Category : geothermal

Could Carbon-Positive Prefab Homes Be the Homes of the Future?

modular-homes-cabins-cottages

If you haven’t heard, prefabricated homes (also called modular homes) have been growing in popularity. These homes are manufactured off-site and are then shipped to a desired location and assembled. They’re quick to put together, durable, can fit in small spaces, and can often cost less than designing and building a home from scratch.

Just recently, an Australian architecture firm took the prefab house to a whole new level by creating one that actually produces more energy than it uses. The world’s first home of its kind features things like:

  • In-ground cooling tubes
  • Solar panels
  • Heat-trapping sunroom
  • Australian plywood walls and ceilings
  • Green, thermally insulated roof
  • Planter boxes for herbs and vegetables
  • Double-glazed, draft-proof windows
  • Air-tight build to save more energy.

As long as a home like this is built in a place where it can consistently access sunlight, it could save around 1,120 tons of carbon emissions over its lifespan (around 100 years); that’s the equivalent of 267 cars being taken off the road. It’s because of this that the home is considered beyond a “carbon zero” home and instead, what’s called a “carbon positive” home, since it actually produces energy on site.

So how much does a house like this cost? In Australia, they’re going for between 260,000 and 406,000 Australian dollars, which is between $203,000 and $317,000 American dollars.

The average American household uses almost 11,000 kilowatt hours of energy every year, so if this trend catches on, it could mean significant energy savings for both the homeowners and the surrounding areas.

To see pictures of the first carbon-positive prefab home, click here. And if you’re interested in seeing the installation of a one-bedroom, two-bathroom prefab home by the same Australian architect, click here.


Geothermal vs. Solar: Which Is Right for You?

solar energy

As a homeowner, you probably use electricity, natural gas, or oil to power your home. Over the past several years two other energy sources have emerged: geothermal and solar. Both of these sources use the power of nature to produce energy and can save you money on your monthly bills, but which is right for you?

How They Work

First, we’ll give you a brief description of how each energy source works: Solar power uses solar panels, which are often installed on your roof. These panels capture the light from the sun and turn it into a usable electricity. Geothermal power uses the heat from the earth to control a looped underground system, which can then heat or cool your home.

Location

Before you consider an alternative source of energy for your home, first consider your location. Solar power relies on the sun, so if you live in an area that’s constantly cloudy, you might not benefit from it as much as you could. And geothermal power, while beneficial in every region, is incredibly effective when producing heat, so a home in a colder area is an idea candidate.

Price

The cost of a geothermal heat pump installation and the cost of a solar panel installation both depend on the size of your home and how much energy you use. While the average cost of a geothermal heat pump is between $20,000 and $25,000, a solar panel installation can vary based on how many solar panels you decide to use (but is typically between $10,000 and $20,000).

Money Savings

The amount of money you save with an alternative energy source depends on the bills you’re trying to cut down. If your home is powered by oil or natural gas and you choose to install solar panels, your solar panels will only save you money on your electric bill. However, if you opt for a geothermal heat pump installation, it will save you money on your heating and cooling bills.

Choosing to use geothermal energy or solar energy is a big decision. Talk to one of our experts – we can help you decide which is your best investment.