The Smart Buildings Of The Future – Infographic

Time and Technology are running at a very fast pace. This is the age of Smart Technology in every aspect. Smart Phones, Smart Electronics, Smart Automobiles, Smart Infrastructure, Smart Buildings and the list goes on.

The Technology is evolving over the decades but has harmed the Planet earth a big way. Over Usage of Natural Resources, pollution and emissions etc. have burnt a hole in the layers of Mother Earth. Every nation is fighting to curb this menace and imbibe all the Smart ways to go green and secure mankind and our planet. Architects & Engineers are infusing Smart technologies to design smart buildings for minimum energy consumption, low emissions, reduced water usage, utilization of sunlight and enhancing outdoor greenery.

Here is an Infographic by RubberBond, depicting the Smart Buildings of the Future.
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The Smart Buildings Of The Future by Rubber Bond.

3 Unexpected Factors To Consider When Designing Your Home

Very few projects are as satisfying as building a custom home from the ground up, but this process can be extremely complicated. Larger contracting companies often employee dozens of specialists to help them consider all of the different factors that could have an impact on the homes they are building. Those who are building a single home for their own personal use might not have access to those resources, and that is why you should spend a little extra time thinking about what unexpected factors you might be overlooking.

3 Unexpected Factors To Consider When Designing Your Home

Energy Consumption

Options such as solar panels and geothermal water heaters are efficient, but that technology won’t be very useful if your home wastes a significant amount of energy. If you want to keep your home’s carbon footprint as small as possible, then you will need to think about other issues like the direction of your windows, what type of paint you use, and how much insulation you put in the walls. As for lights, adding a few tube skylights and installing LED bulbs could potentially cut back on your lighting expenses by as much as 90 percent.

Ambient Noise

Overwhelming noise can put a damper on your daily activities, and you might not even realize how noisy the area is until you have lived there for a few weeks. The best way to get a good grasp of the ambient noise is to visit the building site at different times of the day. You should also speak with a neighbor about issues such as buzzing crickets or loud garbage trucks. Those unavoidable noises can often be muffled with landscaping, fences, and additional insulation.

Local Weather Patterns

Local weather patterns are going to have a major impact on almost every facet of your home. Your first line of defense is your roof, and you want to be sure that you are working with a local roofing company, like those at 5 Star Roofing, that understands what weather hazards might take place throughout the year. At some point during the building process, you should also think about installing other safety features including storm windows, sump pumps, and drainage pipes.

The easiest way to guarantee that you aren’t overlooking any major factors is to work with experienced and local contractors. It might be tempting to go with the cheapest specialists at certain points, but their mistakes could end up costing you quite a bit in the long run. Those who are going to spend the time and money building a home from the ground up should make sure that every penny they are investing into their property counts.

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

There are lots of reasons to remodel, renovate, or update your home. You might do so in order to eventually put your residence up for sale or you might do so in order to create a more livable place for you and yours. But one common motivation these days is the desire to be more energy efficient to reduce the end-of-month energy bill. If this strikes a chord with you, getting aboard the green movement bandwagon can bring about tangible results. So read on for effective home improvements that will allow you to live green, save money, and improve home value.

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

ATTIC INSULATION

While it’s not exactly the most exciting home improvement measure, adequate attic insulation will help you to keep down your heating costs during the cold weather months. If you live in an older residence, chances are that your attic does not have enough insulation…and it’s possible that it actually has no insulation at all. Have it checked and get enough insulation in your attic. This could potentially save you hundreds of bucks during the cold weather season. While you’re at it, ensure that your walls also have enough insulation.

KITCHEN

When it comes to your kitchen, there are lots of things you can do to make this popular space more energy efficient as well as eco-friendly. Depending on how extensive the remodeling, you can swap your cabinets for options that have the stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council. Wood and wood products with such certification are obtained employing responsible forest management efforts, and they’re made with glues that don’t have formaldehyde. You can also get green countertops that are made from recycled or sustainable products and that are manufactured courtesy of eco-friendly methods. Among other options, you can also upgrade your kitchen with energy efficient equipment like a new fridge, freezer, or dishwasher. And don’t forget to get fluorescent lighting, which employs much less energy versus incandescent lighting.

