Green Home Facts

Home is where the heart is. But it's also the scene of extreme energy and water use, resource-intensive fixtures and furnishings, and a whole heap of chemical-laden cleaners. Greening your home both inside and out means searching for efficiency-boosting appliances, water-saving strategies, and eco-friendly alternatives to household goods and gear.

Energy in American homes gobble up about one-fifth of all the energy used in the US—60 percent in the form of electricity. All this energy consumption generates over 20 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas load. Heating and cooling accounts for 42 percent of your home's energy use; lighting and appliances (like your washer and dryer) devour another 36 percent; and heating water eats up about 14 percent.[1][2]

Energy out

About one-third of your home's heat slips through doors and windows[3], with doors alone accounting for about 11 percent of this air leakage.[4] A key cause of home energy waste? Inadequate Insulation in your walls, attic, and basement, which forces heating and cooling systems to labor overtime.[3] Stop up the leaks (or buy a greener home and you'll not only lighten your household budget but also your carbon footprint.

Kitchen clean and green

Your kitchen is your home's command central, but it's also the center of energy- and water-inefficiency and earth-harming cleaners. Your refrigerator alone accounts for 14 percent of the power your home consumes, more than any other kitchen or cleaning appliance. Your stove is another power drain.[5] What's more, a sizable portion of your water use (Americans consume an average of 80 to 100 gallons of H2O a day[6]) happens in the kitchen to scrub those dishes and counters spotless. Water-saving at the kitchen sink and elsewhere in your home can stop about 7,800 gallons of water from slipping down your drain unused each year.[7][8] Opt for green cleaners and the small amount that does drain away won't harm waterways or your health.

Burnish your furnishing footprint

Couches ,chairs, beds and your living room, bedroom, and den decor may be your pride and joy, but your prized furniture pieces are likely made partly of wood (a dwindling natural resource) and other eco-unfriendly materials that sully indoor air.[9]

That gorgeous Oriental comes with its share of eco-problems, as well. Most carpets and rugs are made of synthetic fibers[10] which are derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Not only are these petrochemicals potentially hazardous to human health, but using them also contributes to ecological hazards, such as leaks and spills related to oil exploration and refining.[11][12] Fortunately, greener choices exist to lighten your home furnishing load.

In The Bathroom

About three-quarters of indoor water use takes place in the with your accounting for about 28 percent of the total tally[13] your daily sing-fest in the shower racking up another 16.8 percent[14] Water-savers, like high-efficiency toilets and low-flow shower-heads can help preserve this precious resource.

Green dreams

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, but your sleep may not be as sound as you think. Not only do your bed and dresser use natural resources and harbor toxic glues and finishes, but your mattress and bedding also leave their mark on the earth and your health.

Most mattresses are derived from petrochemicals and from natural gas, which are nonrenewable resources,[15] not to mention being treated with fungicides, pesticides, and flame-retardants.[16] Sheets, pillowcases, and comforters are made from either synthetic or natural fibers, or a combination of both, and endure multiple earth-harming processing steps, including spinning, dyeing, weaving, scouring, and sizing.[17] Get a greener night's sleep with an eco-friendly bedroom.

Great Green Outdoors

There's nothing like fresh tomatoes and lettuce straight from the garden. Unfortunately, even homegrown produce often comes with an environmental cost as does your home's curb appeal—meaning that well-landscaped and manicured lawn you take so much pride in. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), American homeowners use 10 times more pesticides per acre of lawn and garden than American farmers.[18] Likewise, your yard—not to mention the remaining 50,000 square miles of lawns across America—require some $5.2 billion in fossil fuel-based lawn fertilizers; 67,000,000 pounds of synthetic lawn pesticides; and 580 million gallons of gasoline to power lawnmowers. What's more, depending on the city, 30 to 60 percent of fresh water in urban areas is used to water lawns—about 200 gallons of fresh water per person per day.[19][20][19] Put more green in your greenery with earth-friendly lawn and garden care.

Footnotes

1.US Energy Information Administration - Energy Kid's Page: Energy Consumption

2.US Department of Energy - Insulation Fact Sheet

3.US Energy Information Administration - Energy Efficiency

4.Keep Warm Illinois - Doors

5.US Energy Information Administration - End-Use Consumption of Electricity 2001

6.Ideal Bite - How many gallons of water does it take to wash a plate?

