Location is one of the defining aspects of any home. Many think of this facet in terms of neighborhood quality, local school ratings, and proximity to attractions like parks, good restaurants, a lake or a great city. However, another point of consideration is the environment itself. By tailoring your home to your specific environment, you can significantly improve the efficiency of your home and also conserve resources. Here are some design ideas to consider.
The sun outputs an enormous amount of energy each day, just waiting to be harnessed. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to use this energy to your advantage. If you live in an area that is sunny all year long, you should definitely consider installing solar panels for home energy. This is a great way to produce clean energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuel grid power.
There’s no need to worry about losing unused energy during peak solar energy production. Solar panel systems can automatically export excess energy to your utility grid, which can earn you credits that can lower your energy bill. Some systems can store energy in batteries that you can use at any time. This feature is especially useful for night hours, or whenever else the sun is no longer shining.
In addition to producing electricity, the sun’s energy can also be used to heat your water. Solar water heaters use sun rays instead of gas or electric energy to provide hot water. If you live in a consistently sunny area, this passive heating method can save energy, lowering your power bill. By using the sun to your advantage, you can save money and conserve resources at the same time.
Beat the Heat
Living in a desert area can be difficult, since the days are blisteringly hot under the relentless sun. Even so, desert designs can make the harsh desert environment livable.
One key factor in desert design is heat management, which mostly focuses on controlling how much sunlight enters the home. Light colored material, for instance, reflects sunlight rather than absorbing it, staving off the heating effects. Reflective colors are especially effective when applied to large surfaces that are constantly inundated with sun throughout the day, like the roof. In addition to reflecting light, simply blocking light is also effective. Using screens on windows can also dramatically reduce the amount of sunlight that enters the home, reducing heat.
Good insulation is also important for keeping cool. Thick walls—especially when made with soil material—are an effective way to provide sufficient insulation. Alternatively, if thin walls are desired, high-end insulation material is needed to keep the interior cool. In a similar way, a partially buried structure can drastically decrease the temperature. The cool earth helps insulate the interior, and the earthen sides block sunlight to mitigate heat.
Let It Rain
If you live in an area with significant yearly rainfall, you may have another resource at your disposal. In a region that has an average annual rainfall of 30 inches, a typical roof could see over 40,000 gallons of water for the year. Without a way to capture this large volume of water, a substantial resource is squandered each year. To avoid this waste, rainwater collection systems can be employed.
With the collection system, this abundant rainwater can be filtered, stored, and used for a variety of purposes, including irrigation. In highly developed areas, there is no soil available to soak up the rain, and the water is diverted into sewer systems as waste. It’s best to make use of the rainfall instead of letting precious water go to waste.
Home designs can be highly tailored to suit the environment. By implementing the appropriate designs, you can conserve resources and lower your monthly bills. Resources like sunlight and rain will continually go unused if left unharnessed. Don’t squander the opportunities to tap into these resources!
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