4 Hacks to Make Your Next Home Greener

There is a huge spotlight on the construction industry when it comes to green initiatives – and rightly so. After all, this is one of the biggest contributors to all of the sustainable problems that the world faces. However, this increased focus does prompt some problems. It can make some people believe that going green in the home is out of the question – and is only going to be achieved through some really costly implementations.

Granted, there are some major infrastructure projects you can invest in if you are building a home, with solar power and ground source heat pumps tending to grab the headlines. At the same time, there are smaller wins – and these shouldn’t be underestimated, such as solid wood flooring. In fact, if everyone was to invest in these, we’d suggest that the typical carbon footprint across cities such as San Diego would drop substantially.

Taking this into account, let’s now take a look at some of the quick, green wins you can succeed with as you bid to make your next home more sustainable.

It starts with the placement of your windows

As we work with our architect in the initial design phase of our project, many of us are more concerned about the size of our bedrooms and so on.

A common afterthought is the placement of windows. Sure, some people might think about this as they consider natural light implications – but it’s time to think bigger.

Let’s not forget that as well as allowing rooms to heat naturally, windows are something that lets warm air escape. It means that their position is crucial, and treating them as an afterthought is asking for a completely inefficient dwelling.

Never forget insulation

In some ways, we were almost tempted not to include this next point. After all, insulation is an old classic when it comes to energy efficiency. It is something that has been suggested for years, mainly because it is incredibly cheap to implement whilst also being very effective.

Of course, it’s always easier to install insulation during the early phases of a project. Try and remember to focus on the roof and walls; this is where most of your heat is lost and is where you can make the biggest difference.

It’s not just about energy; think water as well

A lot of today’s guide has looked at energy, and rightly so. We are also going to dip into a point about water consumption, though.

This is something that often gets forgotten about, but the benefits are substantial. A lot of older, traditional bathroom fittings are anything but efficient – they deliver water at a ridiculous rate, and ultimately waste it.

If you turn to modern-day solutions, you’ll find that you can save gallons every year. Suffice to say, this isn’t just going to benefit your environment, but your pocket as well.

Your roof is crucial

Finally, if there was just one area of your next home to concentrate on, your roof should be up there as a priority. Nowadays, there are all sorts of materials that can help your plight. For example, for those of you who reside in hot countries, you can turn to roofs with reflective paint to deal with the heat somewhat. Green roofs are another solution which are surging in popularity but in truth, the list could go on.

Recommended Green Resources:

Everything You Need to Know About Solar and The Urban Heat Island Effect

As cities grow, open spaces, trees and other greenery, and other naturally occurring surfaces diminish, replaced by concrete and asphalt surfaces. When this happens, the heat absorbed by these surfaces has nowhere to go, and so is radiated and reflected into the immediate surrounding areas. This creates an urban heat island.

This leads to an increase in heat in the immediately surrounding areas, making temperatures a few degrees hotter than the actual weather. This causes discomfort to residents of the area and can also incur damage in the form of heat-damaged structures.

There is also a human cost associated with urban heat islands. Heat-related medical emergencies such as heat stroke become more prevalent in such areas as the heat can go up to dangerous levels. The EPA has taken stock of this phenomenon and is now advising cities to take steps to mitigate it. One such way is the use of Los Angeles solar as a means of making cities cooler and more comfortable to live in.

How does solar minimize this effect?

Cool Roof Strategy

A cool roof strategy is a one that seeks to use heat absorbing and/or dissipating roofing materials and technologies. Typical roofs use materials that either reflect or absorb and radiate back heat. Conversely, cool roofs, like solar, can help absorb sun rays and convert them into beneficial energy.

Solar excels at this because of the way the cells are designed and organized to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight. Solar roofs are also designed to trap this heat rather than radiate it back into the environment, something that can help reduce the amount of secondary heat being released into the environment.

Reduced Construction

When solar roofs are implemented, there is usually a reduced need to construct structures that support the traditional electric grid. Such a scenario can play out in several ways. If a new estate is being built with nothing but solar power, there is a possibility that some open spaces can be retained as fallow ground in places where utility implements would have been installed.

While the gains at this level would be marginal, implementation of this strategy across several thousand estates can help move the needle in reducing the urban heat island effect.

