A combination of both economic factors and environmental factors is increasing public interest in energy-efficient homes. The availability of suitable technology also means that more and more homes are starting to incorporate both modern and traditional elements of energy efficiency.
An increasingly eco-friendly building sector
The building sector and the real estate market have seen an increasing emphasis on the eco-friendly qualities of properties. This affects renovated buildings as well as newly developed homes. One reason is a growing awareness of the burden that traditional residences can place on the environment in terms of wasted heat, overuse of energy, and excess waste. However, another reason is that homeowners are becoming more cognizant of the amount of money that it is possible to save in the long term by using technology to decrease fuel bills, and to be more self-contained in terms of energy usage and energy production.
Benefits of energy efficiency in the home
On an economic level, domestic finances over the long term can see significant improvements when technology is used in the home to minimize the use of energy. Perhaps the most obvious first steps to take are in methods of heating and insulating the home. However, technology is making it possible for a domestic homeowner to take many more steps to save money on energy. In a wider context, such changes are also beneficial for the environment. As public awareness grows concerning the real effects of climate change, and the ways in which human activity contributes to this, more and more homeowners are seeking ways to minimize their carbon footprint in day-to-day life.
Key technologies in eco-friendly homes
Some of the changes that homeowners can make in becoming more eco-friendly are now very simple, given the wider availability of a few key technologies. These relatively straightforward upgrades include the following:
- Energy-efficient lighting. Simply switching to environmentally friendly lighting, such as LED, can reduce power usage and therefore reduce electricity bills.
- Properly insulated and protected windows. The windows are a key area of heat loss, and additions such as window shutters can help to significantly reduce energy usage.
- Solar panels. Advances in photovoltaic technology mean that solar energy is now firmly within reach for domestic uses. The energy generated from sunshine and solar panels can significantly cut reliance on mains electricity, and reduce the associated bills.
- Efficient roofing. Contemporary technology means that roofing is now available that not only reduces heat loss and water run-off but also reflects sunlight for more efficient solar energy production.
- Recycled materials. Much of the environmental load of a new home comes from the production of building materials. However, with improvements in recycling technology, more products on the market incorporate recycled material.
While eco-friendly properties have had a presence within the general building stock for some years, they have often been seen as the preserve of a certain subset of homeowners. Trends in technology development, however, now mean that many eco-friendly elements are increasingly available for domestic use in the mainstream. The effect for homeowners is long-term savings on energy usage and costs, and a reduced impact on the environment.