Green Communities

Green housing communities and residential buildings will continue to grow by large multiples over the next several years in the United States. McGraw-Hill Companies predict that the market share of green new construction be as large as 20% of all home starts and worth up to $70 billion by 2012. This sustainable housing market is selling strong despite the economic downturn since consumers recognize that the energy efficiency gains can amount to serious monthly savings. The danger is that "green" is a term used widely and is largely unregulated when developers promote their communities. Consumers are finding it more difficult to navigate the "green" housing market, oftentimes finding homes that claim to be green really aren't. This is called "greenwashing", a trend we will certainly see grow in the coming years. Fortunately, there have been several organizations which have created standards which measure all communities against the same benchmark. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has emerged as the most widely accepted. LEED assigns a rating to a home or neighborhood of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. The rating is based on a set of six widely reaching principals designed to assess the environmental friendliness of the community. has created a national website which displays information about many of the nation's leading green developments in a non biased and easy to understand way. Interested consumers can confidently research different green communities and compare the ones which they like best for their green features. Features which are displayed for each community include Price, home type, heating and cooling systems, windows and plumbing used, access to transportation and much more. Through the website, interested consumers can request a brochure, floor plans, or MLS listings from green agents in each geographical area.

About the Author:
This article is written by Luke Blahnik for Green Housing Developments. Get information about USA green homes for sale from Green Housing Developments.

Green Energy Home

With all the advances in green energy technology, it is easier than ever to start converting your home into a green energy home. A green energy home utilizes renewable resources to provide electricity, hot water, heat and peace of mind.

There are several ways to implement your green energy home plan. The first is solar energy. In a green energy home you can install solar hot water panels which heat and store water for use and you can install solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. These systems can be pricing if purchasing them and having them installed by a professional, but there are many great resources available to build your own solar panels and solar hot water systems that can reduce the cost greatly.

If you are just building your home, a great way to make it a green energy home is to implement passive solar design during construction. This means taking advantage of south facing sides of the house for heating and cooling. By installing lots of highly efficient windows and heat retaining bricks and stone on your south facing areas, you are taking advantage of passive solar techniques to develop your green energy home.

Another addition to the green energy home would be a windmill. Windmills are used to generate electricity from the renewable resource wind. Windmills can be installed on rooftops or in yards and offer pollution free electric. Windmills can be purchased from retailers or there are a wide variety of affordable kits available for the motivated do-it-yourselfers to handle the implementation of their own green energy home plans.

If you have a stream on your property, you may also add to the efficiency of your green energy home with hydroelectric power. This is also a great pollution free option that is easy to maintain and works as long as there is water available.

The ultimate green energy home would combine all of these resources. By using wind, water and solar to generate electricity you are looking not only at huge savings and possible profits from your electricity usage, but you would truly be green as each of these options contributes little to global warming. To further combine passive solar design and solar hot water systems, you are reducing your energy needs exponentially and truly living the dream of going green.

A green energy home doesn't require more maintenance than traditional homes. Solar technologies require little to no maintenance and wind and water turbines require only regular oiling for peak performance. There is no better time to create your green energy home and start living your dreams in green.

About the Author:
Susmanto Hadi is independent author and writing some books. Search Your Finance and Car to Shopping and Travel Around The World With Computer on Hand.Start here: and Stop Global Warming-Use Renewable Energy is here:

Today's Sustainable Design Home Plans

In today's world, it is important to make many considerations when designing a home. Going green is vital to our future and today's sustainable design home plans reflect this need.

Sustainable home design is defined as the philosophy of designing a home with its environment and services focused with emphasis on economic, social and ecological responsibility providing a minimal environmental impact.

When designing a sustainable home, it is an integrated design process between the architect, engineers, and design team and of course, their client at all stages on construction. From the site selection, design formation, material selected and how they are procured on up to their implementation.

The following are some options for sustainable design home plans. These include some building designs that have been in existence for quite a while and are now being reconsidered due to their beneficial nature.

