Simply moving to a rural area and getting away from city life does not automatically turn your property green. For example, if you’ve recently moved out of your expensive Eugene, Oregon apartment and into a home outside of the city, you’re on the right track. But to truly make a difference that means more than just living in the country, consider these seven elements when you build your rural green home.
Place your home sensibly in relation to the sun
If you are located in a southern area, you will see that in many subdivisions, southern exposures have limited or no window space. If you build in a place where summers are hot, make sure that your new home’s largest rectangle area does not face the sun. This can save big cooling dollars, as home placement is a very important component of green building practices.
Make sure that on nice days you are able to open the windows and let the fresh air flow through your home. Note your area’s prevailing winds, and balance that with any southern exposure issues. Also, make sure that you have installed a good attic fan that will blow unnecessary heat out of your home.
Budget is always a concern when constructing a home, but if at all possible, do not skimp on the windows. Install windows with the highest insulation ratings along with proper UV protection. The energy savings difference between quality and cheap window units will amaze you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you moved to the country so that you could have a purple house, think again, because light colors reflect heat and dark colors absorb it. To save energy and to help keep your green philosophy intact, paint with light colors outside.
Do something solar. It would be great if you have enough funds to install major state-of-the-art solar panels on your roof since this is the best road toward energy independence. If you don’t have enough money to get completely off the grid, however, consider some inexpensive solar panels that you can hang on windowsills. If even that doesn’t work, at least get a solar charger for your cell phone.
While northern residents may use ceiling fans for mostly decorative purposes, warm climate dwellers know that these fans should be in every room and should be used during winter and summer. In winter, fans should be run clockwise as they will draw heat from the floor of any room. In summer, fans should be turned the other way—counter-clockwise—so that they will push down heat that has risen to the ceiling. Some of these fans are so cheap to operate that they only cost five to ten dollars per year in energy costs and will save you much more.
Incandescent lights are outmoded, they throw lots of heat, they use gobs of energy, and they burn out. As you know, standard incandescent bulbs are being phased out, and eventually, you won’t be able to buy them. You won’t care, though, because you can already purchase light fixtures that have built-in LEDS that will last for 35 to 40 years! In addition, you can find an LED light for almost any application, from floods to irregularly shaped tubes. LEDs throw little heat, are very energy efficient, and are they are now available in different colors and hues. LEDs can be used for your garage or workshop lighting and can also be installed where you need floodlighting. All of your interior entrance fixtures should be LEDs.
Next, get a smart app that controls them. Did you know that you can get an app that syncs your interior lighting system with the real-time weather? If it’s dark out, your app will brighten the lights. In nice sunshine, your lights will be dimmed. With a smart app you will also be able to control your lights remotely, so you will never have to come home to a dark home, or mistakenly have a totally well-lit home when you are not around during the day.
Going green consists of more than just moving out of the city. And in addition to the seven tips we have mentioned above, remember to add a smart thermostat that will allow you to control your home’s temperature from a mobile device. You’ve made a great choice to live a rural lifestyle, and don’t be afraid to use up-to-date technology to make your green dream come true.