Building Sustainable  

Improved Long-Term Economic Performance

 

Sustainable building is a way to approach the design, construction and operation of your home that allows for the least negative impact to our environment while providing you with the healthiest living space possible.

Some of the advantages of a Sustainable building techniques include incorporating better efficiency for energy and water technologies. The use of renewable energy and the conservation of natural resources.

Sustainable buildings are built for longevity, with lower maintenance requirements. They can improve long-term economic performance while improving resale value.

The unseen benefits are calculated by the increase of productivity and decrease in illness reported by industries using more natural lighting and less toxic chemicals in their buildings.

As a homeowner, this translates into better indoor air quality (IAQ) that will benefit your health and that of your children in the coming decades.

Conservation and Sustainability

Conservation and sustainability are now standard practice for many industries, with the architecture and building community fast becoming among its leaders.

Since these industries have such a tremendous impact on our environment, from the type and quantity of lumber used in building homes to the kinds of paint and finishes applied to the end product, they also carry a greater responsibility to adopt more green building tenets.

Eco Depot USA strives to achieve this through many techniques. With the technologic advances of today and the constant upgrading of industry standards and practices, the ability to build sustainable is right at our fingertips, no more costly, and in many cases more cost effective than conventional building techniques.

If comparing the cost of a home with solar panels to one without, it seems on the surface that the house with panels is much more costly. But it must be taken into account that solar equipped home will immediately begin producing electricity, lowering, and in many cases eliminating your electricity bill.

The return on investment on an average sized residential solar system is about seven or eight years. But if viewed over the twenty-five to thirty year life span of the solar panels, the cost savings can easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

 

Conserve Natural Resources

In the past, building techniques have consumed almost 40% of the world’s total energy, 25% of its wood harvest and 16% of its water.

Eco Depot USA recognizes its role in conserving these resources and is always researching ways to be proactive in this area. One of the ways we participate in this arena is through the use of green building materials.

The use of bamboo flooring, the choice of Eco Depot USA, is a clear example of why to choose this sustainable product. Durability, cost, installation and longevity are the same as other hardwood flooring. The great savings here weigh in on the side of the environment, as bamboo is rapidly renewable and there is no clear cutting of forests done in its harvesting.

 

Conservation with Design Criteria  

  • A Shallow footprint which allows for cross ventilation in all major rooms.
  • Operable windows to maximize breezes and decrease the need for air conditioning
  • Glazing based on solar orientation
  • Smaller homes which accentuate quality over quantity
  • Design with glazing to outdoor spaces to make the house feel larger
  • Using stone flooring to act as thermal mass to help naturally heat  

 

Wood vs. Steel

Is it more sustainable to build with wood or steel? While studies have shown that both materials have sustainable attributes, we have found more research pointing to wood as the more sustainable option for the following reasons:

Wood uses 20% less energy during manufacturing, emits significantly less toxins into the air and water during the manufacturing process, it thermally outperforms steel by 22%, and it provides carbon sequestration which lessens global warming.                                                        

For specifics regarding the environmental and sustainable performance of wood and steel in residential construction, refer to a study prepared by the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials, a non-profit corporation of 15 research universities. In this study it was proven that wood consistently outperformed steel and concrete in the areas of embodied energy, global warming potential, air emission index, water emission index, and solid waste.

 

Energy Efficiency

The second major focus of sustainable building is energy efficiency, which incorporates all aspects of your home, from using time proven techniques to construct your home to the type of glazing, insulation and even the kinds of appliances you choose.  

The energy efficiency of your home and the possibilities for generating your own power are key components in the reduction of energy consumption and the reduction of the impacts of global warming. It also offers financial benefits by reducing your utility costs immediately and far into the future.

Eco Depot USA goal is to change the notion that when a person wants to heat or cool, it is not always turning on the heating or cooling systems but rather opening or closing windows or sunshades.

 

Energy Star Appliances

Advances in the efficiency of appliances have paved the way for a new breed of energy saving, cost cutting machines that are as beautiful to look at as they are easy on your monthly utility bill.

The Energy Star rating ensures that your appliances meet the strict energy consumption guidelines laid out by the EPA and the US Department of Energy.

 

Solar Power

Solar power works by converting sunlight into electricity through the use of photovoltaic (PV) modules comprised of silicon cells. This action takes place when sunlight hits the PV panels which are normally mounted on your roof, as close to a southerly orientation as possible. The direct current electricity (DC) produced is converted into alternating current (AC) through an inverter installed with your system. This electricity is the same as supplied to you by your local utility.

 

Grid Tied System

This refers to a Renewable Energy system that is connected to your local utility grid. The system produces electricity for your home or business, supplementing or even eliminating your electricity bill. When you are producing more power that you are using, you can actually spin your meter backwards, storing electricity credit with your local utility that you can use at night or during inclement weather.

While solar power does incur more front-end building cost, the average residential system can pay for itself in around seven or eight years. Once the system is paid for, all future electricity is produced for free.

The average warranty for PV panels is twenty five years and over this time frame the savings can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The combination of ever increasing energy rates and the inevitable drop in the price of solar costs make this an intelligent choice.

The price of a PV system on your home will also add to its value. Typically, it will add its full retail cost to the appraised value of your home, even though you won’t be paying the retail price. Depending on state rebates and federal tax credits, a residential system can be substantially subsidized depending on where you live.   


Indoor Air Quality

The third element of Sustainable Building is Indoor Air Quality. (IAQ)

With the combination of commuting, working and our home life, we spend close to 90% of our time indoors. Add to the mixture the introduction of literally thousands of new and toxic chemicals over the last fifty years and you have the makings for a deadly cocktail.

Up until 1940, 2/3 of all new homes used lead based paints. Between 1940-1960 that number was about 50%. It was not until research showed the dangers of lead poisoning that we considered the dangers of lead based paints.

While the use of lead based paints has been all but eradicated, paints containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) are still widely in use today. Some examples of organic compounds are octane, butane and sugar. When these compounds evaporate they are considered Volatile Organic Compounds and contribute to the production of smog and ozone.

The use of low or no VOC paints, as promoted by Eco Depot USA is one way to improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and champion a healthier home environment.

The use of glazing and sun shades also helps bestow better IAQ. By having operable windows and sliding doors, it is possible to heat and cool using passive techniques instead of flipping on the furnace or air conditioner.

Using sun shades to keep out the summer sun can help cool without the energy drain of air conditioning. Keeping those same shades open in winter allows for passive solar heating and can reduce the need for heating, cutting energy costs and improving IAQ. Operable clerestory windows and sliding doors permits for easy cooling.

A shallow footprint used for homes allows for good cross ventilation, evacuating hot air off the ceiling and out the clerestory windows. Thus letting in more fresh air and advancing IAQ.  Combining fresh air with HEPA filtration minimizes outside air pollutants and dust buildup in the ducts. The mix of fresh air, humidity control and filtration helps to eliminate the conditions that promote mold and mildew growth.

 

All of these factors play an important role in why Eco Depot USA can build a new home that meets the highest standards concerning Sustainable Building.

We are committed to providing the best possible product, in the Sustainable Building framework, while meeting or exceeding conventional building practices.

 

 

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