Combination Approach

This approach offers the greatest promise of reducing heat in urban settings. By combining the cool roof strategy with other strategies like green roofing, planting more trees and vegetation, cool paving and general smart city growth, a lot of ground can be covered.

Planting more trees and vegetation will go a long way in reducing heat in urban settings.

All these strategies have one thing in common in that they all absorb and dissipate heat in an efficient and sustainable manner. The EPA recommends these measures, among others, to cities grappling with the urban heat island effect or anticipating it as open spaces and greenery levels go down.

Many cities have a high incentive to deal with this issue because of its effect on residents and visitors to the area. If street-level temperatures are unbearable, it is possible that tourists and potential new residents may shy away from the area in favor of other cooler cities.

Simple Ways to Transform Your Condo Into an Eco-Friendly Space

Global warming and climate change have been at the forefront of news headlines nowadays. This brings to attention the need to protect the environment. When it comes to going green, every step matters and you can do your share with through your condominium unit.

Whether you own a condo unit for personal use or as an investment, you should think about how to transform your space and make it green.  Get started with basic maintenance care when you read this post. Then, incorporate 8 lifestyle changes and remodeling tips listed below to reduce your carbon footprint and make your condo unit eco-friendly.

Parquet wood floors are back in vogue

1. Switch to LED Lights

This is one of the simplest changes that you can adopt into condo living. LED lights are the new standard for modern and eco-friendly lighting at home. If you are still using incandescent and fluorescent lights or lamps, you need to consider getting new LED lights.

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and can last up to 20 years. They are, therefore, a good option to use for condo lighting if you want to minimize your carbon footprint. They are also practical since LED lights are affordable and last a long time, giving more value to your money.

2. Install Eco-Friendly Air Conditioners

The traditional air conditioners are notorious for consuming large amounts of energy that also hike up utility bills. If you want to save on power and optimize cooling within your home, it is best to find eco-friendly air conditioners. It can help you save up to 90% off your current energy bill.

But it is not just your air conditioner that you should consider replacing with eco-friendly ones. Make sure you choose other energy-efficient appliances, too.

3. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Going organic when it comes to your diet is one of the best ways to develop an eco-friendly practice at home. But when you cannot fully commit to altering your diet, it is best to start with the products you use. For example, you can switch to green cleaning products. This will not only benefit the environment but anyone living in your condo as well.

When you use natural cleaning products, you are exposed to fewer amounts of harsh chemicals. The fewer chemicals you use, the less harmful it is to your health. Also, if you have small kids, the use of chemical cleaning products should be a no-no!

The best part is that natural cleaning products are often less expensive than chemical-based ones. If you are not sure which to choose, research on brands that manufacture or specialize in natural cleaning products.

4. Furnish Your Condo with Reclaimed Materials

Have you inherited antiques from your grandparents? Do you have any unused furniture lying around? Instead of opting for new furniture items and accessories to decorate your home with, it is best to opt for those made of reclaimed materials instead. This will help reduce the waste dumped in landfills and maximize the shelf life of these materials. The use of antiques and old furnishings can also add an interesting decorative flair to your home.

Reclaimed wood materials are one of the most common recyclable materials that are used for home and interior decorating. You can repaint them to make them look brand new and fit into your interior décor theme.

5. Spruce Up Space with Plants

The addition of plants to your condo is a great way to enhance its aesthetic appeal. At the same time, add color and vibrancy to interior space. But there is also an eco-friendly benefit to incorporating plants as decoration–it improves indoor air quality.

Some of the plants that act as an air purifier are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Areca Palm
  • Elephant Ear Philodendron
  • Lady Palm
  • Bamboo or Reed Palm
  • Rubber Plant
  • English Ivy

Before you move into your condo, get one or more of these plants for a healthy home for you and your family.

6. Be Eco-Conscious in Your Choice of Kitchen Sink

If you need to renovate your kitchen, make sure to choose eco-friendly sinks.  As the most important part of your kitchen, choose stainless steel or kitchen sinks that are made from copper recycled materials. This will add a modern look while making it eco-friendly. Sinks made of renewable materials are also great options.

Pair it with low-flow faucets to conserve water easily. Another alternative is to install a low-flow aerator with existing taps. This will significantly reduce the flow rate of 4 gallons per minute to just 0.5 gallons. That’s a huge volume of water saved.

