There’s nothing to tell the passerby that the Green Home is any different from the other bungalows on the street.
At the cutting edge of low-energy housing design and construction, these homes might be just like any other frame model, featuring a built on garage and a peaked roof over a nice front porch. The yard may be nicely landscaped with most likely a little deck out back for weekend barbeques. But that’s where the similarities end.
The Green Home is another weapon in our battle against Global Warming. It uses one-fifth the energy gobbled up by houses built to National Building codes, and that means while a neighbour might use as much as 50,000 kWh of electricity in one year, about half for space heating and another tenth for hot water, the Green Home will only use about 7,500 kWh, at a cost of $400 annually. But how is it possible that these homes that are helping us battle Global Warming are so much more energy efficient than their neighbours?
Consider the walls. Many feature a ‘double wall’ system which are 12 inches thick and insulated with R-40, with R-60 in the ceiling. That is roughly three times the usual building standard!
Cutting down on the lighting levels is another feature of the Green Home. This changes the nature of the lighting. Lamps, typically used in residences, utilize incandescent bulbs.
These bulbs have remained virtually unchanged in design and composition since it was invented simultaneously by Sir Joseph Swan in England and Thomas Edison in the US, and are unfortunately, the least energy-efficient models possible.
The latest innovation, the compact fluorescent bulb, is actually a compacted fluorescent tube that can be screwed into sockets designed for incandescents.
They use a fraction of the electricity.
Consider the Exit signs we see in theatres, restaurants, hotel corridors, and other public areas. One 7-watt compact fluorescent could replace both the incandescent bulbs in each for an annual saving of $34.50 a sign. Multiply that by the number of incandescent bulbs you can imagine are used in these signs across North America and the positive effects on energy conservation and Global Warming are apparent.