7.Flex Your Power - Showerheads

8.American Water Works Association - Water Use Statistics

9.Green Home - Alternatives to Old Growth; Virgin Lumber

10.Green Seal - Choose Green Carpet Report, page 3

11.The Green Guide - The Green Guide’s Carpet Product Report

12.Green Seal - Choose Green Carpet Report Pages 3-4

13.Eartheasy - 25 Ways to Save Water at Home

14.DrinkTap.org - American Waterworks Association: Water Use Statistics

15.Lifekind - Why an Organic Mattress? Compare the purity and environmental impact of an organic mattress to a mainstream, or “chemical,” mattress

16.Children's Health Environmental Coalition - Rest Easy on a Safe Bed

17.How Products are Made - Bed Sheet

18.US Environmental Protection Agency - Wild Ones handbook

10.US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observatory - Looking for Lawns

19.US Environmental Protection Agency - Green Landscaping with Native Plants: Wild Ones Handbook

Comments

Macmallah's picture

There are many “Green Programs” around the world to measures how green a building is. LEED is the most comprehensive of these Green Programs. LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a rating system for green buildings. It is developed by the Green Building Environmental Council of the United States (USGBC). It provides certain environmental standards for construction.

 

LEED for Homes is different from other Green programs because it is inclusive and applies high standards.

 

LEED for Homes is inclusive because it doesn’t focus on one area, but it makes sure that homes are green in the following 6 areas:

 

  1. Energy: LEED requires that home’s energy performance exceeds any local code requirements by at least 15%. This includes testing of the home’s overall envelope and its ductwork, as well as multiple inspections during construction.
  2. Water: LEED requires that the home incorporate a minimum number of water efficiency measures.
  3. Indoor Air Quality: LEED ensures that the home ventilates properly, includes high-efficiency air filters, reduces moisture and the possibility of mold or mildew formation.
  4. Materials: LEED ensures that construction waste is minimized and that environmentally-preferable materials are used as much as possible.
  5. Land: LEED ensures that great care went into the decisions on where the homes would be located, taking advantage of local resources and infrastructure, and how the landscape features were designed.
  6. Education: LEED requires the builder to educate the homeowner or tenant on all of the green features of the home through a homeowner’s manual.

 

LEED for homes applies the highest standards in the fields of construction and environment. In addition in strongly enforces the Federal, State and zoning regulations. The most important standards those LEED for Homes applies are:

  1. ASHRAE 90. 1-2007 for calculating minimum energy performance for building’s performance rate.
  2. ASHRAE 62.1-2007 for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality specifications and minimum ventilation rates.
  3. ASHRAE 55.1-2004 for the comfort criteria that takes into account temperature, humidity, air speed, outdoor temperature, outdoor humidity, seasonal clothing and expected activity.
  4. SMACNA Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractor’s National Association (SMACNA) guidelines play a key role in LEED’s approved management for construction activity pollution prevention.
  5. Green-e Program which promotes green electricity products is used by LEED to credit the purchase of green power.
  6.  IESNA the Illuminating Engineers Society of North America’s standards are used to help reduce light pollution in LEED projects.
  7. Green Label Plus certification is used by LEED for giving credit to carpets with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) content to enhance indoor environment quality.
  8. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification is used by LEED to give credit to FSC certified wood.
  9. Green Seal standards are used by LEED give credit to products that are more environmentally friendly. This includes paints, coatings, and cleaning products.
  10. FloorScore Certification is used by LEED to give credit to floors which are certified by FloorScore. FloorScore, developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). It tests and certifies hard surface flooring and flooring adhesive products for compliance with rigorous indoor air quality emissions requirements.
kelspop87's picture

To save the energy we need to use good quality electric appliances. Also check the material which is use for wring in the house. Because low quality material needs high power. It is one kind of westage of energy.

Deborah Bennet's picture

A lot of energy is consumed in our houses. A lot of appliances is used for household purposes that draws a lot of power and there is wastage of energy. So we must follow methods to save energy. We often forget to switch off lights and fans when we don't require them. Such simple things should be taken care of. Other substitutes like solar energy can also be used that will save electrical energy.
reginaparker's picture

I just turned all my lights into led. I became aware of my power consumption. It literally saved me from paying higher bills, and performance wise is better. People should be smart enough these days to be more aware of their consumption, LED are a good start for replacing lights.