It’s more than bamboo floors and low-VOC paint. A green home contains a collection of design elements, materials, and equipment assembled with careful attention to detail.
The global economy is about to enter the zero-energy generation. Over the next 2 decades, residential buildings will evolve to a point where they generate as much energy as they consume over the course of a typical year. Because it is generally less expensive to conserve energy than it is to generate energy, this “net-zero” energy approach starts with the outside shell: floors, walls, and ceilings. It’s like an overcoat and requires as much insulating value as can be accommodated in the walls, ceilings, and floors. Air leakage must be restricted as much as possible by sealing every opening, crack, and penetration with caulk, gaskets, or expanding foam sealant. Windows lose 7 to 10 times more heat than walls, so the windows must be oriented to maximize or minimize heat loss and solar gain as appropriate to the local climate and building design. The building shell has no moving parts and should last the life of the house, so it pays to make it as efficient as possible at the outset.
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