The most technologically advanced green homes are forged from carbon dioxide and methane. The walls, the roof, and even the furniture are all made from greenhouse gases. As these homes are still relatively rare, chances are you do not live in a place like this. Does that mean that maintaining a zero-carbon home is out of the question for you? No, it does not. Simply by consuming fewer resources, you can create a zero-carbon home. If not on the outside, at least on the inside.
It is more than enough if your motivation is only to save money. Reducing your carbon footprint in your home will result in just that. If your property is able to generate renewable energy to sustain its energy demands, your house is a zero-carbon house or a retrofit. So, how to make your dwelling a zero-carbon home exactly? Here are some useful methods:
Insulation and Air Leaks
Before thinking about investing into anything new, think about reducing the already existing. This would mean lowering your home’s energy consumption. Reducing loads in an existing construction translates into adding insulation and eliminating air leaks. In a new construction, quality windows and insulation are a must. Insulation has numerous benefits. Apart from reducing the energy requirements, it improves the thermal comfort too. In other words, it makes your home warmer in the winters and cooler in the summers. If you are doing everything to conserve energy, you may easily find you do not need to invest so much into renewable energy resources.
Energy Consumption in the Kitchen
Many ways present themselves to be more conscious of your carbon footprint inside your home. The kitchen area is a biggie in this respect. Are you aware that propane can power nearly any of your appliances in the kitchen? Propane can be used with your oven, stove, fryer, and broiler, among other things. Questions like how is propane made are important to pose to fully appreciate the energy efficient nature of this gas. Propane, as a primary energy source, takes much less energy to produce than electricity. Because it is a non-toxic fuel, it also produces no hazardous emissions taking you one step closer to a home fully retrofitted.
Once you reduce the load, only then is it worth considering alternative energy sources. The idea is to make your home a low-energy home or a carbon-neutral home. These kinds of homes release virtually no carbon dioxide. Solar panels, reflecting sunlight and absorbing less heat than a traditional roof, are of different kinds. Depending on the specific characteristics of your property, you can go for monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. There are pros and cons to all of them, and you are better off doing a bit of research before investing into one. Just to have a preliminary idea about the cost, thin-film solar panels would cost you the least, while monocrystalline ones would cost you the most. In terms of its function, you can differentiate between solar thermal panels for heating water and photovoltaics for producing electricity.
Secondary Carbon Footprint Factors
Hardcore zero-carbon homeowners pay attention to their lifestyles too. Ask yourself if there is anything in your daily routine that would need a bit of modification. Secondary factors to consider in terms of carbon footprint include diet, clothing, transportation, recycling, recreation, and even the financial services you use. It may sound surprising, but cutting back on meat consumption and preferring local produce over imported ones have a lot to do with your carbon footprint. The next time you have to choose between a hiking or a boating trip, stop for a second and think. Which of the two would emit less carbon dioxide? Consider whether grabbing your bicycle to visit friends living close by would make sense instead of using your car.
To wrap it up, before you think about zero-carbon investments, see what you can do to reduce your energy consumption right now. Only then, is it worthwhile pondering about self-generating energy sources. Propane inside your house and solar panels on top of it can make for a low-energy and low-running cost home. By being a bit more mindful about secondary factors, you can practically reduce your carbon footprint to zero.