What to Know About Residential Sustainable Technology
Sustainability trends are everywhere today. From media to local businesses, it seems as though everyone is urging people to pay attention to their environment and how they can affect it. However, one thing that isn't always so evident is how these trends are affecting the new homes being built or old homes being retrofitted.
Unless people are interviewing the local construction teams in their neighborhood, the overall progress may feel like a mystery. For Kyle homeowners who want to know more, now is a good time to note the larger trends are impacting everything from homeowner's wallets to their larger carbon footprint.
New Materials in Home Building
Not everyone sees how an old Heineken bottle can be turned into a brick or why donated denim makes the perfect choice for sustainable insulation. However, there are trends to turn trash into literal homes today. While it's unlikely the next street over is using shed bark to make their siding or raw sewage to make their bricks, the fad may have more staying power than homeowners think. As companies experiment with new ways to shape these materials, the practical quotient continues to rise. There's every reason to hope that recycled materials will become the new normal (and that they won't require endless energy to produce).
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
With a geothermal heating and cooling system, homes can tap into the stable temperatures deep underground. These systems effectively use the earth as a heatsink, transferring thermal energy back and forth as needed to maintain the proper temperature in the home.
The components stay far out of sight and work much more efficiently than any other option on the market today. In fact, they can decrease energy expenses by as much as 65% each month, saving homeowners big while reducing their impact on the environment.
In addition, these systems have a long lifespan with most parts running for 25 to 50 years without a problem. Even though they have high startup costs, they tend to save homeowners tons of money across their lifespan, providing a good return on investment.
A New HVAC System
Solar panels and geothermal energy both draw from the natural powers of the Earth to make the home comfortable. Rather than using traditional electricity or gas for the air conditioner and furnace, ions can be activated and pumps can be run from below the ground. Panels have become exceptionally energy efficient over the past few years, and they've continually dropped in price as the technology becomes more accessible.
With a geothermal option, homeowners use electricity to pump treated air from the Earth's 60° F core. No matter how the temperature rises and falls outside, owners can count on the core to remain stable. It's 500% more efficient than gas or electricity (despite the fact that it does use some energy to operate the pumps).
The Beauty of Advanced Glass
There are two main types of sustainable glass for residential home building today:
- Low-e glass: This type of glass pushes heat away during the summer while absorbing it in the winter. When 90% of heat can be lost through the windows, this glass minimizes the UV and infrared rays that can come through the home.
- Smart glass: Imagine a type of glass that lowers the heat in a room when more people enter it. As everyone's body temperature heats the room, owners won't have to worry about adjusting the thermostat. This is just one of the promises of glass controlled by Wi-Fi, an invention that could save homeowners up to 25% off their energy bills.
Reflecting the Heat from Above
The temperature of a roof can climb far higher than the temperature of the air outside it, and the last thing a homeowner needs is a roof that's 140° F if they're trying to stay calm and collected. A cool roof has been treated with a type of reflective paint that can lower the temperature by up to 50 degrees to save the homeowner an outrageous air conditioning bill.
Cool roofs aren't just an investment for the homeowner, though - they're an investment in the whole neighborhood. The more traditional roofs there are, the higher temperatures can rise in a city. This is because any kind of smog can trap the heat inside and have a truly negative impact on the entire population. The more builders commit to cool technology, the more comfortable entire cities can become.
Sustaining the World
A sustainable home is one made of recycled or sustainable materials where no energy is used to operate it. This concept isn't as far-fetched as it may sound, especially considering how new technology is being combined with the old. For example, soil and clay can be mixed to create rammed Earth. While this type of building material is inherently susceptible to water damage, sustainable homes can be made with water run-off systems that protect it from the precipitation. Admittedly, these homes aren't popping up all over the country, but that doesn't mean their innovations are being ignored either. We may see construction companies pulling ideas piecemeal to create more valuable properties for future buyers.
Sustainability in construction is still relatively new, but the goal is to bring it to even most traditional of communities. As people see the monetary and environmental benefits, the goal is to use what we have instead of generating more waste in our society.