WHAT DOES GREEN MEAN?
GREEN is a term now widely used to describe buildings designed and constructed with minimal negative impact to the environment and with an emphasis on conservation of resources, energy efficiency, and healthful interior spaces.
There are several economic considerations in regard to window film installations. For old, drafty, single-pane windows, complete window replacement is another option. Although this option is more expensive than window film installation, it may be more appropriate depending on your window condition. It may be most cost effective to install window films only on the south and west sides of the building. Window films typically cost between $1.35 and $3 per square foot, installed.
Improperly installed films can, however, bubble, crack, peel, or even cause the glass to crack, so it is worthwhile to buy films with a material and installation guarantee of 5 to 10 years.
Now, in houses with a south aspect, the sun’s rays penetrate into the porticoes in winter, but in summer, the path of the sun is right above the roof so that there is shade. If, then, this is the best arrangement, we should build the south side loftier to get the winter sun, and the north side lower to keep out the cold winds. Socrates, 360 B.C. Solar radiation can have an enormous influence on the heating and cooling required in a space. The sun often makes perimeter spaces uncomfortably hot, and it also creates glare and fades fabrics. Reducing solar gain (heating caused by solar radiation) offers very profitable opportunities for cooling-load reductions and energy savings. Heat can also be radiated out of the building through the windows in winter if outdoor temperatures are much lower than room temperature. Yet, the amount of heat lost through radiation is far less significant than that of other types of heat gain or loss.
Try do-it-yourself low-E windows. If your windows don’t have a low-E coating, consider applying a self-adhesive film on the glass. This treatment is a lot cheaper than replacing the units, and better-quality films are quite durable.
Lower the Thermostat:
Each degree you lower the thermostat on your heating system decreases your fuel bill by 3 percent.
Going from 72 degrees down to 68 degrees doesn’t matter much in terms of comfort, but it can save up to 12 percent on your heating bill. (All temperatures in this article are in degrees Fahrenheit.)
If you’re using a coil-type thermostat, you’ll get more accurate readings if you clean it. Pop off the thermostat cover and blow or gently swipe away the dust.
FOR AIR CONDITIONING
6 a.m. to 9 a.m. = 75 degrees
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. = 80 degrees
5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. = 75 degrees
11 p.m. to 6 a.m. = 80 degrees
Ceiling fans are everywhere in warm-weather climates. Spinning counterclockwise, they move air around the room. Not all energy experts feel it’s a good idea to use them in the heating season (doubters says they cool the air too much), but the fans do help bring heated air down to earth in rooms with cathedral or high-sloped ceilings. However, that’s only if you slide the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the winter (clockwise) position. Then run the fan at its lowest speed. If you can’t reverse the blade rotation or if you think the fan is cooling off the room too much, leave it off.
Heat lost or gain through windows accounts for 10 to 25 percent of your overall heating bill. Window films can be retrofitted to existing windows to reduce heat gain due to solar radiation and provide a low-cost cooling load reduction. Window films are thin layers of polyester, metallic coatings, and adhesives that save energy by limiting both the amount of solar radiation passing through the windows and the amount of internal heat escaping through windows. They can be applied directly to the interior surfaces of all types of glass and generally last 7 to 12 years.
Typically, in the heating season, more heat escapes from most windows than comes in from the sun (on a 24-hour basis); the extent depends on the local climate and the R-value of the window.
Window films can help reduce this costly heat loss by reflecting indoor radiant heat back into the room. In the cooling season, even when drapes and blinds are closed, much of the sun’s heat passes through the glass into the room. Window films address this problem by reducing solar heat gain at the window. In short, window films save energy by reducing radiation and other forms of heat transfer through windows, by allowing better balance in heating and cooling systems and by providing opportunities for HVAC downsizing.
Change Your Furnace Filter
If you have a forced-air system, changing the furnace filter can save you some energy (up to 5 percent) and keep dust down in the house. The system will last longer and be less likely to break down. The most popular 16 X 20-inch duct filter costs around 50 cents when bought by the box. Change them monthly during heating season. Measure your air filter before shopping; they range in size from 12 X 12 inches to 30 X 30 inches. An alternative to swapping out the replacement filter is to use washable filters (around $20 each). With care, they can last five years. Cost: Under $15 per year.
Energy Saving Resource Information.
Black Water – Water containing human waste from toilets and urinals. Black water contains pathogens that must be neutralized before the water can be safely reused. Typically black water, after neutralization, is used for non-potable uses such as flushing or irrigation.
Energy Efficiency – Ratio of energy output of a conversion process or of a system to its energy input.
