Green, Energy Efficient AND CLEAN
I think most of us have been interested in “green” house building for decades without labelling it as such i.e. making use of good natural ventilation, natural light. In other words, we focused more on the architecture than on energy efficiency. Green building today focuses on use natural materials – wood, straw, solar energy systems and energy efficiency.
Now that we are becoming more aware of the benefits of green building for the planet and ourselves, we need to turn our attention to “clean” houses. That is, a home that is not only green and energy efficient, but one that integrates the best building practices to ensure living in it is healthy.
I suggest you start with:
- Rethinking ducted heating and cooling and houses with crawl space under the floor. Most people are still keen to install energy-guzzling air coolers and heating and it is the ducted versions of these systems that I and other experts consider to be unclean. The ducts soon become lined with dust and make comfortable living quarters for pests. Imagine the build-up over the years of dust, mites etc contaminating your indoor air quality.
- Construct an on-the-ground slab floor. If constructed well with proper moisture prevention strategies and enough insulation, they will be trouble-free and, neither damp, cold or mouldy. Ducts need crawl space under the floor. It is in this crawl space that problems arise – damp, mouldy, vermin, termites….
I strongly suggest to discuss alternatives to the above problem areas with your architect or design-build expert and preferably, go for an on-the-ground slab wherever possible and a ductless heating system. It may be a little more expensive but one can always cut-back on the unnecessary elements in your design.
Jan Couper M.Ed.; M. Env.
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