An eco-house, also called a green or environmentally friendly house, is a residential dwelling that makes sustainability and environmental concerns a top priority in design and function. Rather than simply being a hip or trendy item for rich buyers, an eco-house can also save residents a considerable amount of money on gas, electricity, and water bills. Since the end of the 20th century, world leaders and environmental experts have attempted to emphasize the need for green living and environmentally safe practices in a world rapidly running short of natural resources. Building or converting a home into an eco-house may help people do their part to protect the planet and foster an eco-conscious community.
Houses that are constructed to be green typically have several features in common. Most feature sustainable construction materials, such as recycled insulation, bamboo flooring, and eco-friendly paint. Many include pre-installed appliances that are energy-efficient, like low flush toilets and energy-certified washers and dryers. Another popular feature in an eco-house is the installation of solar panels, allowing the home to function frequently on stored solar power instead of common-use electricity.
An eco-house does not necessarily need to be newly constructed. Simply making energy-saving decisions can help turn a standard home into an eco-house. By wrapping water heaters in an insulation blanket, energy use can be cut by nearly 30%. According to some experts, unplugging appliances when they are not in use can also lead to an enormous drop in energy bills. Even easy measures such as rigging a clothes line instead of using the dryer, or allowing dishes to air dry instead of using the dishwasher drying function, can help a house become more green.
Some people may want to convert an older house into an eco-house by updating construction and features. Purchasing double-paned windows and glass doors can help increase insulation, leading to lower usage of air conditioning or heaters. Depending on where the house is, installing solar panels may lead to huge tax breaks and deductions. Replacing old, energy-eating appliances with newer conservation-friendly models can also vastly increase efficiency and lower power use.
The market for eco-housing seems to be on the upswing, with several building and real estate companies now focusing primarily on environmentally-friendly homes. In urban areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, multi-family residences with a green sensibility are becoming popular in new construction. In the 21st century, some experts believe that the eco-house will become the mainstay of residences, as humans continue to evolve their daily lives to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.