GARDEN

While a garden might not seem to fit the theme, what better demonstrates that you’re really committed to the green movement than would developing and maintaining a wonderful garden? A garden will give your home more curb appeal in the event that you put it up for sale, make your residence a more inviting place for your family and guests to congregate, and reflect on the outside of your home what you’re hoping to accomplish on the inside of your home. Gardening is, as some put it, a lifestyle. So it’s best to do it right to get the best results.

garden

WINDOWS

According to one source, the average cost to install over 10 windows is $14,504; the average cost to replace between five and 10 windows is $4,917; and the average cost to replace under five windows is $2,219. Of course, there are various factors that come into play to determine how much it will cost. Another source notes that a typical home that opts for windows with the Energy Star rating can save between $126 and $465 annually when changing their single-pane windows. How can you tell if you need new windows? If you live in an older house, you might notice that your windows are drafty. It’s not difficult to determine if this is the case. All you’ll need to do is hold your hand up around the windows to determine if you can feel air. Should you feel air, you can save money by replacing your windows. Over time, the savings on your heating and cooling bills will exceed what you paid to buy and install your windows.

These are just a few effective home improvements you can make if you want to be part of the green movement. So live green, save money, and increase the valuation of your residence.

 

Sweltering Heat: How to Troubleshoot HVAC Problems

Sweltering Heat, How to Troubleshoot HVAC Problems

There is almost nothing worse than sitting in a hot house in the middle of summer without air conditioning. If you suspect that there’s something wrong with your HVAC unit, it’s best to investigate the issue as soon as possible so that you’re not left sitting in the heat. After troubleshooting your issue, you might need to seek the assistance of a professional to get the problem fixed.

Power Supply

The first thing that you should check is the power supply to the unit. Sometimes, the circuit breaker can get tripped or a cord can get disconnected. This is often a simple fix and the least expensive of the issues that could be wrong with the HVAC unit. Try turning the breaker off for a few seconds before turning it back on to see if the unit will respond. You should also look at the fuses for the unit to see if any of them are bad.

Adjusting the Thermostat

To check the thermostat, set the unit to cool. Turn the setting to where it’s about three degrees below the temperature in the room. The unit should come on with cool air blowing from the vents. If no air can be felt, then you may be looking at an issue with the thermostat as it won’t pick up on the temperature in the room to make the unit come on at the right time.

Check the Coils and Wires

This can be a detailed venture, but you need to know if the coils are still working as they should. The cover of the unit will likely need to be removed. After scanning the coils and electrical components, take note to see if any are burnt or damaged. A company such as Edge Guys HVAC can send professionals to the home to replace the parts that are impacting the unit or replace the entire unit if the parts can’t be repaired or replaced.

Proper Ventilation

Check the vents in the home as well as the ventilation system. There shouldn’t be anything blocking the flow of air from the unit to the inside of the home. Check to see if the fan is on or if the unit is set to auto. If the fan is on, then it will run for a longer period of time. Clean the vents and the rest of the system to remove dirt and debris that collects over the winter months.

Troubleshooting your HVAC unit can take a few minutes or a few hours, but the result should mean cold air in the home. While some tasks can be completed yourself, there are repairs that might require the help of a professional. Once the unit is repaired and you have air flowing, it’s important to maintain the unit so that there aren’t any issues in the future.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks.

Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

DIY Home Energy Audit

You might think that improving your home’s energy efficiency requires a significant investment in new high-tech windows, solar panels for your roof or even overhauling your HVAC system. Although it’s true that making any of those big investments can have a significant impact on your home’s energy consumption, little changes can make just as much of a difference. For example, it’s estimated that the United States spends more than $300 billion a year on energy that is wasted because of drafty doors and windows. A few nickels’ worth of caulk might be all that’s needed to solve the problem for your home. There are countless issues around your home that could be costing you a lot on your energy bill when taken all together, and many of them can be easy to fix.

Checking on all of these potential trouble spots on a regular basis can make a huge difference on your energy bills. You can and should hire a professional to perform a home energy audit every so often. However, you also can perform a do-it-yourself energy audit on a regular basis to catch many of the most common and easily fixed issues before they require professional intervention. Yet with so many potential trouble spots in your home that require attention, it can be easy to overlook some of them. The following checklist details some of the most common areas where energy efficiency can be improved around the home. Following it can help you perform a DIY home energy audit and ultimately result in major savings on your energy bill.