7. Invest in a Smart Home System

A smart home might seem like an expensive investment. But when you live in a condo, you will find cheaper systems that will make your life more efficient and eco-friendly, too. A smart home system will adjust the control of various appliances and equipment, such as lighting, heating, and cooling.

With the system in place, control of indoor temperature, lighting, and the like are automated. By adjusting to the optimal level, you won’t waste energy heating or cooling your home. It also helps to ensure that no unused light is turned on (as it automatically turns the light off when you leave a room).

This is a simple step that you can take to transform your condo into an eco-friendly space. While the one-time investment might be big, it can help you save more in the long run (in terms of lower energy bills).

8. Repaint Furniture, Not Replace Them

This is another simple step that you can do if you want to promote sustainability in your condo unit. Does any piece of furniture look old? Is your cabinetry looking a little dated? Don’t throw them away just yet to get new ones!

Make sure you look at the possibility of repainting or re-facing any furniture or cabinets in your home instead of replacing them with a new one. This is true for appliances or furniture that are still in good working condition.

What steps are you taking to make your condo eco-friendly? Why not give these tips and try and let us know what benefits you gained from doing so?

Special Attributes of Fiberglass Insulation

Of all the things we want our homes to provide, comfort is usually at the top of the list. In addition to the beauty and usability of the home, comfort also includes the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature, to keep the air clean and healthy, and to provide safety for your family. The most popular technique for accomplishing all these goals is the use of fiberglass insulation. It has become so widespread that you may be wondering if it is still the best choice on the market, or if it’s simply being used out of habit.

Like any other decision for your home, the choice of insulation materials is an important one that you should consider carefully, so you may be asking a simple question: Is fiberglass the best choice for insulation, or could cellulose or other materials be a better option?

The answer is clear. Contractors and homeowners use fiberglass insulation more because it is the best material for home insulation. Here are six characteristics of fiberglass that allow it to excel where other materials fall short.

Reducing Noise

The primary purpose of insulation is to increase comfort and reduce energy costs by maintaining the desired temperature inside the home, but it provides soundproofing benefits as well. A properly insulated home will have less noise coming in from the outside as well as less noise moving between rooms.

Fiberglass is much more effective at dampening sound than any other material on the market. Reducing sound transfer is important when you live near busy roads or have young children who need quiet sleep time while the rest of the family is still awake, and fiberglass is the best material for those functions and more.

Recycling Material

Natural plant fibers used in insulation are touted for being renewable, and it is true that new plants can be grown each year to manufacture the product. However, insulation made from fiberglass uses a high percentage of recycled material. The recycled content reduces the need to manufacture additional fiberglass while also eliminating the need to dedicate more crop ground and farming resources to the production of source plants for cellulose.

Containing Fire

Perhaps the greatest benefit of fiberglass in the insulation world is its ability to contain fire. Cellulose is a plant-based product, making it a potential fuel in case of fire. Fiberglass itself is fire-resistant, providing a barrier to the spread of fire that increases the time available for your family to escape while minimizing the amount of damage done to your home.

Firefighters can testify to the simplicity of extinguishing a fire near fiberglass as opposed to one that spreads into cellulose blown-in insulation. The fire travels further, does more damage, and requires greater cleanup than fiberglass.

Simple Installation

Fiberglass batts are perhaps the easiest product to install in a home construction or renovation project. They are manufactured in whatever width and thickness is required, and they simply roll out to install in walls, floors, or ceilings. The end result is a faster, cleaner installation. Blown-in cellulose is touted for its versatility in filling any available space, but it is also messier and much more difficult to move out of the way for future repairs or renovations.

Mold Resistance

Indoor air quality is a topic that is receiving a lot of attention these days. We are all alert to the dangers of breathing harmful molds, yet many of us unwittingly foster the growth of these dangerous substances by using cellulose insulation. In a plant, cellulose is meant to transport water, so it should come as no surprise that it will also retain moisture when used in your home.

Fiberglass does not absorb moisture, speeding the process of drying up any water that may find its way into your walls, floors, or ceilings. This makes for a drier and healthier environment.

