for example in the evening when the sun is not generating energy. To learn more about Elon Musk’s presentation on Powerall visit:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102654345

**In terms of energy and technology, there are a number of new and emerging technologies that are able to produce clean waste to energy solutions such as the one under construction near the center of Copenhagen http://www.fastcoexist.com/3033801/no-one-likes-power-plants-but-they-get-better-when-you-put-a-ski-slope-on-them Facilities like these are currently working on converting traditional landfill type waste, as well as biofuels like ethanol or gazes like methane, into electricity. To learn more visit:

http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/technology/garbage-energy/

To learn more about a company in Terrebonne, Quebec converting landfill gas visit:

http://www.rewmag.com/progressive-waste-montreal-landfill-gas.aspx

           To read more facts about Canadian Energy Production, Efficiency and Initiatives,

           visit;  http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=4622629B-1

Water Efficiency and Conservation:

  1. A very practical and easy to do solution to achieve effective water use as well as energy savings is to change your bathroom water fixtures such as your toilets, bathroom faucets and shower heads with models that significantly reduce the water flow rate while maintaining performance, such as those made by “WaterSense”.

2.  Aside from the potable water we drink, our homes generate something called “greywater” produced by our dishwashers and washing machines. By implementing a greywater system alongside our potable water system, we can recycle our greywater for reuse for toilet flushing or irrigation purposes.

3. Rainwater harvesting is a process or technique of collecting, filtering, storing and using rainwater for irrigation and for various other purposes. To reduce the consumption of groundwater, rainwater catchment systems are growing in use as they are easy to set up. In some instances rainwater can simply drain off into a water barrel. This water can be purified and made into drinking water, or used for daily applications and even utilized in large scale industries. To learn more visit:

http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/Advantages_Disadvantages_Rainwater_Harvesting.php

4. Re-adapting our urban landscape or gardens for less water consumption. Grass is very water intensive to maintain which is why there is a movement to replace grass with native plants that don’t require much water to thrive and thus put less pressure on water supplies.

5.  Choose permeable pavement that reduces storm water runoff. “Permeable pavement is an alternative to asphalt or concrete surfaces that allows storm water to drain through the porous surface to a stone reservoir underneath. The reservoir temporarily stores surface runoff before infiltrating it into the subsoil. The appearance of the alternative surface is often similar to asphalt or concrete, but it is manufactured without fine materials and instead incorporates void spaces that allow for storage and infiltration. Underdrains may also be used below the stone reservoir if soil conditions are not conducive to complete infiltration of runoff.” (Cited from The U.S. EPA)

 http://www.epa.gov/greeningepa/stormwater/best_practices.htm

Mitigating The Heat Island Effect of Our Rooftop and Paved Surfaces

 

  1. Installing more green roofs and vegetation surfaces will lower the temperature and heat effect of our rooftops. More developers are experimenting with creating urban rooftop gardens such as Lufa farms, Green Gotham or the rooftop garden atop the Intercontinental New York Barclay Hotel which even includes an apiary. Green roofs also have the added bonus of energy savings. To learn more visit:

http://popupcity.net/top-5-of-the-greatest-urban-rooftop-farms/

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/photos/urban-farming/#

2. In very hot climates, where you don’t have intense cold weather, installing what is called a “cool roof” system can significantly mitigate the heat island effect which happens when the heat from many urban rooftops keep the warm air trapped in the environment. Cool roofs help keep the buildings cool while lowering the buildings energy use and reflecting sunlight away from the roofs. Cool roofs are a type of light or white colored thick, paint like coating that can be applied to a roof. To learn more about the newest developments in cool roofs visit:

http://phys.org/news/2015-05-super-cool-roof-solution-hot.html

Healthy Homes and Well Being

 

  1. Excellent air ventilation and improved indoor air quality
  2. Use of daylighting and sunshine to lower energy costs and create happier environments
  3. Use of non-toxic – low or zero voc (volatile organic compound) paints and materials

 

Sustainable Materials and Reduced Ecological Footprint

 

  1. Materials that are transparent in their carbon footprint, sourced from local and regional sources have a lower carbon footprint
  2. Use of materials that are reused, recycled or repurposed reducing the production of energy, co2 and waste byproducts that are created with the production of new materials.
  3. If wood is used it is FSC certified – symbol for sustainably harvested.

 

Location – Location – Location

 

  1. Choose a home in a neighborhood with a great walk and/or bike score, close to transportation and lots of amenities like grocery stores and shopping.
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