Written by Kylie Walker, an active blogger who is passionate about the environment, healthy living, and innovative technology that will help create a cleaner world.
Follow him on Twitter – @WalkerKylie
Green. It is more than a color, name, or a term used to describe vegetables and foliage. It is also slang for paper currency. More important, it is a popular political movement. “Going green” is a phrase that society uses to describe a crusade to promote global environmental social responsibility, peace, bio-regionalism, and protection. Common words that are associated with the Going Green movement are “re-cycling,” “re-purposing” and “re-using.” However, we can do so much more than re-purpose, re-cycle, and re-use. Today’s technological advancement in green living has brought about opportunities to more efficiently manufacture vehicles, produce medical improvements and construct homes and buildings.
Individual people are becoming more conscious of the need to protect the environment, and whole neighborhoods are gathering to reduce their carbon footprint. Some communities are fortunate and have been given the opportunity to “go green” cost-free while others must pay for the experience and privilege of living energy efficient.
For example, British Gas recently initiated a part of the movement, “Green Streets”, and installed a ground source heat pump and placed a solar roof on the village hall at Tackle, Britain. Residents replaced appliances and received energy saving light bulbs to use. Because of the costly project — the gift of free energy saving equipment worth £150,000 — the community was able, overall, to produce their own power with these devices and save on energy costs.
Other neighborhoods are not as fortunate as the Tackley community, but are still benefitting from green homes. Build San Antonio Green (BSAG) has formed a partnership with a construction company, KB Homes, based in Los Angeles but working in San Antonio, Texas. They have agreed that the homes they build in San Antonio will be energy efficient. Even though BSAG is a non-profit organization, it demands superior standards even above the municipal code’s energy efficiency specifications. BSAG homes are, on average, about 15% more energy efficient than other homes. Indoor air quality, water and energy are all more efficient due to technology. HVAC systems have been revolutionized, insulation has been augmented, windows have been replaced with dual panes, and roof tops exhibit solar panels. The total elimination of monthly electricity bills is the objective of KB Homes as they build houses based on BSAG principles.
Greg Powell, owner of Powell Construction Services LLC, built Cottages at Harbor Shores Hideaway on the shores of Lake Michigan. Powell, like BSAG, is seeing an increase in green home purchases. He is building energy efficient homes with high performance levels that are also attractive and elegant. The Digital Journal reports that seven homes have been built and seven more are under construction. The homes are constructed to comply with the standards of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The homes that have been built and those under construction have and will receive a Gold Standard rating from Green Built Homes. The year round Michigan weather was taken into consideration as Powell made sure the homes would withstand the harsh weather conditions — the extremes of cold temperatures and the warm summers.
Furthermore, a bill currently in Congress would compel the three largest mortgage agencies – the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – to take energy costs into consideration in every loan they purchase, insure or guarantee. They would also be required to advise appraisers, when factual information is available on energy-efficiency savings, to adjust property valuations upward.
The bipartisan bill was introduced October 20, 2011, jointly sponsored by Republican Johnny Isakson from Georgia and Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado. The Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act will include the estimated energy-consumption costs for the house, in addition to the standard principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI) computations as a compulsory new underwriting determinant.
Millions of dollars will be thrust in energy efficiency investment by the SAVE Act. No subsidy or new government decree is required, SAVE simply fixes the artificial barrier that recent banking rules have created. The bill will:
– help home buyers pay the up-front cost of an energy efficient home
– since a primary source of air pollution, oil consumption and high electricity demand, SAVE will help protect the environment
– reduce foreclosures by more precise underwriting, thus helping lenders
– help homeowners fund their home efficiency improvements and assist in reflecting those improvements when the home is resold
There are two things that people strive for and ultimately want to accomplish: saving money and living comfortably. Researchers are constantly working toward that conclusion while enabling people to dwell energy efficiently. Even more innovative technologies will soon be appearing in our homes because the biotechnology field is rapidly increasing. The biotechnology field is growing rapidly, and it will not be long until even newer technologies make it into our lives, outside of the home as well. Researchers like Winston Wong and Dr. Leroy Hood are pioneers in the biotech industry, creating the first Biofuel Ice Vehicle and an Automated DNA sequencer, respectively. The increase in biotechnology is helping shape our lives in every aspect for a greener future.
* This post is written by guest author – represents the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Greener.