Passive solar home. These homes can be heated almost entirely by the sun or can have south-facing windows that provide a fraction of the heating. The key to designing a sustainable passive solar home is to take advantage of the climate where you live and customize your home to maximize its benefits.

Earthships/Rammed Earth. An earthship house is made up of rammed earth and tires. When constructing this home, the tires are stacked like bricks with dirt packed in each tire firmly. Once the tires are packed, they create a strong and quite thick wall. These walls help make these dwellings energy efficient by storing heat and releasing it slowly. By doing this, the interior temperature is kept more constant. Another good feature is that these homes are fire and insect resistant.

Adobe. A more familiar option is adobe, which is actually the name of the construction material rather than the design. These homes are typically found in dry climates and the bricks are made with tightly compacted earth, clay, and straw. These natural components make this construction eco-friendly. A similar style of sustainable home design is a Cob House. Like adobe construction, the materials comprise of clay-like lumps of soil, sand, and straw. However, this material is not made into bricks but can be sculpted into the form desired.

Underground homes. These homes are also called Earth Sheltered Homes. These dwellings are characterized by being located mostly under the surface of the ground. By being underground, the home has natural insulation, making it energy efficient and inexpensive to heat and cool. Most homes are located on a hillside with good drainage. To provide more light, the windows may be oriented in a south direction or a skylight may be added.

Whatever your choice for a sustainable design home plan, you are guaranteed a unique home with energy efficiency and character. You can be happy that your impact on the environment is much less than with traditional wood-frame home construction. The eco-friendly nature of your home and the money saved in the long run make your choice to build a sustainable home the right one.

About the Author:
Whether you need architectural drawings in Toronto or Toronto drafting services, we offer professional drafting and project management services for any of your Home Improvement, Renovation, Building or Construction projects, and BCIN in Toronto.

Well, a lot of people assume that landscaping because it's with plants means that it's naturally green and environmentally friendly, but that's not true. There is a lot of plants that people use in the landscape that are very hard to grow here and they require a lot of work, pesticides, they require a lot of fertilizers and lot of care and water. So what I did here is look for plants that were native to this area, so that they had a natural resistance to disease, to the pest and water requirements.

The patio in the back is a flagstone patio, but it's set in a permeable base and what we did there, it's a natural drainage area for the backyard and we have to figure out what to do with the water but still have a nice usable patio. So what we do, we use some reclaimed concrete, it's called R base which is also environmentally friendly because it's not going into landfill. They crush it, we use that as the base below it and then we set the stone in and planted mondo grass and what that area does, it allows the water from the backyard to run into it and percolate through that down into the soil. It takes any pollutants, any pesticides, fertilizers out and allows the water to go back into the ground water clean.

The irrigation system is called the SmartLine by company called Weathermatic and it is designed to save water and to use water smarter. It's what it does, from the head that were used to the controller and it has a weather station. Now, the weather station allows it to based on your zip code and where you live and weather conditions. Everyday it measures evaporation, what they call, evapotranspiration which is the amount of moisture in the air and so it knows what's going on around your yard.

Building A Residential Solar Power System

One of the reasons that people sometimes hesitate to install a residential solar power system is that they're under the mistaken impression that solar power is not going to last. They may think that it's just some kind of modern fad, and that solar power has a good chance of going out of style in the near future. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Solar power is actually one of the few sources of power that is permanent. It goes back to the beginning of human history, and it will stay with us for as long as civilization exists.

In other words, next to solar power, the fossil fuels that we currently rely on are fleeting things. Against the backdrop of history, they'll be swept away before we know it. That's why, if you're thinking of building a residential solar power system, you're taking part in a long tradition, and you're making a statement about the importance of energy that is permanently sustainable.

Ancient Origins of Solar Energy

If you think about it, solar energy is what powers the Earth. It's what makes life possible; it feeds our whether patterns, it makes our crops grow; and it evaporates or melts the water that feeds our rivers. So, even before humans came about, the sun was doing it's work.

