Designing Green Homes: How can I easily rethink my home to be sustainable?
The building industry being one of the most polluting sectors, people are trying to find solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. These solutions already exist or are being developed, but they are not yet widespread, even if they are not more expensive. Therefore, how can everyone improve their building performance and reduce their carbon footprint avoiding major construction works.
Using photovoltaic solar panels and solar water heaters
Installing photovoltaic panels is a solution we all heard about, but do you know the slope of the roofs on which this equipment is installed is also essential in order to capture the maximum amount of sunlight.
Here is a link to find the best angle to optimize energy generation with solar panels depending on your location, the season or even the month: https://footprinthero.com/solar-panel-tilt-angle-calculator
Solar water heater or boiler heats up water thanks to the warmth of the sun. A fluid is pumped up to the roof through solar panels and after being warmed it will be pumped down to heat the stored water.
These technologies sometimes make it possible to achieve an energy balance, or even a positive energy balance; this is called a positive energy building.
Heat harvesting system:
Installing geothermal (ground) or air-to-air (outdoor air) heat pumps
Heat pumps are thermodynamic devices that allow heat exchange between two media of different temperatures. They enable a room to be heated or cooled efficiently while remaining environmentally friendly, it can also be used to heat water. Indeed, as heat pumps use the calories present in the air to operate, they consume less energy than traditional means.
If the heat pump is not becoming the most popular form of heating, it is also because its installation is complicated and its cost remains high. However, its use over a number of years makes the investment worthwhile, and state aid encourages its installation.
Building orientation and related products:
Double or triple-glazed windows, louvers or sunshades technologies
The installation of double or triple glazed windows, which let in light but limit heat loss, is a crucial point.
Louvers or sunshades can also limit heat gain in summer (when the sun is high) without hindering it in winter (when the sun is low).
Management of resources (water, air, etc.) and waste:
Sorting, composting, and methanisation, rainwater harvesting
We all know that sorting and composting is important to reduce our carbon footprint but if we want to go further, we can also adopt the waste methanisation method. It is used to recycle organic waste materials into fertilizer or natural gas.
It is also necessary to set up rainwater harvesting systems because it limits the use of drinking water for tasks where it is not needed, for example garden watering, clothes washing, toilet flushing or even car washing.
Planting deciduous trees is also an ecological solution to help regulate sunlight while improving air quality through natural photosynthesis. In summer, the leaves will act as a sunshade and prevent the home from gaining heat, while in winter the absence of leaves will allow maximum light to enter the house and the sun to heat the interior. In Asia, planting trees will act as a sunshade throughout the year but will also during the monsoons help drain water being water retention.
Evergreen trees can be used as external insulation against the cold in winter, on the north side. The vegetation can be used as a cover to keep the heat in winter thanks to vegetated facades.
To learn more: Join Our Event "The Green Real Estate: Beyond Net Zero" on February 9th 2023!