Monday, 9 August 2010

Green Houses

While cutting the carbon emissions of big industry may be a priority, it is still sometimes good to know that across the world changes are being made to ensure that the average household can do their bit to reduce energy bills and switch to cleaner renewable sources. There is no global blueprint in this respect, but perhaps by looking at the bills, legislation and habits of different countries we can pick up a few ideas to make sure our homes are as green as possible;

                                                                                     Photo Credit: Filomena Scalise

Homestar Energy/Cash for Caulkers (USA)
This proposed $6 billion plan to retrofit existing houses so that they are more energy efficient, saving money on utility bills and creating new jobs, is intended not just to reduce the emissions of the average household, but also to stimulate the economy at a time of recession. Renovations and changes on offer include wall insulation, window replacement and geothermal pump installation. For more information on who and what qualifies, check out this article by Neal Huston, giving a more detailed breakdown.

ISIS Solar (England)
Following the recent introduction of the Feed In Tariff, ISIS Solar now offers home owners with a clear southern facing roof, the chance to have solar panels installed and maintained free of charge. On the agreement that the owner commits to a 25 year placement of ISIS equipment, they could benefit from reduced energy bills of up to £300 a year.

Scandinavian Homes Ltd (Republic of Ireland)
Galway based company, taking inspiration from Swedish property design techniques and traditions, Scandinavian Homes build new houses with an emphasis on energy-efficiency . High levels of insulation and an airtight building envelope, in addition to ventilated heat-recovery systems and triple glazed, low-emission-argon filled glass, are employed to ensure that homes are kitted out to be low energy users and heat retainers from the start. Since 1991 the company has built 265 homes with this design ethos in mind.

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