Green Home Building Tips | Part 4: Save Energy, Save Your Wallet – Reduce your heating bill wi
This is the fourth installment of a five-part series on how to make your green build home as environmentally friendly as possible. Whether you’re building a new green home from scratch, have the help of a sustainable architect or whether you’ve purchased one of Sustainable Design Collective’s eco-friendly green build home kits, this series will provide you with plenty of helpful tips to make your green home a success.
In our previous posts, we looked at various ways that you can reduce the environmental impact of your home, from big-picture factors such as choosing a location to small details like low-energy lightbulbs. In this blog post, we’ll going to take an in-depth look at how to reduce or even eliminate your heating costs through the use of one feature that every green build home should have: a heat pump.
Heat: one of the biggest factors in saving energy and money
The cost of heating our homes is usually the single biggest energy expense for any household. Not only do we have to keep our bodies warm in the winter, but throughout the year we require hot water for baths, showers and for washing our dishes and clothes. To make a huge impact on your energy expenditures and your utility bills, consider installing a heat pump.
Heat pumps come in different varieties. Depending on where you live, you may be able to install a ground-source heat pump, also known as a geothermal heat pump, which collects and transfers heat from the ground for use in your home. These can be very effective, especially if your goal is a nearly zero-energy home.
Other heat pumps can be combined with traditional low-energy furnaces. These heat pumps won’t save quite as much energy as a ground-source heat pump, but are still excellent choices that will reduce your energy consumption, are easier to install than ground-source heat pumps and can be used no matter where you live. An air-source heat pump absorbs heat from the air outside, which is then used to heat your home. There are two types of air-source heat pumps: ‘air-to-air’ and ‘air-to-water’. Like the name suggests, an air-to-air heat pump produces warm air to heat your home. They’re much more efficient than traditional radiators, especially in conjunction with ceiling fans, but they cannot heat your water as well. Air-to-water heat pumps, on the other hand, deliver heat through your central water system and can power your radiators, underfloor heating system and provide you with hot water. These are very effective and low-energy in comparison to traditional heating systems.
Every type of heat pump delivers low heat over long periods of time, so during the winter you may find that your heating needs to be on longer than you used to with traditional heating systems. This is actually a benefit – the heat pumps are so efficient that while they may be turned on for longer periods of time, they’re still saving energy, and a constant, low heat provides a more comfortable atmosphere for your home.
One final point: any heating system is only as good as the insulation in your home! During the construction of your green build home, ensure that effective insulation is installed, not only for walls and roofs but also for water pipes, heating ducts and other places where heat can quickly escape.
In our final installment of our series of green home building tips, we’ll tackle one final major consideration in any construction project: how to minimise and recycle construction waste.