 

DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist

Checklist: DIY Home Energy Audit created by Mendel Plumbing and Heating

Decorate Your Home with Double Glazed Sliding Doors

Sliding doors is a concept that was popular since the time when it was introduced in to the market. If the sliding doors are glazed over a single side, then they cannot perform all the necessities that are required for a better insulated home. Using double glazed sliding doors is the solution and is also the option which offers you more than just good insulation. When you have a single glazed door newly installed, and you are skeptical about changing the whole thing again, then you must note the fact that a double-glazed sliding door can be easily upgraded from a single glazed sliding door. Now you can install some large sliding doors between your drawing rooms and the attached garden area. It will improve the overall decoration of your house, and you can also open this door for parties in your garden area.

sliding doors

Advantages of a Double-Glazed Sliding Door

If you are considering changing your doors to double glazed sliding doors but you are not sure about the other benefits of it, then here are the benefits and advantages of a double-glazed sliding door:

  • Improved Insulation– the biggest and the most prominent advantage of double glazed sliding doors is its ability to increase the insulation of the room. Most of the doors that are single glazed allow the outside air to pass in and out of the room making it difficult for your HVAC systems to run efficiently, i.e. during winter days the warm air inside the room goes outside and the cold air comes in and vice versa for summers. When you are using a double-glazed sliding door, then it effectively controls the insulation of the room and does not allow the passing of air in and out of the house. This makes it easier for the HVAC systems to function efficiently.
  • Helps in Saving Energy – if you have an air passage through your doors then even the best HVAC can fail to perform efficiently. But when you are using double glazed sliding doors then the air passage is controlled and helps in the better functioning of your HVAC systems. This in turn will run less and save energy.
  • Noise Proof– if your house is beside a busy road or your house is beside a noisy neighbour, a double-glazed sliding door can keep you away from such noisy disturbances. If you wish to have a calm and quiet environment inside your house, then you can install these sliding doors in your house.
  • They Can be Easily Recycled– one of the best things about these doors is the fact that they can be very easily recycled. Therefore, whether you plan for a remodel or any other thing that requires the removal of the doors, you can easily do it. Each of its part is recyclable and hence you can be sure of using something that will not harm the future generations.

Double-Glazed Sliding Doors

Why Would You Choose Double-Glazed Sliding Doors?

When you renovate your house, you can install some double-glazed sliding doors in your house because these doors can reduce the noise pollution and save your electric consumption bill, protect your home from dust particles, and these doors can also prevent UV rays during the daytime. These doors can also block the sun’s heat and prevent any damage to your furniture. Apart from that, these doors come with a double locking system that will secure your home and these sliding doors can provide you the utmost privacy level.

Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings – Infographic

As the population of the earth is predicted to have grown by 3 billion by 2050 the time for building energy efficient and sustainable buildings is now. With an estimated 70% of people living in cities, the increase in demand for housing, food and sustainability is an issue that can no longer be ignored.

In this infographic we take a look at some sustainable and energy efficient buildings that are already in existence around the world. These innovative buildings show how new constructions can help meet the needs of all these extra people by providing them with sustainable homes and workplaces.

The buildings highlighted use solar and wind power to generate their own electricity; many also include other innovative aspects such as collecting their own water by rain harvesting and recycling systems, along with recycling energy.

From 2020 the EU has directed that all new buildings need to be as near to zero energy as possible, this means that they will have to make nearly as much energy as they use.

Read on to find out more about Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings that have changed the perspective on where we will live and work in the future. These creative buildings are not solely energy efficient, they also promote healthy living and working environments that are advantageous to people, their surroundings and wildlife.
Energy Effective and Sustainable Buildings by Cast Iron Radiators 4u
Energy Effective and Sustainable Buildings by Cast Iron Radiators 4u.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Redecorating your house is never easy, especially if you’re trying to do something special with it. Cosmetic changes are always appreciated, but what if you could make a bigger difference with a simple home makeover? Namely, what if you could help your environment become healthier and greener by using specific techniques and materials during your renovation process? In case you’re looking for ways to make your old house greener and save some energy and money in the process, here are a few tips that might come in handy.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation

The absolutely best way to ensure that your house is energy-efficient, eco-friendly and environmentally safe is by getting proper insulation. You don’t have to do much and spend a small fortune, but a well-thought-out plan can do wonders for your house’s sustainability and efficiency.

First, start with an energy audit – do it on your own or let a professional determine what needs to be done. Then, get in touch with a reliable contractor who will install insulation on your exterior walls and spice up your house with a new coat of paint. Finally, think about indoor insulation that will only improve all your hard work.

