10 money-saving tips for a green home

September 7, 2018 by  
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With more and more people becoming mindful about the environment, there has never been a better time to make your home greener . Not only does making your house more sustainable contribute to a better world, but it also puts money back into your pocket. Here are 10 ways in which you can turn your home into an environmentally friendly space. 1. Save Water We usually think about sustainability in terms of energy savings, but being environmentally minded also means taking a closer look at water consumption. There are plenty of ways you can save water around the house, and some of the methods require no investment on your part. For example, avoid running tap water while you are brushing your teeth, and only do laundry and run the dishwasher when you have a full load. Beyond changing your daily routines, you can drastically cut down on water consumption by investing in a low-flow shower head. These energy-efficient shower heads can save around 160,000 liters every year, depending on the size of your family. You should also check your home for any leaks, including running toilets and leaky faucets. Not only do these waste water, but they can also drive up your monthly water bill. 2. Choose Green Lighting Eco-friendly light bulbs are nothing new, but they have only recently started trending with homeowners. Nowadays, companies offer a slew of energy-efficient light bulbs, so finding the right match for your home is easier than ever. These bulbs use less electricity but are just as bright as their traditional counterparts. They also have longer life spans, which means you will spend less money on replacements. If you opt for smart lighting, you can program your lights to further optimize their energy consumption. Smart lights can be programmed to switch on and off automatically whenever you are close to the house. 3. Harness Solar Power Investing in solar power is one of the best ways you can make your home greener. Solar panels are made from photovoltaic materials and use sunlight as an energy source. The electricity generated by the solar panels can be used to power multiple devices in your house, from lighting to appliances — and it is all provided free from the sun. While the initial investment is high, you can earn back your money in energy savings. It’s also important to keep in mind that you are helping the environment by depending less on traditional energy sources. Related: A brighter energy — the practicalities of solar power 4. Set a Smart Thermostat Heating your home takes a lot of energy. Why not maximize that energy by installing a smart thermostat? These devices are easy to program and maximize the use of your home’s HVAC system. You can even program them to turn on and off during certain times of the day. For example, a smart thermostat can start warming up the house right before you come home and lower the temperature when nobody is around. This helps save energy by running your furnace more efficiently than ever, which ultimately saves you money. 5. Close the Gaps Caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows wear down over time. When those seals break down, spaces open up and allow outside air to come inside. This makes your HVAC system run harder to heat and cool your home throughout the year, consuming more energy. You can seal up those pesky gaps with new weather stripping around doors and windows. These foam strips are easy to install and can save you hundreds in your energy bill every year. 6. Recycle Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Some cities will even pick up your recycled goods with the regular trash. The key is to remember to recycle while you are throwing things away. To help facilitate this, install recycling stations in at least two parts of your home. You might even find free recycling bins from your local waste management center, making it easy to start recycling. If you already recycle, take things to the next level by creating a compost pile for food scraps. Not only are you saving these materials from the landfill, but you can use the compost for your garden next year. 7. Check Insulation A correctly insulated attic is important in regulating the temperature of your home. If your attic is not adequately insulated, air will escape through the roof and make your HVAC system run harder. Installing new insulation in your attic is not cheap at first, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run. Some locations will even give you tax rebates for insulation, so double-check the codes in your area before installing. You can also consider adding an attic fan to your home, which can help circulate air in hot and cold weather. 8. Collect Rainwater Collecting rainwater is a great way to take advantage of what nature provides. A good thunderstorm can provide upward of 300 gallons of water, all of which can be stored in water barrels. You can use the stored water for gardening or drinking during the dry seasons. This helps save on the amount of water you consume every month and puts money back in your pocket. It also prevents rainwater from washing pollutants down your city’s sewer system and ultimately dumping them into larger water sources. Be sure to check your city codes for regulations on rainwater collection. 9. Fix Water Heaters A water heater uses a lot of energy to provide hot water throughout the home. You can increase the efficiency of older units by wrapping them in insulation. You can also turn down the heater a couple of degrees to save energy. But if your water heater is in need of a replacement, consider buying a tankless one. These units only work when you need hot water and run off electricity, making them a perfect option if you have solar panels installed. Their lifespan is also considerably longer than traditional water heaters, which means less waste for the landfill. 10. Avoid VOCs Volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) are terrible for the environment and bad for your health. These compounds, which are common in cleaning products and house paints, can irritate respiratory systems, cause nausea, headaches and other health issues. Avoid these products by opting for low-VOC or zero-VOC cleaning chemicals and household paints, which are becoming more common around the country. Images via Joe Shlabotnik , Haley Neal , Michael Coghlan , Barb Howe ,  Roger Mommaerts , Lindalnpijn , Achim Hering , Tony Webster , Yoann Siloine , Dmitri Popov , Spencer Means