Lower Cost

Economizing isn’t just about paying less. It’s about getting more value for your dollar. Fortunately, fiberglass does both for you when you are installing insulation. Apart from all the benefits we’ve already discussed, fiberglass costs less. The result is that you get better performance for less money, and that’s getting the best of both worlds with your insulation dollar.

The process of working in your home is full of decisions. Whether you are building a new home, renovating an existing home, or simply doing some upgrades, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the selection of products available for even the simplest steps in the project. Instead of bogging down on the variety of insulation materials, you can make one decision right at the beginning. Choosing fiberglass for your insulation needs will make your home safer, healthier, and more comfortable than any other product can.

Combating Concrete: Alternative and Sustainable Building Materials

Around 5% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by concrete production, so finding sustainable alternatives is essential to slowing down climate change. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials out there which are perfect for mass home construction, without the same ecological damage. If you want to continue to do meaningful things, such as travel the world or live in safe and comfortable accommodation, then finding alternative building materials is the route to doing this sustainably.

Hemp Concrete Substitute

By compacting hemp and lime, it is possible to create a building block comparable to concrete. Unlike concrete, however, hemp absorbs carbon dioxide rather than emits it. This means that during the production process, 1m3 of hemp concrete wall will suck up 165kg of CO2. It is just as durable and robust as regular concrete, but will require cannabis legalisation before manufacture can begin.

Nigerians are building fireproof, bulletproof, and eco-friendly homes with plastic bottles and mud

In countries where the plant is already legal to produce, then the switch to hemp alternative building material should begin immediately. Hemp plastic is an attractive sustainable building material which holds great potential worldwide.

Bamboo and Straw

Wood has long been a popular home building material, but not all plants are equally green. Bamboo has the quickest regrowth time of any plant, meaning that it can be replaced as quickly as it is cut down. It is strong and durable. Meanwhile, straw, when packed tightly, is a perfect eco-friendly insulation material. Together, this makes the most environmentally conscious wooden cabin.

In the debate of manufactured vs modular cabins, the latter tends to be preferred due to its rigidity and durability, while the former is more affordable. By constructing modular bamboo cabins, however, you are able to produce a long-lasting, energy efficient home at a much cheaper cost.

Reused Plastic Waste

The world purchases a million plastic bottles a minute or 480 billion a year. We need to seriously start thinking about how we can reduce our consumption of single use plastics, but also what to do with the waste in the meantime.

One thing that the bottles can be used for is the construction of houses. When filled with sand and stacked together, they form a durable and insulating wall. In some countries, this is being used as a way to bring affordable housing to those living in poverty. It is certainly a creative way to build homes without using more of the Earth’s precious resources.

Final Thoughts

There are so many alternatives to concrete out there. Governments and construction companies need to come together to move towards sustainable building practices. This will help to ensure that everyone has a safe place to call home, while recycling resources and cleaning the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Construction Project Manager – Jobs and Responsibilities

A construction project manager basically coordinates material resources and employee schedules throughout an entire project. This is normally accomplished by using different techniques and determining the scope of the project, the cost of the project, the time that is required from start to finish, and the quality of the completed work. Anyone who works in this field knows that a construction project manager’s day is never the same, as the work is continuously changing as the project progresses.

Construction project managers can work on residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings, or they can work on bridges, roads, and schools. They will hire all the contractors and oversee the work of the architects, engineers, and all the vendors. Depending on the size of the project, a single construction project manager may be in charge, or there may be multiple ones in charge of their own specific sections.

While some construction project managers do not have a degree, it is becoming more common for a Bachelor’s Degree to be required for this position. The degree should be in a construction related field like construction management, civil engineering, or building science, but that may not be necessary if a person has quite a bit of hands-on experience in the field. That same hands-on experience is still necessary though, even with a construction related degree, and it can be earned by working as an intern, craftworker, and even a supervisor at a construction site.

 

Successful construction project managers will continue with their schooling to earn their Master’s Degree, as well as earning their certification for either Associate Constructor, Certified Professional Constructor, or Certified Construction Manager.

One of the first things that a construction project manager will do when they are hired for a job is to create a schedule for the entire project. This schedule will list everything that needs to be done in chronological order, while including the time needed for each item. They may need to make a few changes before the schedule is complete, due to ensuring that everything is finished at the agreed upon time.

