energy efficient home maine

Green Living: Five Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

We love collaborations! So when Susie Wilson of Happier Home reached out to us and wanted to share some tips and tricks for eco friendly living, we were happy to oblige! We hope you enjoy!Green Living: Five Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly, By Susie WilsonA lot has changed in the way we perceive and treat our environment. More and more people are beginning to open their eyes to how much of an impact our daily lives can have on the sky, land and sea that we depend on. Today, we are taught how we each have our own ecological-footprint, and the best way to make a positive difference on the environment is by reducing our own footprint as much as possible.As homeowners, there are many ways we can reduce our ecological-footprint and help preserve our environment that we rely so heavily on. What a lot of homeowners are realizing is that even small changes can have a huge positive impact for our environment. Here are five ways you can make your home more eco-friendly.Make Your Home More Energy EfficientA huge part of being more environmentally conscious, is simply being more efficient in the ways we use energy at home. Most homes are connected to the electrical grid and have running water. The more energy and water we draw from the grid has a bigger impact on the environment, but also costs us more. This creates a direct correlation between saving the environment and saving money. By making sure our home is properly insulated and that our toilets and faucets aren’t leaking we can not only spare the environment, but also save some money on our utility bills.Switch to LED LightingIn recent years, many households have increased their efficiency simply by switching the bulbs in their lighting fixtures. Thanks to advancements in LED and CFL technology, we now have lights that are twice as bright, last twice as long, and draw about half the energy as traditional bulbs. This has drastically cut into the amount of energy a household draws from its local power plant, meaning a significantly less impact on the environment.Go PaperlessMost people understand that paper comes from trees, but trees also play a more pivotal role in our environment. Trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, which is integral not only for the air we breathe, but also ridding the atmosphere of chemicals that trap heat and contribute to global warming. A great way to save trees and reduce our ecological-footprint is by using less paper in our daily lives. We can do this by going paperless in our mail, as well as relying more on reusable writing surfaces such as chalk or whiteboards.Ditch Plastic BottlesEach year, billions of plastic bottles find their way in to landfills all across the world. It can take years for these bottles to decompose and what’s left is harmful trash that makes its way into our streams and oceans. The straightforward answer to this ecological conundrum is to ditch plastic bottles all together. Safe, reusable drinking containers can make a huge difference in your ecological footprint, and if you really want to take it to the next level, collect and store your own drinkable rainwater with a rain barrel.CompostWhenever we produce waste, our initial impulse is to get rid of it as soon as possible. To be more ecologically friendly, we need to start thinking of better ways we can use our waste. A solution that many eco-friendly homeowners use is composting. Compositing is when you take waste and other biological dead matter, and save it until it begins to decompose. After this process begins to take place, you can then repurpose your waste as organic material to use as soil for your plants and gardens.These are just a few ways that you can make a difference. As members of the planet Earth, it’s our moral duty to take care of the environment and make sure we use the Earth’s resources responsibly. Whenever looking into your current home, or even when looking into buying a new home, consider how you can make a decision that not only benefits you, but for the environment as well. 

Panelized Construction: Why We Build

You may or may not have seen that Bensonwood is rolling out a new division of their company called Tektoniks where they are combining their knowledge from Bensonwood and Unity homes to help supply the market with something it desperately needs: Better Homes with Panelized ConstructionPrefab, modular and panelized construction has gotten a bad name over the years. People often associate it with low quality housing, but that's not really the case.  Look back to the start of kit housing and the Sears catalog and you'll see that they sold over 70,000 homes between 1902 and 1940. The kit of parts was delivered to the site and often raised in a "barn raising" type style. It supplied a need for housing in the country that was quick and affordable. And to be honest, pretty stylish.Somewhere along the lines we lost some of that stylish design, the adherence to quality, and the ability to move forward in the building industry building BETTER homes, not just cheaper homes.But I digress, what does panelized construction have to do with today's housing needs? As an architect working with zero energy and super insulated houses, I find panelized construction fascinating. We've been using it on one of our developments in Maine for the last several years.We started with a framer that builds the walls in a shop, delivers them to the site, and 3 days later we have a shell. Framing them in the shop cuts down on time, often taking a 9-12 month build down to 6 months.  The quality control and material control can cut waste and job site debris down by almost 25%. And when you're building indoors, weather delays aren't an issue. So while the site is being prepped, framing is happening at the same time. But our framer, he's busy. I wish we had 2 or 3 more to help with construction right now.But how are they different? Why is this different than SIPS panels or modular construction? These are prototypes of zero energy homes. We spend hours in design development working out the systems to cut down on thermal bridging, orient the home the right direction, and provide really great spaces. We are very strict about the materials we use cutting out as much foams, plastics, and formaldehyde products. They are custom homes where we eliminate as much square footage as possible while still spending the time to make spacious areas and a spot for everything. More square footage isn't better, it's just more. In a world where we are seeing people going back to their roots, wanting less, spending more time outside of the home or in a community, this seems like the right answer. Minimizing the impact of building, the buildings impact on environment, and most importantly celebrating it's impact on the occupants. Our health and welfare can be directly linked to where we live.So why aren't we building better? Well the answer is, here at Mottram Architecture, we are.Stay tuned for updates on how the next Live Solar Maine house is going: