Many homeowners have started investing in improvements and upgrades that help make their houses more energy-efficient. These initiatives not only reduce their utility bills, but they also reduce the household’s impact on the environment.
People are switching to LED lights, looking for solar panels for sale, and investing in the best HVAC systems in the market. But other homeowners are taking their energy-efficient homes to the next level.
Self-sufficient homes, or autonomous houses, are the ultimate green dwellings. These houses rely on their own structures and buildings for electricity, heating, cooling, ventilation, and more. Recognized organizations, such as Energy Star and the U.S. Green Building Council, guide contractors in building self-sufficient houses.
Each self-sufficient home is designed according to its location and the climate to assure the efficiency of its heating and cooling system and lighting.
Heating, Cooling, and Lighting
Green dwellings can use various types of alternative energy sources, sometimes combining two or more systems. A popular option is geothermal cooling and heating.
Geothermal systems draw heat from deep within the Earth through electric pumps. During warmer months, the processes reverse and the pump sucks the heat from the house then replaces it with cool air.
Autonomous homes also have solid, heavy insulation to help control indoor temperature. The insulation is supported by an airtight structure that blocks air transfer between the interior and the outside, preventing unwanted heat loss or heat absorption throughout the year.
Some homeowners combine geothermal systems with solar heating. Solar energy can generate electricity through photovoltaic technology. The solar panels are placed on the roof, making sure that they have unobstructed access to the sun’s rays, especially during the colder months.
The solar heating system is supplemented with passive heating and cooling techniques to properly distribute heat within the house. This includes well-positioned windows that catch sunlight during cool seasons and awnings that bounce the rays of the sun off the house in warmer weather.
Other Attributes of Green Dwellings
Autonomous houses are built from sustainable construction materials, such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, and upcycled steel. They also make use of passive lighting. This means the orientation of the house and the placement of the windows let in natural light, reducing reliance on lighting fixtures.
A lot of self-sufficient homes also use hydroponics for gardens. Hydroponic gardens don’t need soil, requiring less space and water. This form of gardening is ideal for growing crops, which helps the food security of the household and increases its self-sufficiency.
Some homeowners further reduce their water consumption by collecting and reusing rainwater for non-potable uses, including gardening. However, the water preservation technique is only applicable to locations that get a lot of rain.
Most self-sufficient houses are located within easy range of public transport. Such a convenient location allows people to travel without using private vehicles, reducing their carbon emissions.
Eco-friendly houses are increasing in popularity as energy expenses continue to climb. If you’re interested in turning your own house into a self-sufficient, you can always start with small ways and slowly upgrade parts of your home with energy-efficient systems. Inquire about self-sufficient homes with home contractors who’ve done similar projects in the past.