Once a construction project manager has the schedule figured out, they will need to determine how many workers they will need and when each one will be needed. This can be tricky, as one small mistake can throw the entire schedule off. Each part of the project will need different workers, as many construction workers specialize in one thing or another. That means that project managers will be hiring painters, plumbers, electricians, drywallers, flooring installers, and numerous other workers to keep each part of the project moving along on time.

As soon as the project begins, a construction project manager must inspect and review everything that is being completed, so that it all meets current building and safety codes and regulations. In order for that to happen, they must explain all the plans and contract terms to everyone who is working on the project. This can be accomplished all at once or spread out over multiple meetings as the project progresses.

Changes are always part of the construction world, whether the client changes their mind on something in the original design or part of that design will not work the way that it was thought. Those changes always need to be documented somewhere and construction project managers need to be the ones that make sure that they are. Changes can be written as revisions or a change order and then approved by all parties.

There is always a need for permits and licensing when constructing a new building and if any are not obtained when they need to be, the construction may not start on time or the work that was completed may need to be torn down. Most construction project managers are well-versed in the necessary permits and licenses that are needed, but if there are ever any questions, they would need to contact the local town or city board for the proper answers.

While a good part of a project manager’s day will be spent supervising all the workers, they will also need to complete paperwork and track all the progress and costs. This is necessary so that they can stay on budget and on time, but it is also something that the clients like to keep an eye on as well. This is also an excellent way to see how delays have affected the schedule or how future delays could jeopardize the entire project.

The quality of a construction project should always be high and project managers are in charge of ensuring that quality control programs are in place. This can be as simple as doing in-house inspections routinely. Those inspections can also show if there is any damage or ways that an accident can happen and how those can be prevented.

A construction project manager has quite a bit to do each day, but thankfully, due to the use of computers, they can easily do some of their work wherever they are. They will also have everything that they need at any time, since they can easily access that information from their smartphone or laptop.

Every project manager needs to be organized and a quick thinker, but those who choose this profession thrive in the hustle and bustle of their everchanging workload.

By GenieBelt – real-time construction app, which helps to manage multiple projects with ease.

Why Going Green is the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Community

As we go about our daily lives, it’s always a good idea to think about how we can contribute to the community we belong to in tangible and appreciable ways. Improving our communities from the inside not only allows us to make things easier and more convenient for ourselves, but also for the people we meet and rely upon in our day-to-day. Besides this, it also helps us think of other people’s needs rather than just our own—an essential need if we’re to live happy and productive lives. One of the best ways of improving our communities is, of course, going green: the act of adopting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. This means taking active steps to minimize our carbon footprint and reducing waste.

It doesn’t have to start out big—we can start with the smaller things, and work our way up from there. Instead of buying new printer ink cartridges, for example, we can try using compatible ink cartridges instead. These are ink cartridges that are made the same way as new printer ink cartridges, but cost way less to make than branded ones. Instead of throwing away our old or obsolete electronics and electrical goods, we can look into getting them repaired. Another example of that is to refurbish old drones instead of buying new.

By taking up these eco-friendly practices, our communities will become cleaner, more energy-efficient, and much healthier places to live in, alongside other very practical and tangible benefits that everyone will appreciate.

Not convinced? Well, hopefully listing out those benefits in full below will convince you. Read on as we go through all the biggest reasons why going green is the best thing you can do for your community.

A healthier community

Enacting green and eco-friendly practices in your community will have the immediate effect of making it healthier for the individuals who live in it, enabling them to live longer, happier, and more productive lives. This can be considered as the most important benefit, seeing as we can tie so many health conditions and diseases to having an environmentally-negligent lifestyle. By going green, you can avoid these potential risks from taking hold in your community.

For example, recycling and minimizing trash or garbage helps makes your immediate surroundings cleaner and more attractive to look at. This causes disease-carrying pests such as insects and rodents to be driven away from your community, which then results in less people catching those diseases.

Another example is having the vehicles in your community switch to more eco-friendly fuel types will result in cleaner and healthier air, as well as reduce the chances of children and the elderly from getting respiratory diseases. Many companies like popgear use recycled material in their clothing. These and a whole lot more are attainable by going green.

