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Insulation, Energy Efficiency, Eco and Green Issues

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Solar Power

Passive solar gain can be obtained by the right design in the right orientation, taking full advantage of the sun with perhaps the addition of south facing conservatories. Keep as many windows as possible, especially of habitable rooms, from the northern elevations. Simple rather than complex shapes are also more energy efficient. Active solar gain can be obtained by the use of solar panels to heat the hot water and at certain times of the year this can half your hot water heating energy requirements. Photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity can provide all or most of a homes electricity requirements when backed up with battery storage. These systems are expensive and might not provide a reasonable payback. Geothermal heating, using the latent heat from the earth, air or water, is becoming more feasible with the use of heat pumps. These basically act like a refrigerator in reverse, taking the latent heat from the earth by means of loops of underground pipe and converting it to useful hot water.

Sheet Materials

When it comes to sheet materials, plywood and sterling board tend to be chosen over chipboard and MDF because of the non-biodegradable glues used in the manufacture of these products. Likewise, timber windows tend to be favoured over PVC and aluminium windows because of the high energy cost of manufacture of the latter two types.

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