Reducing the environmental impact of your new project or home, is becoming an increasingly important step, as we continue contributing to global warming and approaching the depletion of fossil fuels. Australian households are responsible for one fifth of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, according to the Department of the Environment website. To reduce the carbon footprint of a house, a combination of good design, behaviour that focuses on energy conservation and the use of renewable energies and/or energy efficient technologies is needed. Some of these technologies will be covered in this article to help you select the most suitable options for your next project or home.
Good design, whether that is for increased natural lighting itself or reduced heating/cooling, can greatly reduce energy consumption in projects. The use of LED or CFL lighting can also reduce energy consumption, as well as being a longer lasting solution. Switches and controls can also form an important part in eliminating unnecessary energy waste.
Cooling and heating:
From geothermal systems, to fans and gas heating, there is plenty of different systems you can choose for your development to better suit your needs. Most importantly, passive design is crucial and cannot be substituted by implementing renewable energy technologies. Through good design, keeping heat in or out of the property in the right season, can greatly reduce energy consumption. The Australian Government website YourHome has some good tips on how to efficiently plan your development and a brief description of the technologies at hand.
Hot water systems:
There is two main types of water heating systems: storage systems and continuous flow. Storage systems can be combined with renewable energy systems to reduce energy consumption, by using a gravity feed tank, heating through photovoltaic systems or solar heating. The problem with storage systems is that they loose a lot of the energy used to heat the tanks through heat dissipation, whereas the continuous flow system only heats the water needed and to the temperature needed.
These systems are becoming increasingly popular and price competitive with electricity extracted mostly from fossil fuels. They can also be incorporated to other energy efficient devices, to increase their green energy efficiency. Downsides to photovoltaic is the need for a battery to store the energy extracted from the sun and the dependance of sunny days to supply the property with green energy, but combined with on demand grid electricity, it can be a very efficient source of energy.
The smart home:
Last but not least, the great advances of technology have brought to us the home automation devices that can greatly reduce energy waste. There are many of these on the markets today, from smart bulbs to smart thermostats, that allow you to easily control all your connected devices through an app or website from anywhere you are. You can set timers and geofencing patterns that will automate the way you interact with appliances, lights, etc, to reduce you carbon footprint.
The cost of installing most of these technologies has now days become comparable to the price of running electricity from the grid, through the lifespan of the devices. So there is no excuse for implementing these technologies and design considerations when building your new home or project. Leave us a comment or contact us if you would like more information on any of these technologies or how to implement them.