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Green Home – Day Dream or a Reality
Asima Nisar*
Abstract – Green behavior into homes comprises of environmental sustainability, energy conservation, efficient residential resource consumption management, etc. This technical note provides an overview of the Green Home concept, Green Building essentials with its Environmental, Economic, Social benefits and lastly the Greening requirements. Index Terms – Green Home, Green Building, Eco-friendly Material

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Oing green is the latest trend towards which people from every culture are molding their lifestyles and opting for greener ways. People are looking forward to make their homes ‘green’ and environmentally friendly [1]. So, first it should be clear that what the ‘Green home’ actually is. A Green Home is a type of house that is designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, focusing on the efficient use of energy, water, and building materials. In general, a green home is a type of house that is built or remodeled in order to conserve “energy or water; improve indoor air quality; use sustainable, recycled or used materials; and produce less waste in the process.” This may include buying more energy-efficient appliances or utilizing specific building materials that are more efficient in keeping both cool and heated air inside the structure [2]. 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 [3]. Shortly, green home’s concept is just about creating better homes that are easier on the environment, less expensive over the long term, and more delightful to come home to [6]. In Section 2, Green Home, its Components, and Green Building concept are illustrated as Background, Green Building Essentials with its Environmental, Economic, and Social Benefits, its components and types are discussed in section 3. Greening Requirements are mentioned in section 4. Online Sources are put in section 5.

Many different organizations sprung up in the 1990s in order to promote green buildings and some were also dedicated to improving the knowledge of consumers so that they could have more green homes. The International Code Council and the National Association of Home Builders began the paperwork in 2006 in order to create a ‘Voluntary Green Home Building Standard”. The Energy Policy Act was legalized in 2005, which allowed tax reductions for homeowners that could show their utilization of energy efficient changes to their homes, such as solar panels and other solar-powered devices. In March of 2007, New Zealand bank Westpac became the ‘First New Zealand bank’ to offer a ‘Green’ home loan [2].

2.1 Components of a Green Home
When one talks about a green home, the first thing which comes into mind is the usage of eco-friendly material in the construction of the house. Though a lot of people know that there exists something called eco-friendly material, most people have no idea what it really is. Green buildings are constructed in a way that the material used in building these homes are not only sustainable materials, but they use things which are also energy-efficient. This means that devices, gadgets, and electronic appliances are installed in the home which save energy and minimizes the use of anything which degrades the environment or depletes natural resources. This reciprocally helps to maximize the natural resources found in the environment [1].

The original major modern turn to the green building movement began in the 1970’s, after the price of oil began to increase sharply. In response, researchers began to look into more energy efficient processes, following in the wake of the earlier environmental movement.


* Asima Nisar is Assistant Professor in Dept. of Computer Science & I.T., Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, Gulshan Campus, Karachi – 75300, Pakistan. Fig. 1 Green Home – A Look [5] © 2012 Journal of Computing Press, NY, USA, ISSN 2151-9617



2.2 Green Building
Green building or sustainable building means being smart about how we use energy, water, and building materials so that we can live well without needlessly damaging the environment [6]. The buildings in which we live, work and play protect us from nature’s extreme, yet they also affect our health and environment in countless ways. As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new field called ‘Green Building’ is gaining momentum. Green or sustainable building is the practice of creating, and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance, and demolition [7].

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Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources, Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity, Reducing waste, pollution, and environmental degradation.

There are a number of reasons to build green, including potential environmental, economic, and social benefits, mentioned below [7]:

3.2 Environmental Benefits
    Enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems Improve air and water quality Reduce waste streams Conserve and restore natural resources

Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughtout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high performance building [7].

3.3 Economic Benefits
    Reduce operating costs Create, expand, and shape markets for green product and services Improve occupant productivity Optimize life-cycle economic performance

3.1 Impacts of the Built Environment
The built environment has a vast impact on the natural environment, human health, and the economy. Impacts of the built environment are as under [7]:
Table 1: Showing Multiple Aspects of Built Environment [7]
Aspects of Built Environment Consumption Environmental Effects Ultimate Effects

3.4 Social Benefits
    Enhance occupant comfort and health Heighten aesthetic qualities Minimize strain on local infrastructure Improve overall quality of life




Harm to Human Health Environment Degradation Loss of Resources

3.5 Components of Green Building
Components of Green Building include [7]:        Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Water Efficiency Environmentally Preferable Building Materials and Specifications Waste Reduction Toxics Reduction Indoor Air Quality Smart Growth and Sustainable Development

Design Construction Operation Maintenance Renovation Deconstruction

Water Materials Natural Resources

Air Pollution Water Pollution Indoor Pollution Heat Islands Stormwater Runoff Noise

3.6 Types of Green Building
Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by [7]: Every building type has different design and efficiency needs depending on its function. These building types include [7]:

© 2012 Journal of Computing Press, NY, USA, ISSN 2151-9617



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Homes Commercial, Public, and Institutional Buildings  Retail Facilities  Schools  Laboratories  Healthcare Facilities

A green home is an all-encompassing term that includes the concept of smart home, but it also includes the careful design and planning around the materials used to bulid the structure, ensuring appropriate insulation, and taking orientation, sun exposure, thermal absorption, and radiation into account [10]. Some researchers have also created homes that adaptively control energy systems for householders and investigated how householders might install and use sensors for a home energy tutor system. Others have experimented with persuasive technology gaming interfaces and automation to convince people to conserve energy [9].