Doors and Windows

Once you’ve insulated your house, it’s time to pay attention to details. What many people don’t know is that the biggest portion of energy is lost through windows and doors, simply because they’re outdated and in need of replacement.

The easiest way to go is by weatherstripping using rubber, plastic, foam or silicone. Although this sounds complicated, it’s actually quite easy – it’s just a matter of locating and sealing loose parts of your doors and windows so that the air can’t pass through. That way, you’ll practically seal your home from the inside and prevent leaks, thus saving energy by having more control over your indoor temperature. Alternatively, you can install double glazed windows that may be expensive, but are highly effective and save you lots of money in the long run.

Doors and Windows

Solar Panels

Now, if you want to achieve an even better synergy of architecture and green approach to life, take solar panels into serious consideration. These will make your house more aesthetically appealing and instantaneously turn it into the talk of the neighborhood. Additionally, as a great alternative source of creating and preserving energy, they’ll do wonders for your bills. Of course, you don’t have to go all in and cover your entire roof with solar panels, but adding a few might do the trick.

When choosing how to install solar panels, it’s probably better to consult a professional instead of trying to deal with them on your own. If you want to get the best results, they have to be installed properly – not to mention that you simply must pick the best solar panels you can find. Additionally, by choosing only the best brands and service, you can make sure that you will enjoy your panels for a long time.

A Few Ways to Make Your Old House the Greenest One in the Neighborhood

Ceiling Fans

When it comes to interior decorating, there’s nothing more unique than a ceiling fan. After being very popular in the mid-20th century, these are making a huge comeback today. Their vintage look makes them perfect for people who want to introduce class into their homes and aren’t afraid to experiment. Further, these things will effectively and cheaply lower the temperature of any room during summer, especially if you have high ceilings. Once installed – you can probably handle this by yourself – these fans will work almost for free for years and years to come. Ultimately, these are also useful when it comes to heating your house in winter. By applying slight adjustments, they can rotate in a different manner and circulate hot air from the ceiling downwards.

Other Ideas

Some of the other ways to ensure that your house is the greenest in your street include equipping all your light fixtures with LED light bulbs, adjusting your water heater, insulating your attic and basement and updating your heating system. Finally, you could plant a tree or two in your front and backyard and enjoy the comfortable shade they’ll provide you with during summer.

Major Advantages of Using Outdoor Blinds and Awnings

It is an age-old style of covering the windows, patios or verandas with blinds or awnings, which serve the purpose of protecting the rooms from harsh external weather and also provide privacy to the house occupants. There are large varieties of outdoor blinds and awnings that can be used in residential homes, cafes, hotels and even in industrial buildings. Different kinds of fabrics are used in creating these blinds to suit the requirements and the budgets of the owners of the buildings. The users can be sure of getting multiple benefits by using these blinds or awnings.

Major Advantages of Using Outdoor Blinds and Awnings

Facilities Provided By the Use of Outdoor Blinds and Awnings

  • Energy Efficiency: The blinds or awnings fully insulate the rooms against the heat of the sunrays in summer or the chilling cold wind in winter. Thus, the temperatures of the rooms and the outdoor extensions are maintained at a much tolerable level, even without the use of any air-conditioner or room heater. Hence, these special furnishings also act in making the house more energy efficient and help in lowering the electric bills of the house owner.
  • Keep Rooms Comfortable: These external blinds can be rolled up or down as per the wishes of the house occupants, so that the required amounts of light and air can enter into the rooms, keeping the living areas comfortable enough for everyone. The entry of unwanted insects or pests can also be avoided by keeping the blinds down at the required times.
  • Increases the Grace of the House: The beauty of the rooms or the outdoor sitting areas can be enhanced a lot by putting these elegant blinds on the windows or the open spaces of the patios or pergolas. The colors and the fabrics of these external awnings can be chosen to match the exterior color scheme of the house to bring more grandeur and style to the total overview of the building. But mostly, light colored blinds are installed at the places where more natural light is preferred; whereas the windows of the bedrooms or study rooms may be covered with dark colored blinds to block maximum sunlight.
  • Protection of Window Glasses: The glass panes of the windows can be kept secured from any external harm and dust by putting up outdoor blinds and awnings over the windows. So the window glasses remain clean and intact from breakage for a longer time making their maintenance less hassle free for the homemakers.