Savings on utility bills and other expenses

One of the main tenets of going green is to be conservative when it comes to the usage of utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and so on. It goes without saying that using too much of these obviously strains the environment.

For example, the excessive and unnecessary use of electricity when it’s clearly not needed increases the power demand from power plants, which in turn increases the amount of fuel being used to supply that energy. This uses up our remaining fossil fuels at an alarming rate, while also depositing more pollutants into the atmosphere and environment. The same goes for gas and other utilities.

By being smarter and more conscious about using these precious resources in our homes, we can reduce the impact we have on the environment by quite a large degree. It will help ease the strain our environment is currently experiencing in providing us these resources and ensure that they don’t run out as quickly as they would have if we continued being unnecessarily wasteful with our usage.

Besides this, conserving energy and resources also helps us save on our utility bills. Obviously, the less power, water, and gas we use in our day-to-day, the less we’ll be charged when our monthly bills come in. Up to 20% of expanses per household, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, are saved, especially if we adopt changes such as using solar panels rather than relying on our electrical grid. This is a huge chunk of money no matter how you slice it!

Durable and stronger homes and and structures

Let’s not mince words about it: eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious “green” products are more expensive than the brands that have an easier time fitting into our budget. However, we must consider that the former is also much more durable than the latter, which will inevitably result in a lot of savings in the long run.

This can be seen the most in construction building materials, especially those involved in the building and repair of homes. For example, recycled decking, which is made from recycled plastic and wooden fibers, have been tested to last five times longer than traditional decking.

Bamboo, a self-sustaining perennial grass that can grow up to three feet in 24 hours, is lighter than most building materials and yet has greater compressive strength than brick and concrete. The best part about it is that it grows faster than it can be harvested, meaning that there’s no danger of running out of it anytime soon, no matter how extensively it’s used.

By creating your community’s homes and structures using these eco-friendly materials, you can help save the environment while also ensuring that the homes and shelters will last for as long as they’re needed.

A self-sufficient community

It’s a fact of life that we have to rely on big companies to get us the modern conveniences and essentials we need to get through the day. However, by going green, we can help reduce our reliance on them and become more independent in our lives.

For example, taking the initiative to install solar panels in every home in your community will allow it to become less dependent on the power that companies provide you with electricity. With enough time, your community will be generating enough excess power that the same company will be paying you for that excess. There’s also the fact that if something goes wrong with the power plant, your community won’t be subjected to the same annoying and disruptive blackout that other surrounding neighborhoods will be, as you’ll have enough solar power to last you the entire time.

college-green

Let’s say you’re not quite at that level yet, in terms of going green. How about supporting your local markets rather than your nearby supermarket? By doing so, you ensure that the food-growing sector of your community continues to earn a living while also retaining the ability to keep growing natural and organic produce. Doing so also cuts down on harmful emissions, as you won’t have to travel by car just to get the fresh food you need. Your community retains its independence while helping the environment.

Conclusion

There are many ways to improve one’s community from the inside, with one of the major and more effective ones being able to adopt eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious practices. By doing so, not only does the community benefit hugely in the end in terms of health, sustainability, and independence from big companies, but the environment as well.

Toyin-Ann Yerifor on Passive Houses

Green building concepts have come a long way. As architects, designers, and builders gain access to better tools that help push the limits of construction energy efficiency; we see longer strides made towards more mainstream adoption of green building standards. One such standard that is coming of age is passive houses. The concept of passive houses was first mooted in the early eighties when the idea of green building was still in its infancy. Today, the concept is well entrenched with over 25,000 houses and buildings across the world qualifying as passive houses.

Image Source: https://www.habitechsystems.com.au/passive-house

We recently caught up with Toyin-Ann Yerifor, an architectural consultant focused on exploring new and innovative ways to design with reduced impact on the environment to explain what passive houses are and their benefits. She holds an MSc in Architecture (AEES) from the University of East London, an MBA from the University of Northampton and an MSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the Université Grenoble Alpes.

What is a Passive House?

First, what is a passive house? Toyin-Ann explains: A passive house is any building that adheres to rigorous energy efficiency standards. The term passive comes from the fact that the building’s energy efficiency comes from its passive structures, which include the roof, walls, windows, doors, and floor. By radically improving the building’s insulation and energy conservation features, it is possible to reduce its heating requirements by up to ninety percent. As such, passive housing as a standard is focused on helping reduce the energy requirements of buildings through insulation, and by extension, their overall energy footprint.

