From Windows to Lights - Advances in Eco-Building Technology
- Triple glazed windows This is the best kind of window treatment that ensures long term energy savings and achievement of an ‘A’ rating. It consists of three layers of panes and a heavy inert gas in between. This heavy insulation prevents heat loss to convection and condensation on your window panes. Triple-glazed windows also block out loud noises from the outside and keep the indoors cosy.
- Double glazed windows Double-glazed windows are a lighter (cheaper) version of triple glazed windows. Instead of three, they have two glass panes with an inert gas (argon, xenon or krypton). Although they are not as insulated as the triple, double glazed windows are also effective in reducing heat loss and eliminating condensation. The gas between the panes should be 16mm if there is no gas, but can be less if there is.
- Low-E coating windows A special coating that reflects infrared radiation is often applied on the inner side of one pane. It is referred to a ‘low-E’ (low emissivity). When the temperature drops, low-E can be applied to the interior surface of the glass pane to deflect heat back into the home, thus curbing the amount of heat lost. Conversely, when the temperature rises in summer, low-E is applied on the exterior to bounce back the heat and keep the house cool.
- Energy-efficient window frames It has been proven that sustainably-sourced timber frames make great energy-efficient windows. For the best results, eco-builders use hardwood or treated softwood. Many builders prefer timbre over PVC due to the latter’s inflexibility, tendency to crack and the possibility to cause dioxin pollution. PVC can also contribute to landfill nuisance if it is not recycled at the end of its life cycle. As a rule, aluminium or other metal frames are to be avoided because they conduct heat out of the home. These window features and techniques help reduce energy bills by increasing heating efficiency and comfort.
Sustainability is no longer a movement people associate with environmentalists. It has seeped into every aspect of our day to day activities. Sustainability is evident in our lifestyle; the cars we drive, the appliances we use, and even the houses we live in.
Architecture and construction have fully embraced sustainable design and building techniques. Entire homes, even apartment complexes can be built with recycled material and powered by renewable energy. Eco kit homes and Passivhaus constructions are just a few examples.
But over the years, technology has continued to advance, and today we have a various eco-friendly building materials ranging from windows to water tanks, heaters and light. In this post, we’ll be discussing some examples of these materials and how the impact our lives.
1. Energy Efficient Windows
The windows have often been described as the eyes into the soul of a building. They open your interiors to the beauty of the outdoors. While a window can draw in sunlight and fresh air from the outside, it can also facilitate heat loss and reduce cosiness in colder climate. Depending on how you manage them, your windows could be a boon or bane to your internal comfort.
To counter this, there are a variety of window designs and treatment to improve sustainability.
2. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) Bulbs
Enough of windows, there are other home and commercial appliances that contribute to sustainable building practices. LEDs are solid light bulbs which are significantly energy-efficient. The key feature of LEDs is the directional quality of their light, unlike incandescent bulbs which have a more spherical light distribution.
LED bulbs cut energy bills by the thousands every year and improve a building sustainability quality. The beauty of LED is their use in both domestic and commercial buildings. According to Dustyn, a sustainability expert at My LED Lighting Guide, “High mast LEDs are effective in warehouses, factories and similar plant workshops where high visibility is important.”
3. Tankless water heater
Every home needs a functional plumbing system and sustainable water heating. Unfortunately, some properties still use the large heaters that store up to 50 gallons of water. The disadvantage of this is that they heat more water than is needed in a home, therefore wasting power and driving up utility costs.
With a tankless water heater, you only heat the quantity of water you need. The moment the tap is switched on, the heating element is activated and the water is heated as it runs through. Heating stops immediately you switch off the tap. Tankless water heaters can be used in the office too, especially for coffee and tea. They reduce overhead costs.
If you are looking to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, charity begins at home. Start today to effect some of these changes in your house and the rest will follow.