Green Home

Greener Homes Save You Energy Costs

  • by Spotong
  • Apr 25, 2013
  • 405
  • Events
Homeowners need to create energy efficient homes.

Homeowners are becoming aware of the need to create eco-friendly or green homes that help to reduce energy usage and cost, and also fight against global warming which is a big threat to life on earth.

You can create your green home by installing a heat pump and solar energy as a first step towards sustainable living and reducing energy expenditure. Managing Director of Energy Efficient Homes and Businesses, Derek de Bres, cautioned: “You can’t see where your power is being wasted as electricity is not like water.” “If you have a broken tap you can see the water dripping and this prompts you to act. With electricity you just get a bill and wonder what is going on”, says De Bres.

He cautioned that homeowners who don’t change their ways, will land up with their service providers owning their homes or they will be working to service their bills. “Change now and save money, in fact you will be paid to reduce your carbon footprint if you use eco-friendly products”. “You look at our domestic heat pump selling for R10 000.00 and we have a payment plan starting from about R265 or you could put it on your access bond costing you R80 per month.” He says the savings range from R350 to, in some homes, R1 000.00 per month and the result gets better when you understand that to produce one kilowatt-hour of electricity Eskom emits over one kilogram of carbon into the atmosphere. “So you are getting paid to reduce your carbon footprint.”

Homeowners are becoming aware of the need to create eco-friendly or green homes that help to reduce energy usage and cost, and also fight against global warming which is a big threat to life on earth.

De Bres says people need to change their old ways entirely and stop trying to build homes with so many components. If one had a mould or shuttering, they could make a house out of a type of foam concrete. This would be stronger and more energy efficient and you could lose the conventional roofing structures that are not eco at all.

He says there is quite a bit of energy wasted on the manufacturing and transportation of different components such as bricks, tiles and ceilings for a conventional building.

Some Great Tips When Building Energy Efficient Homes:         

  • Choose an architect who understands low energy efficient house design.
  •  Be sure that builders are aware of the low energy aim of your house.
  • Choose trades people that have both knowledge and experience in energy efficiency.
  • Remember many architects/builders don’t go beyond minimum building standards and regulations but minimum isn’t the most efficient.

Minimize Your Heat Loss:

  • Keep your house plan simple and compact – A house that is compact and without extensions will have less heat loss due to the reduction in the external walls and roof area. Remember that single storey houses such as bungalows lose more heat through the roof than two or three storey houses where the rising heat is used throughout the levels before reaching the roof.
  •  External walls should have high level insulation.
  •  Ensure there is good controlled ventilation and draught-proofing.
  •  Your architect can provide energy calculations of expected annual fuel bills.

Maximize Your Solar Heat Gain:

  • Build along the east-west axis – An energy efficient house will capture the free energy from the sun to heat your home and water. Ideally where possible choose a site where your house can face the sun (external blinds can prevent overheating in the summer months) and be sheltered from prevailing winds.
  •  Houses in the southern hemisphere should locate most windows on the north side with reduced window size on the south side. Most windows should face the sun side to benefit from solar gains. However, some windows will have to be on the non-sun side to enable good daylight in all the rooms in your home.
  •  Kitchens and breakfast rooms are mostly used in the mornings, so for houses in the southern hemisphere a north-east orientation will take advantage of the morning sun.
  •  Halls, stairs and bathrooms can be located on the side that doesn’t get much sun as there are less frequently used.
  • Locate living rooms and main bedrooms on the sun facing side.
  • In two storey houses consider having your bedrooms on the lower level (cooler for sleeping) and your living rooms on the upper level further reducing your heating requirements as upstairs gets warmer.
  •  Install energy efficient heating and hot water systems.

When building an energy efficient house, remember that the use of certain materials will also improve the thermal mass of your house by allowing it to slowly absorb solar heat during the daytime and then slowly release this free heat through the night.