When you reduce a building’s energy footprint, says Toyin-Ann, several benefits accrue, including environmental, health, and cost efficiency benefits.

Environmental Benefits of Passive Houses

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “energy efficiency is the first fuel of a sustainable global energy system. It can mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and grow economies while delivering environmental and social benefits.” Passive houses deliver on this mandate superbly, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. One of the biggest challenges traditional buildings face is energy loss. When a building easily loses energy in the form of heat, it takes burning more fuel to heat the building. When this happens, overall energy consumption goes up, which is bad for the environment because a major portion of heat generation comes from burning fossil fuels. When buildings are radically energy efficient, on the other hand, less energy is required, and so fewer fossil fuels need to be burned.

While this is the macro view of the environmental benefits of passive houses, are there any micro benefits of investing in this technology? Here are two, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. First, think of the air quality that comes with less energy consumption. In homes that rely on furnaces, doing away with the furnace improves the air quality in and around the home significantly. Second, sound pollution is eliminated if you no longer need to use a furnace, HVAC units around the home, or any other heat generation and management devices. Essentially, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor, passive houses reduce the need to burden the environment. Through radical energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, passive house buildings become a part of the environment and not just an addition to it.

Health and Comfort Benefits

When most people hear about passive houses, they imagine living in a sealed paper bag. That thought can be quite disheartening because issues of quality of air, air adequacy, and comfort come to mind. Although the idea behind passive houses is energy efficiency through a tightly sealed envelope (building), this does not mean health and comfort are compromised. Take air quality, for instance. Most people consider opening a window the best way to guarantee air quality in a room. Now, passive houses rely on closed windows to ensure no heat escapes, which presents a dilemma. Passive houses address this dilemma well, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.

Although you can open a window in a passive house, even if you do not, the heat recovery ventilation system ensures there is enough quality air circulating the house. Regarding comfort, passive houses maintain a comfortable temperature regulated by the passive heat sources in the house like appliances, body heat, and lighting. Also, they tend not to have cold spots or hot spots, which is often the case with traditionally heated homes. Through rigorous design standards afforded by tools such as the Passive House Planning Package, homes built on the passive house standard adhere to comfort standards as rigorous as the energy efficiency standards stipulated.

Cost Efficiency Benefits

Cost efficiency is at the heart of the passive house concept. When a building is exceptionally well insulated, it can use as little as 10 percent of its regular heating energy requirements. This, of course, also significantly reduces the costs associated with heating the building. So, how does the passive house concept achieve such a radical reduction in energy needs? The answer is insulation, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. Passive houses rely on extensive insulation to gain this level of energy efficiency. Why is insulation so effective?

Traditional buildings lose a lot of heat through the roof, walls, floor, doors, and, most of all, windows. With a passive house, each of these structures is carefully designed and built to ensure close to zero loss of heat. When you look at the thermal scan of a passive house next to a traditional house, you’ll notice the passive house is almost entirely blue, meaning there’s close to no energy loss. The other building is close to all red, meaning it is losing a lot of energy. This level of energy conservation and efficiency is what leads to the massive energy savings that make passive houses so cost-efficient.

Passive houses are a concept that is yet to hit mainstream construction. However, this does not mean it is impractical to build passive houses. What it does point to is the need for better awareness of the concept. Toyin-Ann Yerifor recommends anyone interested in the concept to visit a passive house showcase home to experience its benefits firsthand. She says this is the only way to understand and internalize this breakthrough energy efficiency concept.

The Eco Revolution in Property Investment

Many of us are now making more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions every day. Whether it’s taking our own carrier bags to the shops, having a reusable water bottle or recycling your tin cans – little changes are making a big impact. When it comes to property, the eco revolution has increasingly been making waves. From solar panels to energy efficient lightbulbs, our properties are becoming better for the planet. These priorities are also affecting property investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly essentials in their property.

Eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular with a new environmentally conscious generation starting to look for rental properties. Young professionals who are living in the city are less likely to buy a home than ever before, so are looking for a rental property that meets their exacting requirements. With many of them choosing to make environmentally friendly choices, like going plastic free or cutting down on how much meat they eat, accordingly they are looking for eco-friendly homes too.

