How To Build An Eco Friendly Home On A Budget

Today we have a guest post from Cynthia Booth: Cynthia shares knowledge with the architecture career choice blog; a nonprofit web site dedicated to offer help for beginning designers who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to increase the interest on eco-friendly home design and change the general public perception of energy efficiency.

Architects and Jersey City residents Richard Garber (assistant tutor at Nj Institute of Technology’s University of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in NyC rose to the challenge of constructing and managing the building of a single-family house that’s a genuine evidence of both innovative design and environmental-friendly technologies.

Denis Carpenter recently purchased one small vacant lot and, to accomplish his interest for the environment, wanted a residence that was efficient and very easy to maintain.

What's so exceptional about this home?

  • In the home, on the ground level, radiant heating below the exposed concrete floor gets warm the full bathing room and two bedrooms.
  • In the loft-like 2nd level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, family room and an artfully designed kitchen made with salvaged appliances and cabinetry.
  • Passive a / c strategies like ceiling fans and clerestory windows permit residents to be cool during summer and warm during winter.
  • The roof includes 260 feet square of photovoltaic panels that produce about 2,000 kilowatts of energy annually to a battery stored in the basement.
  • The root have a 2-foot-square area planted with drought-resist to collect rain .

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was constructed in 6 months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Ok now what? How can you completely transform your home into an ecologically-friendly home without spending too much money?

If you're remodeling a home, perform an energy audit first to help you figure out what energy efficiency improvements should and can be made to your home. In this way you'll calculate how much energy your home consumes.

My personal favorite eco-friendly approach is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar signifies that your home's windows, walls, and floors can be developed to collect, store, and distribute power from the sun in the form of heat in the wintertime and reject solar heat in the summer season.

Existing structures can be adapted or "retrofitted" to passively collect and store solar heat too.

These 5 factors constitute a comprehensive passive solar home design:

The Collector - The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

The Absorber - The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

The Thermal Mass - The materials that retain or store the heat produced by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

The Distributor - The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

The Controller - Roof overhangs may be used to shade the aperture area during warm weather or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.


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