Green building tips for home or office | Daily News

Green building tips for home or office

1. Working with contractors – Know the vocabulary. You'll have a better chance of negotiating successfully with builders if you know about breaker boxes, water pressure tanks, load-bearing walls, and other such construction anatomy.

2. Light bulbs – Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are not better than incandescent lights when it's less than 60 degrees outdoors, when they're turned on and off a lot, or when they're on less than 15 minutes. Also, their light is worse and the energy they save is tiny compared to the energy that your house throws out its windows at night

3. Solar panels anyone? – On a sunny day around 9.30 am climb onto your roof and see if the sun shines on it. Repeat this around 3.30 pm. Does the sun still shine on the shingles? Did it do so every hour in between? If you cannot remove the trees, nearby buildings or hills that obstruct the sun during these hours do not install solar panels.

4. Buy a backup generator? - For those rare occasions when the power fails create a power-outage kit that includes a dozen candles with holders, half a dozen flashlights with extra batteries, and several large buckets (when the power fails fill them at the nearest creek or lake, cistern the water in your bathtub, and use it for flushing toilets and rinsing)—then "go camping" with the kids and canned foods before your fireplace.

5. Fireplaces – A fire in a conventional fireplace is only 20 per cent efficient. Worse, when its hearth is cold lots of fossil fuel heat sucks up the flue unless you reach way under the mantle and close the sooty damper. Better: A fireplace insert that can burn logs and paper trash, has intake and outflow vents at the bottom and top, has an easily operable damper, and sports large glass doors so you can enjoy the dancing flames. A fireplace insert is 50–75 per cent efficient and easier to operate.

6. Drainage – Whether your house stands on level or sloping terrain, the ground extending from its foundation should be graded at least 1/2 inch per foot downhill for 10 feet in every direction. This contouring—even if it takes dynamite and backhoes—is not money spent but money saved. Tip of the day: always locate a house on convex, not concave, terrain.

7. Mould – If mold appears inside your exterior walls or on your exterior siding, you may be suffering from the biggest mistake made in wood construction today: airtight envelopes. Airtight vapour barriers keep moisture-laden air from migrating through the wood framing, then the trapped moisture rots the wood.

8. Furnitecture – This is efficient furniture items like bureaubeds, shoulder-high walls, and long desk counters with lots of shelves above and drawers below. Replacing the usual fat furniture with these compact items not only will make less indoor space more useful, it can create enough room around the inside of your exterior walls to add a second wall of insulation. This is the real secret to making your home or workplace more energy-efficient in the future.

9. Efficient indoor spaces – By removing useless corners, unused crannies, gun barrel hallways, seas of circulation around islands of furniture, and other chubby cubic footage indoors, not only will you be more comfortable in less space, you may have enough room in your home to install an office, have an exercise area, and store more belongings. One of many

10. Fire safety – When a fire erupts indoors a hot region exists at the flames—the fire zone—and areas nearby fill with toxic gases—the smoke zone. Both are deadly. Along with installing smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire exit signs, fit one sink faucet on each floor with spigot threads so you can screw a hose onto it.

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