Saturday, February 19, 2011

Green Energy Efficient Sustainable Homes, Buildings and Products


Welcome to the Energy Efficient Sustainable Homes, Buildings and Products Blog in which I will answer questions about going Green.

Please check out the links in this page!

As a builder, developer, inspector, and real estate investor, I understand the importance of various aspects of the real estate industry including houses and buildings and that they are built correctly with special care to detail including the use of every possible modern day Energy Efficient and Sustainable products available. We have torn houses and buildings apart ~ from demolition to remodeling to building new we've seen it all. Of all the things the business of demolition and remodeling has taught me ~ the one thing that has stood out the most over the years is where energy is lost. Whether it be heating, air conditioning, electrical or domestic hot water usage.

As you know, energy efficient sustainable homes, buildings and products are huge today. It is my goal to provide you with information about products that go into the construction of homes and buildings or just simple improvements to your current home or business and some of the terms used today. To that end, I will post information about components, products and subjects which I feel are the basics but pertinent; however, I look at this blog as an open forum.  Therefore, please post your questions/comments here, and I will address them in a timely fashion.

For now, I feel we should begin with an understanding of common terms and language. Lets get started with the following question:

The word green is closely related to the verb growan, “to grow.” It has been used to describe things like plants, the ocean and all things natural to the earth; green is also associated with regeneration, fertility and its connections to nature.

Groups and organizations have taken on the word and the color as a symbol of environmental protection. Scroll down to see other words and terms that are popular and used today.

Here are a few recognizable concerns: global warming, melting glaciers, pollution, energy consumption, unsafe consumer products, unsafe building practices and carbon footprint concerns.

OUT WITH THE OLD:  global warming, pollution, health concerns, energy consumption, sick building syndrome, non-renewable resources and unsustainable approaches.
IN WITH THE NEW: environmentally friendly products, clean air, health awareness, energy efficient products, healthy home environment, renewable resources and sustainable planning. 
Common Terms and Language
  • Green energy is energy that is considered to be environmentally friendly and non-polluting, such as geothermal, wind, solar, and hydro. Nuclear power is also considered a green energy source. Green energy sources are often considered green because they are perceived to lower carbon emissions and create less pollution, thus leaving a smaller ‘carbon footprint’ behind.
  • Solar PV stands for Solar Photovoltaic, which are panels used to create electricity. PV cells convert sun power into electricity.
  • Solar Water Heaters: A solar water-heating system is fairly simple with the solar panel (pipes travel through the panels) typically installed on a roof.
  • Sustainable refers to using, re-using, and conserving natural resources to do the least harm to the natural environment.
  • Sustainable energy is the provision of energy so that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the future. 
  • Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is a measure of how effective doors and windows are in regard to heat gain or loss (new construction).
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are emitted as gases from products like wall paint, furniture, and household cleaning supplies; chemicals are harmful to human health, some are carcinogenic.
  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is the instantaneous measurement of the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner or heat pump.
  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) measures the average cooling efficiency, over the entire cooling season for your air conditioner or heat pump.
  • R-Value is a measurement of heat resistance. The higher the R-value the better the insulation.
  • U-Value is a measurement of heat flow. The lower the U-value the more slowly the material transfers heat in and out of your home.
  • Incandescent lamp glass bulbs - ninety percent of the energy consumed by an incandescent lamp is given off as heat rather than light.
  • Florescent lamp bulbs are up to five times more efficient than incandescent lamps, and last up to twenty times longer.
  • Low-E glazing is a special window coating that helps prevent the warmth inside your house from escaping.
  • Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe situations in which building occupants experience poor health concerns due to VOCs
  • Energy  is the electricity, gas, oil, wind, hydro, solar power that runs home appliances.
  • Energy-from-Waste is the process of creating energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of waste source.
  • Water Power (hydroelectric power) is typically produced by harnessing the force of falling or flowing water to turn a turbine.
  • Wind Power is created by capturing the force of the wind and converting it into electricity, typically using technologies such as wind turbines.
  • Renewable natural resources: Such as solar energy, water, or wood, that is never used up or that can be replaced by new growth. 
  • Carbon footprint: Measurement of the impact our activities have on the environment.