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Maine Real Estate News & Notes
Green Home Designs: Energy Efficiency

Icon_RENewsThe latest environmentally friendly home features aren't just good for the planet - they look great and are a huge draw for conscientious buyers, too.

From energy-efficient light bulbs to solar-paneled roofs, consumers have gravitated to the idea that they can help the earth by making smarter purchases and lifestyle decisions, even if it's not always cheap or easy. Many of these changes are happening in their homes, thanks also to manufacturers, builders, and architects who are encouraging green products.

There are plenty of reasons why focusing on the environment has become so popular lately. Whether is global warming or rising energy prices, Americans have been forced to rethink everyday habits and purchases, and its not limited to one age group, demographic or geographic area.

Additional Information

Many experts predict that in a few years green construction will become so pervasive that the term “green” won’t even be needed.

To learn more about Green Homes, Net Zero and Energy Efficient, vist:Sustainable Living

Green Trends to Become Familar with:

  Copper Roofs: Copper and copper alloys, such as brass and bronze, are showing up on roofs, entryways, facades, gutters, and downspouts. Despite being quite pricey to purchase and install, they’re seen as a good long-term investment because they tolerate inclement weather, and can last over 100 years.
  Timber framing: Timber framing requires significantly less lumber than the traditional “stick-built” housing and almost always incorporates superior insulating panels (SIPS), which keeps heat and air conditioning from escaping the house. There’s less waste when large timbers are used, compared with conventional construction that produces sawdust and waste every time a 2-by-4 stud is planed.
  Windows: Windows that beat the heat. Low-emittance (Low-E) windows, doors, and skylights offer natural light while blocking the sun’s UV rays that heat up the inside of a home, sometimes necessitating air conditioning. The special low-E glazing also stops the sun from fading fabrics, wall coverings and artwork.
  Rainwater holding tanks: Capturing rainwater and storm runoff helps reduce the burden on local sewer systems and captures water that can be used in other ways, such as for watering, plumbing, and laundry.  A rainwater cistern and detention tank system can collect 95 percent of stormwater for recycling and reuse.
  Green Homes in MaineChemical-free lighting: LED lighting (LED stands for light emitting diodes) is a semiconductor that emits light when an electric current is applied. One big advantage - it contains no hazardous chemicals like other lighting does. For instance, compact fluorescents contain mercury and incandescent bulbs have gasses that hurt the ozone layer. In addition, an LED fixture uses 80 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent light bulb and has the ability to last up to 20 years. Although LED bulbs currently are considerably more expansive, they also provide quality crisp light that shows colors in a natural palette.
  Green toilets: Water-conserving toilets can boost your budget while also helping the environment and you can save 30 percent to 50 percent on your annual water bill.
  Solar orientation:  Face a home or an addition in the right direction and build it with the right materials, and you’ll reduce the amount of heat and cold that enter from the outside.
  Geothermal heating and cooling: Rather than using a traditional furnace that heats or cools air and emits carbon monoxide during the process, geothermal pumps are filled with water and glycol and rely on the earth as a heat exchanger. In winter, the system sends warm air into rooms; in summer, it brings cool air. Though the initial cost is twice as much as a traditional heating and cooling system, the payback can be about fire years, given today's costs.
  Formaldehyde-free insulation: Building products such as insulation can emit traces of the chemicals they’re made with, which pollutes the air inside of homes.  For example, manufacturer Johns Manville in Denver made the decision to remove formaldehyde from its building insulation and duct board.
  Induction cooktops: Unlike traditional cooktops that heat up the cooking surface, the coils of an induction cooktop release their energy directly to the pot or pan and its contents. That means less energy is diffused in the cooking processes. It also means that the cooktop surface remains cool to the touch, making it less likely that cooks or kids will burn themselves



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