Friday, August 30, 2013
The Green Standard
Lets start with my favorite Green Feature; The Green Roof. With so many Baltimore Row Homes that have flat roofs, this makes them perfect candidates for Green Roofs. A lot of Row Homes have rooftop gardens which are great additions but do they reduce cooling bills? Green Roofs do. That's not the best part either, they reduce storm water runoff. Storm water runoff, when mixed with pavement and oils that leak on to the road, through the sewer and pollute the bay. This is why the Rain Tax was implemented. If the rain can be stopped at the rooftop and water the garden instead, that will reduce the amount of tainted water polluting the bay.
For the next Green device we remain on the roof for all the important solar panels. What better way to save on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint than harnessing the Sun's free natural energy source? These days it's never been more affordable to have Solar Panels installed. Coupled with a green roof your home's energy bills will plummet.
Next we go underground to harness still more free energy from Mother Earth. This time we will use the natural heat of the underground. This temperature remains the same regardless of what time of year it is and what the above ground temperature is. This can be harnessed through "Geothermal Wells." These are usually fields a few feet away from the house and there are coils that hook up to the HVAC system. In Baltimore there are tons of under utilized alleyways that can be converted into Geothermal Wells with grass covering them instead of concrete. This reduction in concrete will help the City's Urban Heat Island as will Green Roofs. The Urban Heat Island is when the temperature in the City is higher than in greener areas because of the lack of trees and excess of tar and concrete. If no cars park in these converted alleyways, they can be used as Pocket Parks and Gardens.
Next we go inside the house to look at water consumption. Let me blunt, we as a society waste too much water. It isn't always our fault though, it's just the way that water based appliances have been built up until recently. That's why New Home Builders and Rehabbers alike should listen carefully. First there's the obvious; Hot Water Heaters. Just look at the size of those things. To heat water that massive tank must be filled with water. Sounds efficient right? I didn't think so either. That's why new homes and rehabs should be fitted with tankless water heaters. It heats the water being used and that's it. No massive tank and no excess water.
When showering there's that time where you're applying soap and shampoo and you're not standing where the water is. Yet, the water is still running and you're wasting said water as well as upping your water bill. New homes should be outfitted with a shut off valve in each shower so that when you're applying soap and shampoo the water isn't running thus saving water and money. When it's time to rinse off, simply turn the water back on and feel good about the water and money you have saved.
Last but not least we have the high efficiency Washing Machine. I lived in a house that had one for a few months and watching how little water it used was mesmerizing. The same holds true with Dishwashers newer models are built to save on water and electricity. New homes and rehabs that are outfitted with these energy savers should be given a tax credit for saving a valuable natural recourse.
Now lets imagine all of these energy saving measures done on a grand scale. With all of the new and rehabbed housing coming down the pipeline with all of them having these things the amount of pollution, urban heat island, and will save vast amounts of natural resources and tax payer money. We must truly hold Baltimore up to the Green Standard.