Green Home Design - Save Energy Through Natural Design

This is my second article in this series. For additional items go to Part One.
One method of creating a green home design, is to utilize methods in your home with which we can minimize or even eliminate our air-conditioning and thus, save energy. If you are building a new home consider each one of these tips and try to implement them into your home design with your architect or home designer. If you are planning a major remodeling project, many of these items can be utilized as well. Also consider entering the LEED for Homes program for a very structured energy saving plan.

Things You Will Need

A green rated architect, well versed in green design principles.
Also consider a LEED for homes builder and LEED for Homes provider as developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council).

Step 1

Light Colored Roofing

Minimize Heat Island Effect - Roofing

Any roofing material that you consider should be light colored. Reflect the radiation of the sun rather than absorbing it. The amount of reflectivity is referred to as Solar Reflectance Index or SRI. Roofs with sloped roofs should at least have a SRI of 29 or higher. Flat or nearly flat roofs with pitches of less than 2:12 should have an SRI of 78 or higher. Many metal roofs and tile roofs meet these guidelines, so do your research.

Step 2

Use Light Colored Pavement

Minimize Heat Island Effect - Pavement Materials

Consider light-colored pavement materials for your driveway, patios, walks etc. Also consider addition of open-grid type pervious pavers which allow grass to grow in the cores. Asphalt pavement radiates most of the suns energy back into the atmosphere. Consider using light-colored concrete for your drive. You will also reduce the amount of petroleum-based products on your project. Select light colored pavements for walks patios and other paved surfaces. There are many choices out there from concrete to tiles and synthetic coverings. This will especially be helpful if the predominate winds blow across these surfaces, the resulting winds will pick up minimal radiation from light-colored paving.

Step 3

Add Landscaping

Landscaping Helps Cool our Homes

Plant landscape borders around the perimeter of your home as the winds blowing over plant materials will bring cooling breezes into your home. Additionally, plan to plant trees to shade you home during the most severe sun exposures, especially the east and west exposures. Shading of all roof and pavement areas will really keep the home much cooler.

Step 4

Install ceiling paddle fans

The installation of paddle fans is a low energy alternative to air-conditioning. On those days where there is little breeze, consider running a paddle fan rather that turning on air-conditioning. Look for Energy Star rated fans that consume considerably less energy. Locate fans in all living and sleeping areas. If you place them on a speed controller you can control the amount of circulation and increase your energy savings.

Step 5

CFL Lamps

Use Energy-Efficient CFL Lamps

Use CFL lamps in lieu of incandescent lamps. Compact Fluorescent Lamps use about 1/4 of the energy of incandescent lamps and burn much cooler. CFLs have between an 8 and 10 fold increase in life compared to incandescent lamps. Also consider the use of LED lamps, which use less energy that CFLs and last much longer and I consider them super-sustainable.
There are additional items you can consider in "greening up" your home with the use of natural methods, do research, visit green sites such as the USGBC website.

Visit Part One of this article.

Tips & Warnings