Awnings

  • Ensure Privacy: As these outdoor blinds and awnings are totally opaque in nature, they provide absolute privacy to the people sitting inside the rooms or the extended sitting areas of the house that are enclosed by these thick blinds. So the neighbors or the people passing through the roads cannot peep inside the house as the inner views are obstructed by these blinds.
  • Protect Outdoor Amenities: The outdoor furniture and decorative pieces placed in the open patio or verandah are protected by the placement of these blinds over the open spaces to stop those articles from being hit by any hard object flying in from outside.
  • Easy Maintenance: These blinds or awnings are very easy to clean as they just need to be wiped off with a damp cloth or simply brush off the dust. Thus, the homemakers do not need to spend much time in the maintenance of these blinds.
  • Simple Using Procedures: Normally, the blinds are made of highly durable substances, such as contractible PVC or thick canvas. The mechanisms of rolling up or pulling down these outdoor blinds and awnings are very simple and vary according to the type of blinds used in a house. Usually, the roller blinds or shutter blinds are the most commonly available types; but some outdoor blinds and awnings can be simply dropped down and lifted up, while some may be retractable manually with a cord.

 

 

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Want a more eco-friendly home? The bathroom is a great place to start. It may be the smallest room in the house, but per square foot it offers more opportunity for positive impact than any other area in your home.

Between fans, hair dryers and other electric devices, lighting and water heating, the bathroom is a hot spot for energy use. Plus, it’s where the lion’s share of household water consumption takes place.

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to create a more eco-friendly bathroom. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.   Choose a Low-Flow Toilet

The average household flushes 27 percent of the water it uses down the toilet, making this fixture by far the largest water consumer in your home. Choosing a WaterSense labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water you flush by 20-60 percent.

2.   Install Water-Saving Fixtures

Replace standard bathroom faucets and aerators with high-efficiency ones. Today’s high-efficiency models work great, and they can save you up to 700 gallons per year. Consider also installing a WaterSense labeled showerhead. If your shower water consumption is anywhere near average, it can save you $70 per year in utility costs!

3.   Weatherize Your Bathroom

A drafty bathroom is uncomfortable and will cause you to turn up the heat and prolong your showers. Nip that cycle in the bud with some simple weatherization. If your bathroom has an exterior window, use caulk to seal around it. Also, seal any cracks in the woodwork, around your tub or shower, and around fans, vents and plumbing penetrations.

4.   Insulate Your Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes is an easy one-hour home improvement project nearly anyone can do. It can raise your domestic hot water temperatures by up to 4 degrees. That means you can set your water heater temperature lower, which saves energy! You also will run less water because it will not take as long for hot water to reach your tap.

5.   Switch to LED Lighting

You need good lighting in the bathroom. It’s also a place where you’re likely to turn the lights on and off frequently. If you haven’t yet made the switch to LEDs, this is the place to start. LED bulbs offer high-quality light and are the most energy-efficient lighting option available. They are also the most durable type of bulb, which is good news if you hate messing with your bathroom light fixtures. And, unlike CFLs, LED bulbs are unaffected by frequent switching on and off.

6.   Choose Eco-Friendly Bathroom Materials

Next time you remodel or outfit your bathroom, pay attention to what goes into it. From bathroom cabinets to toilet paper to towels to cleaning supplies and body care items, today’s market offers many recycled, organic and other environmentally friendly options from which to choose. Not only will you be helping the planet, but selecting eco-friendly items is usually healthier for you and your family, too.

7.   Take Clean Air Action

High humidity in such a small space can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality issues in the bathroom. Clear the air by installing a high-efficiency exhaust fan. Green Tips For Creating A More Eco-Friendly Bathroomplants can also help keep your bathroom air clean. And, next time you paint your bathroom, choose zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint to avoid off-gassing fumes.

Greening up your bathroom doesn’t have to be a major endeavor, and it needn’t be expensive. Nearly all of these ideas are easy for the average homeowner to do. Most are quite inexpensive. If you do them one at a time you will hardly notice the difference in your family budget — but you’ll definitely notice the utility savings and enjoy increased comfort in your bathroom!

Author bio: Erica Garland is Content Marketing Manager at Modern Bathroom and has 15 years of experience in the bathroom renovation industry. Modern Bathroom sells a variety of products you would need for any bathroom renovation project. With such a large selection of contemporary bathroom vanities, sinks, toilets and bathtubs for sale, Modern Bathroom is sure to have the perfect piece to give your bathroom an updated look.    

 

 

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