The term green home refers to any type of house that is designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Green manufactured homes will often focus on the efficient use of building materials, water, and energy. Green homes are environmentally friendly because they generally produce less waste than traditional homes, use less water and energy, have improved indoor air quality and are oftentimes constructed using sustainable, recycled, or used materials. There are various kinds of certifications from “green” organizations that can be obtained that will declare a house as a green home. One such organization is the US Green Building Council.

Energy Efficient Home Design

When designing a new home or planning to remodel an existing one, it is important to keep energy efficiency in mind. During the planning process, renewable energy systems should be looked into. These systems can provide water heating, space heating and cooling, and electricity. With an energy efficiency remodel, or green modular home, the first step in planning is to have a home energy assessment or audit conducted. This will help to figure out how much energy is used in a home, prefab home or green modular home, and determine how to cut both energy use and costs.

Whole House Systems Approach

The whole house systems approach to remodeling or building a new energy efficient home ensures that all interactions, details, and variables that effect energy use in the home are taken into consideration. Some of the things considered with a whole house systems approach include site conditions, occupant behavior, climate, appliances and home electronics, lighting, windows and doors, water heating, space heating and cooling, and insulation and air sealing. Having an energy audit will help with the whole house systems approach to designing an energy efficient home.

Passive Solar Home Design

In a passive solar home design, the climatic and site conditions are taken advantage of to provide cooling in the warm months and heating in the colder months. Passive solar home design will use climate and site conditions to determine window and door placement to prevent overheating in the summer and overcooling in the winter. A passive solar home that is well designed will reduce the cooling and heating loads of a home through energy efficiency and then meet those reduced loads in part or in whole with the use of solar energy. When designing a passive solar home it is important to work with professionals that have experience in energy efficient construction and house design.

Energy Efficient Home Features

Homes can be designed with many different features that make them energy efficient. Effective insulation is one such feature. When climate appropriate insulation is properly installed in walls, attics, and floors, it will result in even temperatures and less energy consumption. Energy efficient windows are another important feature of energy efficient homes. These windows will often have protective coatings and frame assembly that helps to keep in heat during cold months and keep heat out in warmer months. Efficient heating and cooling equipment can also be installed. These systems use less energy and tend to be quieter. Lighting and appliances are other types of energy efficient home features. Products such as lights and appliances that carry the ENERGY STAR label provide energy savings. Finally, tight construction and ducts are another important energy efficient home feature. Making sure that holes and cracks are sealed will help to reduce drafts, dust, pollen, moisture, and even noise. Well sealed homes will also have improved indoor air quality.

Other Ways to Go Green in and Around the Home

  • 22 Little Ways to Go Green – A list of different simple green home ideas and ways to go green around the home, including information on green prefab homes.
  • Easy Energy Conservation Tips – A list of 7 easy ways to save energy and in turn save money at home.
  • Energy Efficient Landscaping – Great information on energy efficient landscaping options, includes diagrams.
  • 10 Easy Ways to Go Green – Green home plans don’t have to be hard; read about 10 easy ways to make a home more energy efficient, or how you can find modular green homes in your area.
  • Go Green: What You Can Do – Information on retrofitting your home to increase energy savings and energy efficiency.
  • Green Links in the Home – Thanks to Michelle and her team for promoting eco-friendly buildings and real estate!