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10 money-saving tips for a green home

This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

September 7, 2018 by  
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Green design has touched every aspect of our world, and now even our little furry friends can play their part in living a sustainable lifestyle. Californian firm  Studio Schicketanz has designed a sustainable dog house made with eco-friendly materials that boasts some pretty incredible features. The timber canine cottage has a side green-carpeted ramp that leads up to the green roof , which is installed with a motion-activated water faucet and irrigation system. The architects created the dreamy dog house to be both functional and sustainable. The design was inspired by the firm’s focus on creating “landscape, architecture and interior design with a focused emphasis on livability.” Related: Y-town recycled old refrigerator into a dog house for adopted pup The main volume of the dog house is a traditional box shape with a slightly slanted roof. Inside, the sleeping space is equipped with a built-in floor drain for easy cleaning. Additionally, there is a solar-powered fan that keeps the canines cool during the day. Doggies can also keep an eye on any visitors thanks to tiny peekaboo windows on either side of the home. On the exterior, a hidden compartment stores toys, treats and additional accessories. A green-covered ramp leads up to the green roof, which was integrated into the design to encourage dogs to enjoy some fresh air from the comfort of their own personal space. Adding to the dog’s comfort is a motion-activated water spout on the roof to keep the precious pooches well-hydrated while they people watch from above. To reduce water waste , the drinking fountain is connected to an irrigation system. Related: How to build a green dog house The eco-friendly dog shelter will be on display at the Carmel Canine Cottages Competition from September 11 through September 15. After the event, the structure will be auctioned off, with all funds going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). + Studio Schicketanz Via Apartment Therapy Images via Studio Schicketanz

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This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool

Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

May 18, 2018 by  
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Though bitcoin ‘s value may rise and fall dramatically, the energy required to produce bitcoins seems to be ever on the rise. Researchers estimate that the bitcoin network may consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of energy , the equivalent of the electricity required to power Austria. If the value of bitcoin continues to rise, the entire bitcoin network may one day consume up to five percent of the world’s energy. A new study published in the journal   Joule  predicts that bitcoins use up to half a percent of the world’s total energy supply. Critics question the study’s assumptions and claim a lack of sufficient evidence to determine future bitcoin energy consumption with such precision. Regardless, bitcoin’s rising price could come with significant environmental costs. The bitcoin network primarily consumes energy through “mining” of the cryptocurrency, which occurs by running a computer program and time-stamping bitcoin transactions. These transactions take place on the blockchain, the networked account system behind cryptocurrencies. “The main problem is that the energy consumption primarily relates to how agreement on the underlying blockchain is reached,” blockchain specialist and study author Alex de Vries  told Gizmodo . “Mining makes it a big competitive lottery where the winner — every 10 minutes — gets to create the next block for the blockchain. The built-in reward for this process is fixed, so it motivates participants to constantly add new machines to the network to get a bigger slice of the pie — the more computational power, the more you win.” Related: Bitcoin mining powers Canadian man’s innovative aquaponic garden In his study, de Vries focused on determining the cost of maintaining the network after bitcoin mining becomes unprofitable. “In essence I’m taking an economic point of view to figure out where energy consumption is heading. Previous work typically looked at available hardware, and produced results that only said something about the current consumption,” de Vries said. “My findings were based on the current conditions, so bitcoin doesn’t need to increase in value for the conclusion to hold.” Some experts disagree with de Vries’ methods and conclusions. “A major limitation of de Vries’ model is that it depends on guessing bitcoin’s future price as well as the cost of electricity to miners,” bitcoin investor  Marc Bevand told Gizmodo . “In the paper he assumes bitcoin maintains its current level at approximately $8,000 and electricity costs $0.05 per kWh. If either bitcoin goes up or electricity costs plummet, the energy consumption should increase, and vice versa.” Though the endeavor to determine the future of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues, it seems clear that the environmental impact of bitcoin may be steep. Via Gizmodo Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

Entrepreneurs strut their solutions at VERGE Accelerate

September 25, 2017 by  
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Thirteen startups competed for attention for solutions to curb traffic congestion, improve lithium extraction, reduce building energy consumption and more.