Fossil Fuels – Fuels found in the earths strata that are derived from the fossilized remains of animal and plant matter over millions of years. Fossil fuels include oil, natural gas, shale, and coal. Fossil fuels are considered to be non-renewable since they are consumed faster than their natural production.
Fritted Glass – A special type of glass that utilizes ceramic-enamel coatings in a visible pattern (dots, lines, etc.) to control solar heat gain. The pattern is created by opaque or transparent glass fused to the substrate glass material under high temperatures. The substrate is heat strengthened or tempered to prevent breakage due to thermal stresses.
Fuel Cell – An electrochemical device in which hydrogen is combined with oxygen to produce electricity with heat and water vapor as by products. Natural gas is often used as the source of hydrogen with air as the source of oxygen. Since electricity is produced by a chemical reaction and not by combustion, fuel cells are considered to be green power producers. Fuel cell technology is quite old, dating back to the early days of the space program. Commercial use of fuel cells has been sporadic, however, the use of fuel cells in automobiles and buildings is expected to increase in the next decade.
Global Warming – An increase in the global mean temperature of the Earth that is (or is thought to be) a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases that are trapped within the earth’s atmosphere. Global warming is believed to have adverse consequences such as climate change and a rise in sea levels. The scientific community is in general agreement that the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 1°F in the past 140 years.
Green – A term that is widely used to describe a building and site that is designed in an environmentally sensitive manner, i.e. with minimal impact to the environment.
Green Building – A building that minimizes impact on the environment through resource (energy, water, etc.) conservation and contributes to the health of its occupants. Comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and healthful environments characterize green buildings.
Greenhouse Effect – Greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere permit solar radiation to pass through but prevent most of the reflected infrared radiation from the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere from escaping into outer space. This process occurs naturally and has kept the earth’s average surface temperature at approximately 60°F. Life on earth would not be possible without the natural greenhouse effect, but environmental scientists are concerned about the increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities, leading to climate change and its consequential adverse effects.
Greenhouse Gases – Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the earth’s atmosphere. Common greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halogenated fluorocarbons (HCFCs), perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), hydrofluoro-carbons (HFCs) and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6). Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides are of particular concern due to their long residence time in the atmosphere.
Green Power – Electricity generated from renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric).
LEED – An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a pointbased rating system developed by the US Green Building Council that evaluates the environmental performance from a “whole building” perspective over its life cycle, providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a green building according to six categories:
- Sustainable sites
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Materials and resources
- Indoor environmental quality
- Innovation and design process
Buildings evaluated by LEED are rated as certified, silver, gold, or platinum. There are a total of 69 LEED credits available in the six categories: 26 credits are required to attain the most basic level of LEED certification; 33 to 38 credits are needed for Silver; 39 to 51 credits for Gold; 52 to 69 credits for the Platinum rating.
Low-e Glass – Low-e (Low emissivity) glass has an invisible thin-film metallic or oxide coating which allows the passage of short-wave solar energy into a building but prevents long-wave energy produced by heating systems and lighting from escaping outside.
Non-renewable Energy Resources – Energy resources that cannot be restored or replenished by natural processes and therefore are depleted through use. Commonly used non-renewable energy resources include coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium.
Ozone (O3) – Ozone is a greenhouse gas present in the stratosphere and the troposphere. In the stratosphere, ozone provides a protective layer shielding the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. In the lower atmosphere ozone is a pollutant that causes respiratory problems and is an ingredient of smog.
R-Value – A unit of thermal resistance. A material’s R-value is a measure of the effectiveness of the material in stopping the flow of heat through it. The higher a material’s R-value, the greater its insulating properties and the slower the heat flow through it.
Renewable Energy Sources – Energy sources that replenish themselves naturally within a short period of time. Sources of renewable energy include solar energy, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, wind power, ocean thermal energy, wave power, wind power and fuel wood.
Solar Collector – A device used to absorb heat from the sun. In the context of buildings, the absorbed energy typically heats water, which is then used for space heating and/or domestic hot water.
Spectrally Selective Glazing – Glazing that has a high transmittance of visible light but low transmittance of solar heat gain.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) – Organic compounds that evaporate at room temperatures and are often hazardous to human health, causing poor indoor air quality. Sources of VOC’s include solvents and paints. Many materials commonly used in building construction such as carpets, furniture and paints emit VOC’s
Wind Turbine – A device that converts the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy that can be used to drive equipment such as pumps. The addition of a generator allows the wind’s kinetic energy to be converted into electricity. There are two types of wind turbines, namely: horizontal axis turbines – blades rotate about a horizontal axis; and vertical axis turbines – blades rotate about a vertical axis.