Eco Friendly Apartments Come with Upgraded Appliances and Innovative MaterialsDownload Audio Version
Eco friendly apartments feature sustainable materials, green furniture, and health-conscious fixtures and systems that help reduce the carbon footprint. While some people think that going green in an apartment, which is a small space, is more difficult, there are smart technologies and solutions that reduce emissions and improve energy and thermal performance.
Green Building Features
Homeowners invest in air conditioning and heating systems, insulation, upgraded, energy-efficient appliances, and more. One of the most important considerations, however, is whether the apartment is properly sited. Avoid buildings that are located in sites such as forests and groundwater recharge zones. Sensible habitats are areas that support exotic, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species. Such areas contain nesting and breeding sites and include sand dunes, marine ecosystems, wetlands, and others. When looking for an apartment, choose a building that is constructed near subway, train, or bus lines. This way, you will save money on gas and will help reduce emissions.
Green buildings are designed with energy efficiency in mind and use resources such as geothermal, wind, and solar energy. Innovative technologies and materials such as structural insulated panels (SIPS) and ICF construction are used to provide good thermal insulation and to maximize energy efficiency. The core is made from polyurethane or polystyrene but some panels also incorporate sheet metal, plywood, or other materials. They are designed for different structural elements such as roofs, floors, and walls. The major advantages are that insulated panels are strong, durable, and rigid and make construction easier and faster. Green apartments are also built with the use of insulating concrete forms (ICF) that incorporate polystyrene foam. The main benefit for homeowners is energy efficiency. While ICF costs more than other forms of insulation, it is termite-proof and other materials are easy to attach (e.g. stucco, vinyl, etc.)
Design and Unusual Features
Architects increasingly use unusual features when designing eco friendly apartment buildings. Smooth planes and angles give way to textured surfaces and rounded edges. The apertures look like pod-shaped openings. They combine the features of plazas, balconies, and windows and are made of fiberglass. The openings are set in such a way that the apartments benefit from natural light. The apertures are also inhabitable and look like a room that is outdoors and indoors at the same time. LED lights are installed in the apertures and they change colors. According to architects, pod-shaped openings are a viable alternative to other green features such as solar panels.
Green Appliances and Technologies
Eco friendly apartments are equipped with energy-efficient appliances such as fridges, ranges, air conditioning, clothes dryers, and others. There are innovative devices that help residents to track their energy use from a display. The device allows homeowners to check their daily use on an outlet-by-outlet basis and reduce or adjust consumption. Customers can choose from a wide array of electronics and devices that have a light impact on nature. There are eco-friendly gaming and sound systems, portable devices, TVs, and many others. Major companies are in the process of developing sensors that sense light intensity and levels, temperature, and humidity. They can connect to applications on iPods and iPads.
Home electronics and gadgets will change in the next 5 – 10 years to meet the needs of green customers. From appliances that read emotions to gesture-recognition gadgets, electronics will interact with homeowners and will enhance their home atmosphere and environment. There is a wide range of energy-saving devices, including solar panels, cookers, and other technologies. And many more are in the process of development. A new device, invented by the high school student Eesha Khare charges mobile phones in about 20 seconds. Homeowners can also choose from an array of solar lamps and chargers that are powerful, energy-efficient, and compact. They are designed for outdoor and indoor use. Some devices are multifunctional and can be used as lamps and chargers.
Renting an Apartment
If you plan to move in, it is important to inspect all rooms and spaces for water- and energy-draining things such as running toilets, leaky faucets, and others. Ask about the type of insulation and whether the apartment is equipped with upgraded appliances and fixtures. One way to downsize and help the environment is to move in a micro apartment. This is a new housing trend for homeowners who are looking for ways to super-downsize their lifestyles. There is just enough room for a mini kitchen, bathroom, corner desk, and bed. Residents keep their possessions on hangers, hooks, and shelves. Micro apartments are more affordable and require less electricity and energy for cooling and heating. In many cases, utilities and internet are also included in the rent. Some residents dislike the fact that micro apartments rarely come with parking spaces.
LEED Certified Buildings
One way to go green is to rent or buy an apartment in a LEED certified building. They are built in compliance with strict criteria for air quality, reduction of pollution/carbon emissions, and water and energy conservation. LEED certified buildings should meet several criteria:
• Innovative design features;
• Resources and materials;
• Quality interior features;
• Energy efficiency;
• Water conservation;
• Sustainable site.
Builders use recycled and non-toxic materials, smart technologies, and energy-efficient appliances. What is more, many studies have shown that occupants are more productive and healthy. They report fewer sick days than other employees.
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