Green, Healthy & Smart: Welcome to the Home of the Future

2014-03-05T13:48:00Z Green, Healthy & Smart: Welcome to the Home of the FutureMichelle Krueger nwitimes.com
March 05, 2014 1:48 pm  • 

With the growing focus on sustainable living, it is becoming more apparent that along with energy efficiency improvements, quality construction and timely maintenance are at the heart of a healthy home. Beyond that, technological advances are providing convenience, control, money savings and an overall smarter home.

Here’s a look at how green, healthy and smart all come together for a more sustainable lifestyle.

While green homes are typically easier to achieve from the ground up, many people dedicated to the three R’s of reduce, reuse and recycle are looking at ways to achieve a green remodel. Either way, a green home starts with foundation waterproofing and moisture control, an insulated basement, walls and slab floors, advanced insulation techniques and air tightness, energy-efficient and high performance windows, energy efficient and sealed combustion appliances, high-efficiency air filtration, ventilation and humidity control plus environmentally-friendly, less toxic interior finishes.

Ultimately, a healthy home is dry, well ventilated and resistant to mold. It is free of pests, toxins and dangerous gases; it is clean and comfortable. Top considerations include how you can eliminate indoor pollutants including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, biological contaminants such as mold, bacteria, dust mites, pet dander, pollens and environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke).

Ideally, you want to control and improve moisture and humidity, ventilation and air filtration, as well as the use of non-toxic materials to ensure a healthier home.

Keep in mind that tightly built homes typically have blown-in insulation, an air and moisture barrier between the inside and outside of the home and energy efficient Low-E windows to keep dust, pollen and other unwanted fumes out of the home and reduces the escape of the conditioned air, so proper ventilation – air movement that enhances the air quality in the home - is very important.

Just as the concepts of green building and healthy homes have been around for decades but are just now becoming a regular part of the conversation when people are building or remodeling, there are many different methods for remotely controlling heating and air conditioning, lighting, appliances, security systems and other consumer electronics in the home that are gaining a great deal of attention right now.

Home automation now provides remote and automatic control for a wide array of devices in the home. As a result, home automation is alerting homeowners to events they need to know about right away - like water leaks or unexpected access to any part of their home. In addition it allows you to remotely control and change settings as desired making it more convenient to manage when lights are on or off, whether doors are locked or unlocked, the controls of home entertainment systems, the temperature settings on your thermostat (turn it down while away and readjust it for the optimal temperature before returning) and even shutting off sprinkler systems when it rains. With new technology and easier to use applications being introduced all the time, it’s looking more and more like the home of the future will be remotely connected to its owner.

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