The Ancient Greeks were the first to consciously harness the power of the sun for light and heat. They invented the practice of building architecture specifically designed to harness the sun to create light and to heat the rooms inside of a building. This helped reduce the need for heat created through wood burning. It may not be the same as a modern residential solar power system, but it is a beginning.

Solar Power in Modern Times

The first modern versions of solar power were created in the late 1800s, when a few inventers pioneered the early versions of the systems that we use today. Although some working solar power collectors were created in England, France, and the U.S., all were too expensive to operate in the long-term, and plans for widespread use of solar power were abandoned.

The fact is that functional modern solar power depends upon the types of scientific advancements that weren't made until the early to mid 1900s. For example, Einstein's discovery of the photoelectric effect is directly applied in every modern residential solar power system.

But even when the science was there, for a long time, there was still no economic need for the development of efficient solar power systems. For much of the 20th century, we were just fine with our fossil fuel options. However, beginning in the 1970s, oil prices began to fluctuate wildly. Given the volatility of the international oil market, it was only natural that people would start looking into alternatives.

Finally, now that we have a better grasp of fossil fuels' negative effects on the environment, alternative sources of energy are beginning to make their way into the mainstream. In fact, in a few more years, a residential solar power system will no longer be considered "alternative" at all.

About the Author:
Rodney Strange is a environmentalist, writer, and contributing editor of the solar power system for home blog. To read all about solar systems for your home visit

Furniture with Recycled Materials
It has become evident that our lifestyles can either have a negative or positive impact on the environment. With dwindling natural resources and our environment becoming increasingly more contaminated with pollutants, more people are now choosing lo live in a way that has the least negative impact on the planet. One such way is furnishing our homes with furniture constructed of recycled materials. Many people are even choosing to build furniture using recycled materials. If you are going to build small furniture, there are numerous recycled materials that that can be used.

The following are a number of tips to build your own small furniture with recycled materials:
  1. When purchasing wood, use wood that has been certified sustainable wood. This is wood that comes from forests that practices sustainable harvesting. This ensures that you are not buying wood from companies that practices clear cutting. As well, wood such as bamboo is a popular green choice as bamboo grows back quickly so the forests are not being depleted when bamboo is harvested. Although bamboo is a grass, it can be made into flooring, shaped into furniture, and made into window blinds. Most bamboo growers do not use pesticides.
  2. Another method of making furniture is acquiring second hand furniture. You can strip the furniture, apply non toxic stains and paints as well make any repairs. Once completed, you will have a piece of furniture such as a dresser, desk, chair, and table that looks brand new. By reusing and recycling old furniture, you are contributing to the reduction of pollution and green office furniture going into the atmosphere due to large manufacturing practices of new furniture. It is important to look for furniture that is strong and long lasting. As well, look for furniture that is durable and fixable.
  3. Building furniture using reclaimed material is another way to help the environment. Reclaimed wood usually comes from industry left over wood, old furniture, wood from buildings and houses, or flawed wood that cannot be used by a manufacturer. You can use this wood to build just about any type of small furniture that can include chairs, tables, bed frames, desks, dressers, and much more. Small furniture made from reclaimed wood is an energy conserving and forest protecting way of building.
  4. Using recycled metal and plastic is a great way to build small furniture. Metal and plastic can be used for furniture legs, the backing to a seat, and for constructing patio tables and chairs.
Brand new industrial produced furniture contains harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are hazardous to one's health. The toxic off-gasses that are released into the air in one's home have been linked to health conditions such as cancer, and birth defects. As well, flame retardants and formaldehyde are common hazardous off-gasses released from new furniture. It is important to be aware of toxins and chemicals that can be present in the air of our homes. Building small furniture made out of recycled materials is one way we can help the environment and reduce the amount of toxins in our homes.

About the Author:
As you spend long hours at an office, having comfortable office workstation furniture is very important. While global office furniture offers multiple drawers, it helps to remain organized. Green office furniture also offers stability and interesting designs.