“Green building” homes to be more energy efficient, even energy independent, is something that has really increased in popularity these days, as more and more people are becoming aware of the effects our energy consumption has on the planet, of rising energy expense costs, and even where we get our energy and fuels from. There are a few angles of approach to get at energy efficiency, and truth be told, taking all of these is the best, most efficient way to achieve this goal. What are some of these approaches?
The many ways to be green building a home towards energy efficiency, or indeed, energy independence, can be seen as coming mainly from four major areas – the Sun, the Earth, the Water and the Wind. This almost brings to mind the philosophical elements of the alchemists, Earth, Air, Fire and Water – not too far off, actually, in the alchemy of energy conservation. Of course, dealing with the sun, we have solar power, whether active or passive. Earth would be geo-thermal power, and the other two are even more obvious. Let’s look at geo-thermal…
For green building a home to use geo-thermal energy, a great way to utilize this also takes water into account. Sending simple pipelines of water a few meters underground below the house to be circulated into the home and back underground and back in again, is a superb way to heat and cool your home and its water at the same go. Former US President Bush’s home in Texas utilizes this very same technology, and has for years – many homes up north in Canada do as well. This is a great example of “green building”. Homes that have this type of technology installed can basically run off-grid, as far as air and water heating and cooling.
Solar power, as I mentioned before, can be active as well as passive. The active form uses solar panels, which these days are far more efficient than they were decades ago, and much less expensive as well, and the passive form is usually structured into the green building of the home itself – its overall shape, which way it faces, the window exposure, the use of convection enveloping designs in the structure of the home itself using a “double-hulled” design, and so on. Green building homes with these designs in mind make for a far less impact on our environment, and also aid in the needed erasure of our huge “carbon footprint” we’ve stamped onto the Earth.
Wind and water are other angles of approach, whether you use windmills or waterwheels to generate electricity, or perhaps even both in tandem. These systems often use a battery of a few cells, such as those used in cars, or a single cell such as those used in forklifts, in order to store the energy created for continuous use. Using all of these angles of approach, we can see how green building homes with them all in use can create a totally energy efficient, even energy independent home to live in.