Technology can help you lower your utility bills, increase your comfort levels and improve your home’s air quality.
Five Wilmette homes were highlighted June 16 on the ecoBuild Architectural Bicycle Tour. The intent of the tour, according to event coordinator, Scott Krone of CODA, a Wilmette-based architecture firm, was to showcase easy and affordable “green” steps that all homeowners should consider.
Architects and vendors were on hand at each home to explain details and products used in creating the 5 different, but equally beautiful homes. Even if you missed the tour, you can still be inspired by these homes.
“Green” means much more than “eco-friendly.” Recycled materials, smaller homes and rain gardens certainly help the environment, but homeowners and communities also benefit from reduced costs, lower maintenance and less waste. Several tour homes featured cabinetry and flooring made from wood re-purposed from different projects, which decreases building and disposal costs.
Any style home can be green, not just modern designs. The architecture of the homes ranged from traditional to more contemporary, yet, despite remarkably different aesthetics, all of the homes share common elements such as high-energy efficiency, water-conserving faucets and sustainably produced materials.
Going “green” can help save “green.” All of the tour homes boast extremely high insulation values and enjoy large energy savings, but each accomplishes this in very different ways. Some use state-of-the-art energy systems, such as solar panels or geo-thermal heating and cooling pumps. Others use lower cost alternatives to dramatically reduce utility costs like whole-house central fans and skylights for natural light.
It’s not hard to do. The homes’ kitchens use Energy Star appliances, gorgeous low-flow water faucets and halogen light fixtures that could be installed in any home. Also, many of the finishes in homes’ baths are made of recycled content or certified “green” products that can be purchased locally and easily.
Even small steps can help. Homeowners don’t have to knock down their homes and start over to get “green” benefits. Many of the ideas presented, like installing awnings over southern and western facing windows to block the sun from heating up interior spaces, can be done on any home, in any style and at any budget.
As summer heats up, and with it our homes, you may want to join your neighbors in thinking “green.”
Tour sponsors included:
A&B Hardwood Flooring