Environmental impact is increasingly on the agenda of consumers in every aspect of their lives. Many are also willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly purchases. Research has shown that UK consumers would pay an average 10% more if they were buying something they thought had a positive impact on society. Property investors would be wise to bear this in mind when looking for new property investments. In an increasingly competitive rental market, the ability to raise prices because of eco credentials is a lucrative option for investors.

Furthermore, 40% of consumers think that sustainability is important when they are making a purchase. The impact of this can be seen in the growing number of brands and businesses that are making their environmental commitments obvious to consumers. It is clear that savvy property investors can be both environmentally friendly and business smart when looking to purchase new properties.

In another study, 80% of tenants believed that their landlords should be considering the environment more, and suggested measures like double-glazing, insulation and eco-modifications. These simple measures can make a large impact on the appeal of a property to prospective tenants. Increasing energy prices are another concern for occupants. In addition, 55% of renters asked said they would prefer a rental property with a smart meter if it was the same price. Energy efficient measures are both good for tenant’s monthly costs and for the environment so buy to let property investors can be at an advantage if their property offers these.

As of April 2018, buy to let landlords are legally required to have an EPC rating of E or above in their properties. This means that property investors are increasingly looking at new build properties which are already energy efficient and don’t require costly renovations. Tenants can also legally request that a landlord makes property improvements if the EPC rating is F or G.

Developers are increasingly taking sustainability and environmental impact into consideration when building new properties. Properties with energy efficient specifications, like many by RW Invest  are providing investors with lucrative returns and high tenant demand. Recent changes to regulation mean that new build properties need to be energy efficient and this is making a huge impact on the buy to let market.

The trend towards environmentally conscious properties looks set to continue, with eco-friendly qualities high on the agenda of both potential tenants and investors.

Things to Consider For Your Roofing Project

Getting a new roof can sometimes be a very exciting experience. Your pets and kids can watch what’s going on in awe as they look at the professionals ripping, hauling, tearing and nailing things. They might just even be tempted to once in a while get as close as to the action as they possibly can. However, that’s, of course, extremely dangerous and you should keep careful watch over your children when all this is going on. Anyway, there a lot of things you need to think about before taking on a roofing project. Here in below are a few of them.

  1. Go top shelf

If you don’t want to have roofing as something you need to think about again for a very long while, as well as give your place a few additional selling points when it comes time to move then you might want to consider going for high-quality products.

Selecting the right choice of roofing for your building involves picking the right roofing products. Things like copper flashing should be what’s running through your mind. If you didn’t know, well, it happens to be the most durable metal material used for sealing those joints where a wall meets the roof or a roof meets another roof.

  1. Communication is the Key

Lack of proper communication is what makes most projects fail. This is exactly why you need to always make sure that you’re communicating enough with the contractor you’ve chosen to go with.

If the contractor you’ve chosen is not the type that follows up with you during the project unless you specifically ask them to, then you might want to seriously think again and get one that truly cares about being responsible. Good quality contractors are the ones that keep you updated every step of the way.

  1. Shop around

Some roofing professionals don’t really care much when it comes to customer satisfaction because replacing roofs is often like a once-in-a-decade job or so. This means that they rarely rely on repeat business to keep them going, much less profitable.

Furthermore, most homeowners normally pick their roofers based on price, and a lot of these roofing contractors employ low-wage laborers ensure the lowest possible bids are what they deliver. All in all, be very careful with whom you decide to go with. Get yourself some trusted references from family, friends and neighbors and also check different manufacturers’ websites for certified installer lists.

  1. Play close attention to all the paperwork

Quick jobs like these, which usually takes around two to five days to complete, depending on the roof’s size and style, involve tremendous amounts of money as well as liability. Ensure you understand all the essential documents required for this process to be successfully accomplished. One of the said documents includes the building permit which many towns require if you want to undertake a roofing project.

Your roof is arguably your house’s most important component. Without it can a house really be a house? After all, it’s what keeps the water out of the building during the rain. Even though no one really likes having to replace their roof, the aesthetic and critical function it serves is undeniable and can help reduce the pain you feel when having to spend all that money.