EPA has developed this green home Web site to provide Americans with credible, easy-to-use information on greening their homes, including:
- Reducing home energy use and using renewable energy
- Reducing home water use and protecting water resources
- Selecting the most environmentally friendly location for a new home
- Choosing greener home building materials and household products
- Reducing waste from home construction and household activities and increasing recycling
- Protecting your health from environmental hazards that occur in homes
The green home Web site is an "umbrella" Web site for EPA and other federal agency information on residential environmental issues. The site provides introductory information and links in an organized fashion for the homeowner to access more detailed information. For energy issues, this site links extensively to the EPA-DOE ENERGY STARŪ program.
EPA's green home Web site:
- Provides information on a wide-range of options for greening a home.
- Provides information for all types of residents and circumstances, including renters,
- Provides information for homeowners who want to ?green? their homes to different degrees, with varying levels of resources and effort, from minor changes to major renovations.
- Aims to help residents prioritize among environmental and health issues and options.
- Has no commercial interests or advertising.
- Provides science-based information primarily from federal government sources. All information provided on this site has been reviewed by EPA experts.
In particular, this Web site empowers the public to reduce global climate change from home. Climate change is caused primarily by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) to generate energy. In fact, most of the energy we use in our homes comes from burning fossil fuels, either on-site or at power plants that produce our electricity. Consuming fossil fuel energy releases carbon dioxide, a ?greenhouse gas? (and other pollutants) into the atmosphere which contributes to climate change. The vast majority of energy in the U.S. is still generated by burning these fossil fuels; only a small fraction of energy is generated through clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Residential buildings account for 20% of all energy used in the U.S., and are responsible for 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The use of energy is related to virtually everything we do, or have in our homes. Obvious uses include using electricity to run appliances, electronics, and air conditioners, etc.; less obvious uses include consuming energy to purify and produce and convey water to our homes, and to make the products we purchase for use in our homes. If we take steps to green our homes, we can reduce energy use, save money, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and help to fight global warming and climate change.
EPA?s ENERGY STARŪ Web site presents information on numerous ways to reduce energy consumption, including what to do during a home renovation to increase energy efficiency, easy and affordable energy home retrofits that you can do without renovating your home, and modifying everyday behaviors to consume less energy. Wherever detailed information is desired on energy saving ideas, tools, or information, ENERGY STARŪ Web site links are provided in this Web site. The same approach is used for WaterSense, IndoorAirPlus and other EPA programs.
Homes have significant environmental impacts beyond energy and climate change. Water use and water resources protection is another critical concern. Between 1950 and 2000, the U.S. population nearly doubled, but in that same period, public demand for water more than tripled. Homes use far more water than other types of buildings, and opportunities abound for cutting water use through simple strategies like upgrading faucets and fixtures, and changing landscaping and maintenance routines.
The home construction and renovation industry is vital to our nation?s economy, and it generates countless opportunities to create markets for green building materials and practices that utilize recycled materials and/or use less toxic ingredients or components. If you are building a new home or renovating your home, you now have a wide range of greener options in construction techniques and materials, appliances, lighting, flooring, countertops, furnishings, paints and finishes, and several other aspects of construction. This Web site will introduce you to those options and their key considerations for you to discuss with your retailer, architect or contractor, or implement yourself.
Households generate a significant amount of waste, which has a big impact on the environment. This site provides information on recycling opportunities and insights into the reduction of home waste generation. This site also provides information on recycling construction and demolition debris during renovation, and buying recycled products to ?close the loop?.
Finally, homes are a place where we spend significant amounts of our time on a daily basis. As such, it is very important to have a healthful home environment, including good indoor air quality. This Web site provides information on how to enhance the healthiness of your home as you explore the process of greening your home.
Not only can a greener home be more energy and water efficient, it also can have a reduced carbon footprint, be less expensive to operate, and be a healthier place to live. But it?s important to understand that not everything advertised as ?green? always succeeds in meeting these goals. Hopefully this Web site will help you navigate your way through the green claims you encounter.
EPA wants to hear from users who have questions, comments or suggestions on how to improve this Web site. Please Contact Us with your thoughts.