Eco home means something different to everyone. That's because each homeowner picks the green home features that most closely fit their lifestyle, home location and budget. That's why I thought it would be fun to explore the special green features going into a Florida eco-village with 25 townhouses.
GreenEnergy.com is known for their eco home focus, and they're working with the city of Dunedin, FL and General Electric, to build these affordable, net-zero townhouses.
By learning about the eco home features included in these 25 townhouses, you can plan your next green home project. The townhouses are between 1,100 and 1,500 square feet, with projected pricing of $135,000 to $170,000 range. These green home features are affordable!
Eco Home: Reducing Energy Consumption
Are you wondering how an eco home will still have your favorite, side-by-side refrigerator? These townhouses will be solar powered, so most if not all the energy they need, will come from the sun via the solar panels on the roof. Let's dig a little deeper though, as there are many other ways to control how much energy your home uses.
- Solar electric system – is more than the panels on the roof. There are solar combiner boxes that tie the individual solar panels together, to form one large photovoltaic array. A solar inverter converts variable direct current output from the photovoltaic array the type of electricity that will power your house, or can be fed back into the electrical grid.
- Home orientation – might seem like a new concept where solar panels are involved, but it's not. It is important to position a solar house, so the panels get the maximum sun exposure. The same has always been true for windows, placing more windows on the south side of a house and fewer on the north side.
- Energy efficient eco home fixtures – include a solar powered hot water heater, ceiling fans (reduces use of HVAC system), LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.
- Car charging station – for an electric vehicle parked in the garage (oops, where will homeowners store all their stuff?) is another eco home feature that reduces the energy used for transportation.
- Energy monitoring system – helps eco home owners monitor their home's energy consumption and savings, i.e. some homeowners will see significant savings while others won't because they're using too many electronic gadgets.
Reducing Eco Home Heating & Cooling Needs
- Energy efficient heat pumps – combined with multiple heating zones, a high efficiency air distribution system and programmable thermostats will work together to optimize overall heating/cooling operations.
- Roofing that reflects sunlight – to keep the attic and home cooler, and reduce cooling requirements.
- Energy efficient windows – will be triple pane, with low-E to reduce the loss of conditioned (heated or cooled) air.
- Higher R-value walls in this eco home – will be achieved with foam insulation, to reduce heated/cooled air escaping. Inside the home, the roof deck will have foam insulation to reduce the loss of conditioned air from the air ducts (normally only the ducts are insulated).