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Entrepreneurs strut their solutions at VERGE Accelerate

Electrifying moments from VERGE 17

September 25, 2017 by  
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Here are the not-to-be-missed performances, technology exhibits and discussions from our trademark event in Santa Clara last week.

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Electrifying moments from VERGE 17

Hacks to Stay Cool: Beat the Heat Using Less Energy

July 31, 2017 by  
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According to a study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), air-conditioners account for a full 6 percent of U.S. energy consumption. It’s a huge number, and a large issue for those concerned with global warming. This massive…

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Hacks to Stay Cool: Beat the Heat Using Less Energy

Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

March 22, 2017 by  
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This ultra-green house for a Seattle family of four has achieved an exceptional level of sustainability without compromising on aesthetics. Shed Architecture & Design designed the Madrona Passive House as a net-zero residence for former Microsoft program manager and renowned environmental advocate Jabe Blumenthal. With a super-insulated envelope and passive design features such as heat recovery systems, photovoltaics, green roofs and stormwater and rainwater harvesting, the house minimizes its energy consumption and act as a stellar example of climate-friendly living. The 3,700-square-foot home relies on solar panels , high-performance construction and a contemporary design for its energy efficiency. A well insulated envelope which includes a Zehnder ComfoAir heat recovery ventilator that pumps fresh air into the interior contributes to its low energy consumption . This technology also recovers 90 percent of thermal energy from exhaust air for reuse inside. Rainwater from the home’s roof and the green roof on the garage goes into two cisterns via permeable pavers, while mechanical shading system and triple-pane windows regulate solar gain . The owners can also tap into the building’s real-time consumption by using the circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system with dashboard. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home Achieving the world’s most demanding building energy standards – Passive House – the building is expected to also receive the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready and Living Building Challenge’s Net Zero Energy Building certifications. The project was recognized by Green Builder Media as winner of the 2016 Green Home of the Year Award in the Best Energy Efficiency category. + SHED Architecture & Design Via Green Builder Media Photos by Mark Woods

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Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

GM steers clean energy to Detroit

December 22, 2016 by  
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Corporate renewables purchasing is helping to revitalize Motor City. Here’s how to accelerate the transition.

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GM steers clean energy to Detroit

7 essential lessons about the Internet of Things

December 22, 2016 by  
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Better data and connected devices can help you slash energy consumption, but they come with a steep learning curve. Here’s how to get ahead.

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7 essential lessons about the Internet of Things

Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint

June 3, 2016 by  
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To minimize site disturbance , the 2,750-square-foot ski chalet is elevated atop red cedar stilts and accessible via an entry bridge. Its raised profile allows snow and water run-off to flow freely beneath the building and, in warmer months, allows native ferns and mosses to grow underneath. The roof is angled at a slant that matches the slope of the mountain to prevent ice and snow buildup. The cabin is handsomely clad in dark-stained white cedar siding and complemented by square-grooved western red cedar planks that make up the underside of the roof eaves. The interior also makes use of western red cedar , which lines the ceiling. The main floor features a long and linear open-plan living area with a kitchen and dining area that overlooks dramatic panoramic views through a 27-foot-long bay window and window seat. A clerestory window on the opposite wall brings in morning light. Related: Spaceship-like ski chalet sheds snow with its sharp crystalline form The master suite is located on the north end of the main floor and also features large windows that frame stunning mountain views. The children’s bedrooms, guest bedroom, steam room, and playroom are located on the lower level and also enjoy expansive views. “The chalet’s thermal envelope is highly insulated and was carefully detailed to minimize thermal bridging and energy consumption,” said the architects. + RobitailleCurtis Via Dezeen Images via RobitailleCurtis

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Contemporary ski chalet boasts gorgeous panoramic views and a low-energy footprint

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