As awareness increases around climate change, more families and individuals are seeking a greener lifestyle. Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? If so, two key areas to explore in reducing carbon emissions are your transportation habits and your home. That’s because together, transportation and housing account for more than half of an individual’s carbon footprint within the U.S.
The easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions associated with transportation are to fly less (that’s easy these days!) and drive electric. On the energy savings side, you can go green without building a new house. There are numerous energy efficiency and smart home energy performance upgrades you can make to your existing house to have a positive impact on the environment and help in efforts to reduce climate change. The affordability and complexity of these approaches may vary, but there are many simple, quick, and affordable ways to turn your home into an energy efficient smart home.
This passive house design in New Brunswick, Canada is a smart, eco-friendly dream home you can take inspiration from. This article will explain key sustainable design concepts, such as the passive homes and smart homes, and highlight sustainable passive house design elements of the Scoudouc River Passive House.
What is a passive house?
A passive home leverages passive building principles to attain a high level of energy performance and building comfort. The concept of passive building dates back to antiquity. Ancient civilizations took advantage of thermal elements, such as the direction and angle of the sun, or materials used within a building, to provide natural heating and cooling without the use of electricity. Of course this was an essential need since electricity did not exist! Over the last two decades, as more people have become interested in improving home energy efficiency and their ecological footprint, the idea of passive housing has returned with renewed popularity and is widely practiced today.
In this type of structure, the passive movement of air within a home is optimized to maintain thermal comfort with minimal space conditioning or heating required. A common example of passive design principle is a solarium designed to face south towards the equator, to provide natural passive heating. Low-energy heating can also be accomplished with high insulation, high performance windows, and air-tight enclosures to prevent heat transfer. Passive house principles can be applied to all building types, from single-family homes, to multi-family apartments, to office buildings and even skyscrapers.
What is a smart home?
Savvy homeowners are upgrading their existing home appliances with smart, WiFi connected devices to take charge of their energy savings. In smart homes, green technology is often a core design principle where nearly every element of the home, such as the thermostat, refrigerator, lighting, blinds, and EV charger, are all digitally connected. Smart devices allow homeowners to monitor and control their energy consumption. They also typically provide scheduling and automation features to make users’ lives easier while improving energy efficiency.
More and more, homeowners and tenants expect to have the convenience of managing their everyday appliances through their phones. Whether it’s home energy consumption, security, or health, people today appreciate the benefits of ease, control, sustainability and access to useful data.
This trend of utilizing technology to improve home life has been progressing for decades with the growth of the Internet-of-Things. Once inspired by early adopters and tech geeks, now mainstream residents seek digital connectivity and want to be able to say, “Alexa, turn off the lights.”