Whether you are planning to build new or to renovate, there are many green options that you may want to consider - Remax Nova Real Estate

Published 28 December 11 08:31 PM | Merv Edinger 
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Whether you are planning to build or to renovate, there are some terrific green options that you may want to consider investing in, both to be more environmentally friendly, diminishing your green house gas footprint,& saving yourself money by making your home more energy efficient.

Heat pump

A heat pump is a home appliance (similar to a fridge freezer) that heats and cools the atmosphere in the home. It offers home owners comfort that is normally reserved for high-rise office buildings, five-star hotels and executive apartments. It heats, cools, dehumidifies and continuously filters the air of dust and other impurities. It also circulates the air - without heating or cooling - to eliminate stuffiness. A typical heat pump is two units - an indoor unit, and an outdoor unit. For this reason, they are often called "split systems". Many have remote controls for maximum convenience. There are now ductless systems available as well. How does it work? A fridge transfers heat from its food compartment to the coil at the back. Like a fridge, it can be reversed so that the heat flow goes the other way. Heat pumps transfer heat from outside air into the home in winter, and transfers heat from inside the home to outside air in summer. Heat pump heating is roughly a third of the cost of electric heating and about half the cost of gas heating. For more information on heat pumps, visit http://ezinearticles.com/?Air-Conditioning---Advantages-of-a-Heat-Pump&id=461053

Geo thermal heat sources

A geothermal heat pump, ground source heat pump(GSHP), or ground heat pump is acentral heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter) or a heat sink(in the summer). This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems, and may be combined with solar heatingto form a geosolarsystem with even greater efficiency. Ground source heat pumps are also known as "geothermal heat pumps" although, strictly, the heat does not come from the centre of the Earth, but from the Sun. They are also known by other names, including geoexchange, earth-coupled, earth energy systems. The geothermal pump systems reach fairly high Coefficient of performance (CoP), 3-6, on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 1.75-2.5 for air-source heat pumps on cool days. Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) are among the most energy efficient technologies for providing HVAC and water heating. Actual CoP of a geothermal system which includes the power required to circulate the fluid through the underground tubes can be lower than 2.5. The setup costs are higher than for conventional systems, but the difference is usually returned in energy savings in 3 to 10 years. System life is estimated at 25 years for inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop. Please visit http://halifaxheating.com/?gclid=COKHxpnQnawCFUKo4AodFUPs3Qfor more information on how geo thermal heat pump systems work & the requirements for the installation of such systems.

Drain water heat recovery systems

Drain water heat recovery (DWHR) is the practice of recovering the thermal energy we throw away down our drain particularly during a shower. The Watercycle is a water to water heat exchanger designed for use with drain water.

Water is the most expensive natural element to heat and carries a significant amount of energy.Any hot water that goes down the drain carries away energy with it. That's typically 80–90% of the energy used to heat water in a home. Drain water (or greywater) heat recovery systems capture this energy to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. For diagrams on how drain water heat recovery systems work, retrofitting homes in Nova Scotia & Canada, please visit http://www.watercycles.ca/.

Grey water recycling systems

Greywater is wastewatergenerated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands. This wastewater contains no fecal matter (human ***). Greywater differs from water from the toilets which is designated sewageor blackwater to indicate it contains human waste. Greywater makes up 70-90% of residential wastewater. If collected using a separate plumbing system from blackwater, domestic greywater can be recycleddirectly within the home, garden or company and used either immediately or processed and stored. If stored, it must be used within a very short time or it will begin to putrefy due to the organic solids in the water. Recycled greywater of this kind is never safe to drink, but a number of stages of filtrationand microbial digestion can be used to provide water for washing or flushing toilets. Other methods of water conservation are the use of aerators on faucets& shower heads; low flow or dual flush toilets; the use of front loading energy efficient clothes washer.

ICF ( Insulated Concrete Forms )

Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) is a system of formwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for energy-efficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls, floors, and roofs. The forms are interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked (without mortar) and filled with concrete. The forms lock together somewhat like Legobricks and serve to create a form for the structural walls or floors of a building. Concreteis pumped into the cavity to form the structural element of the walls. Some of the advantages of using ICFs are structures are much more comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient than those built with traditional construction methods; Minimal, if any, air leaks, which improves comfort and reduces heat loss compared to walls without a solid air barrier; high sound absorption; more insect resistant than wood frame construction; structural integrity for better resistance to forces of nature, compared with framed walls ( upto 10 X stronger ).


The use of skylights allow for more natural light to flow through the home thereby diminishing the use of lighting.

Lighting choices

Opt for lighting fixtures that will accommodate CFL bulbs.


There has been a lot of media attention given to foam spray insulation, which is terrific stuff but can be cost preventative for many of us. There are DIY systems available in some locations. Consider, simply adding extra insulation. Increasing the R value of your insulation in the attic/ceiling from R40 to R50, can save you both heating costs in the cold months & cooling costs in the Summer months. Stud & insulate all basement& built-in/attached garage walls. You can lose 30% of your heat through un-insulated foundation walls.

Consider using recycled materials

There are various options available to the enviromentally conscious consumer for decorating their homes, including bamboo flooring, recycled wood flooring, countertops & tiles constructed from recycled glass, etc…

The possibilities are endless but always consider the costs associated with the systems/construction of your new home or the renovation of your existing home vs energy savings associated with them & the pay off period of each. Also consider whether or not the neighborhood marketplace can justify the cost associated with reno/construction & how long you plan on enjoying the benefits of your energy efficient home .

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