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 [3]. So, it is good to adapt the process of greening your home. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been suggested 16 ways to green your home [4], mentioned as under:

5.1 Smart Home
The term smart home refers to environmental sensing and automatic control of lighting, forced-air heating, air-conditioning, and water heating to best meet the occupants’ day-to-day requirements. Studies show that these systems can optimize the use of energy. However, the cost of manufacturing smart components is a potential issue while considering the number of devices needed for a typical deployment. For example, every light switch, power outlet, water heater, furnace, and air conditioning unit needs to be instrumented. If motion sensors are required to sense people in certain areas, installation of additional motion sensors are needed [10].

4.1 Lower your Utility Bills
       Switch to Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs Program your Thermostat Plug Air Leaks Tune Up your Heating and Cooling (HVAC) System Choose Energy Star Appliances Reduce Water Use Switch to Green Power

4.2 Choose Green Products
    Buy Local Use Low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Products Use Wood Alternatives or FSC-certified* Wood Products Use Rapidly Renewable Flooring Materials

5.2 Smart Home Networks
Smart home networks technology is available in three main areas: Powerline (XlO, Em Powerline etc); Busline: (EIB, Cebus, Lonwork, Batibus EHS etc) and Radio Frequency (RF) (e.g. Bluetooth, and most major smart home manufacturers).

* FSC-certification: FSC certification is a voluntary, market-based tool that supports responsible forest management worldwide. FSC-certified forest products are verified from the forest of origin through the supply-chain. The FSC label ensures that the forest products used are from responsibly harvested and verified sources [8].

5.2.1 Powerline
Powerline systems are made of devices that can be connected directly into the main power supply. These devices use the normal wiring to send data to the devices to activate or deactivate them.

4.3 Green your Yard
   Plant Trees to Provide Shade and Wind Protection for Your House Use Native Plantings Use Nontoxic Gardening Techniques

5.2.2 Busline
Busline smart homes use a separate 12-volt cable (twisted pair) to transmit data to devices, which runs in parallel to the traditional main cable. The use of this cable means that devices are independent of conventional mains borne power supplies.

4.4 Green your Transportation
  Carpool, Use Public Transportation, Walk or Bike when possible Buy a High-Efficiency Car.

5.2.3 Radio Frequency
Radio Frequency (RF) and Infra Red (IR) systems are becoming increasingly more popular. Most manufacturers of smart home technology have a RF product range [11].

© 2012 Journal of Computing Press, NY, USA, ISSN 2151-9617



5.3 Issues with Smart Home Devices
Issues with Smart Home devices are as under [10]:     Smart devices are quite expensive. Design of the Smart devices is considerably more complicated and subject to failure. Smart devices take extra time and effort to maintain, debug, and replace. If you’re not smart-home hobbysit on do-it-youeself basis, it means another maintenance bill is there to pay.

[9] Marshini Chetty, David Tran, and Rebecca E. Grinter, “Getting to Green: Understanding Resource Consumption in the Home”, UbiComp’08, Seoul, Korea, pp (242-251), ACM 978-1-60558-136-1/08/09 © 2008 [10] Roy Want, “How Green is Green?”, Pervasive Computing, ISSN 1536–1268, IEEE © 2009, pp (2-4) [11] Li Jiang, Da-You Liu, Bo Yang, “Smart Home Research”, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Machine Learning and Cybernetics, Shanghai, 26-29 August, 2004, pp (659-663)

Greening effects into homes are mainly involved in the concept of Residential Resource Consumption Management [9]. Shortly, greening your home includes [3]:       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.

Special thanks to Prof. Aqeel-ur-Rehman, Faculty Member in GSESIT - Hamdard University, who facilitated in this technical writing.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] http://www.msnbc/ [6] 2&source=gbs_book_similarbooks [7] [8]

Asima Nisar from Pakistan received the MSCS degree in Networking from PAF-KIET. Currently, continuing her Ph.D. (CS) at Hamdard University and the Faculty Member in Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences, & Technology, Karachi Campus – 75300. Her areas of interests are: High-Speed Networks, Operations Research, Numerical Analysis, Probability and Statistics. This technical note is her 7th research writing effort.

© 2012 Journal of Computing Press, NY, USA, ISSN 2151-9617

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