Eco homes focus on saving energy, reducing water usage, increasing indoor air quality and making sustainable choices in the products and materials we use. In reality, each of us picks the green home features which support our lifestyle, home location and attitude about the environment – like stick built homes, our eco homes are unique.
That’s why the idea that a Florida eco-village with 25 townhouses, would build very similar eco homes was intriguing – it seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to learn how we can make our homes more green. These are townhouses as opposed to single family homes, between 1,100 and 1,500 square feet prices ranging from $135,000 to $170,000.
These green home features are affordable and we can thank GreenEnergy.com for showing us how we can all create (new or existing) eco homes. They may be working with the city of Dunedin, FL and General Electric to build these affordable, net-zero townhouses, but we can do it too!
This story began long ago, but I learned about it on Facebook, thanks to Bob Beliveau … yeah! This is the second of a 2 part article, so if you haven't already read … Eco Homes in Your Future, that's where my story begins.
Eco Homes: Reducing Water Use
Green homes focus on more than energy consumption. Fresh water is not yet recognized as a scarce resource but it is time to reduce our wasteful habits and save water. Here are ways to create eco homes that save a significant amount of water.
- Pex plumbing – reduces water pipe losses compared to traditional copper piping. It's non-corrosive, which prevents pinhole leaks.
- Water efficient plumbing fixtures – will become standard in new eco homes. They include dual flush toilets and low flow shower heads and faucet aerators, to reduce water consumption (and sewer or septic output too).
- Landscaping for eco homes – start with native plants to reduce irrigation needs, and the townhouses will use a drip irrigation system.
Indoor Air Quality & Eco Homes
Maybe it's time for the single minded, energy efficiency experts, to pass the limelight to folks who want to reduce US water use? Hopefully we all keep talking about green homes, green lifestyles until we understand that more energy efficient homes also need (maybe I should say REQUIRE) equal focus on indoor air quality. Indoor air quality (IAQ) isn't optional – it's essential as well insulated eco homes reduce the exchange of outdoor and indoor air, to the point where it affects our health!
Americans don't worry about air pollution (check the Smog Blog)
US homeowners need to monitor indoor air quality at home!
So let's look at ways these eco homes will improve their indoor air quality by reducing …
- Non-toxic (no VOC) paints and finishes on each house.
- Use only toxic free flooring – including non-toxic carpeting, bamboo and wood flooring, and ceramic tile.
- An ultraviolet light system, a part of the HVAC system, will keep mold, bacteria and viruses out of the air distribution systems.
- Exhaust fans in the kitchen and all bathrooms – will help reduce pollutants, mold, mildew and odors in the house.
- Carbon monoxide detectors, like smoke detectors – warn you when these deadly gases are present in your home.
- A builder doesn't provide buyers with furniture, so it will be up to each homeowner to research and buy bedding, furnishings and accessories that fit these eco homes in spirit, and keep their families healthy.
These eco homes will also have whole house water filtration system- provides pure drinking water from all faucets. Learn more details about eco-friendly homes.
Watching water consumption in your home is a smart way to change to be more eco-friendly. Using fixtures that help reduce water consumption will help the environment as well as your water bill. If you’re building a home, it would be beneficial to find a homebuilder that has experience in eco homes.
Kendall, Like your company, there are a lot more builders focusing on green building, although I have to admit most of the focus remains on energy savings. I’ve started to see HERS ratings in model homes this year, which is very encouraging. And usually where builders are promoting EnergyStar appliances, they’re also using WaterSense plumbing fixtures. EnergyStar, WaterSense & more recently IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) are all programs sponsored by the US government. Curious if the Australian government has anything like these?