Courtesy of Seville Consulting
How exactly does an EarthCraft house help benefit the Earth? Sure, they're resource efficient, but what does that mean for the planet? To understand how EarthCraft homes can help, you must first understand how global warming works.
Every day, people all over the world drive cars, run machinery and use equipment fueled by coal, oil and natural gas. The process of burning these fuels produces gaseous by-products. The three most common gaseous by-products produced this way are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Luckily, trees and other vegetation capture some of these gases during photosynthesis, converting them into oxygen and rendering them harmless. Unfortunately, while we're busy burning fossil fuels, we're also hard at work clearing land and cutting down trees all over the world. In fact, over 1.2 million acres are cleared every week [Source: Rochen].
Rapidly Renewable Materials
This term is used a lot in green building circles, but what does it mean? Rapidly renewable materials are those whose growth cycle is less than 10 years. For example, cork flooring is growing in popularity every year because of its soft texture and unique look, but did you know it's eco-friendly as well? Cork floors are made by scraping the bark off of cork trees. The tree doesn't have to be cut down, its growth cycle isn't interrupted, and the bark quickly regenerates. Other rapidly renewable materials include strawboard or wheatboard (pressed straw or wheat panels used to make doors, cabinets, and furniture), linoleum, wool carpet, cotton insulation and bamboo flooring.
We're dealing our planet a double blow by releasing these gases, then destroying the trees that would have helped to neutralize them. These greenhouse gases eventually migrate into the earth's atmosphere and form a barrier that keeps waves of sunlight that have reached the earth from reflecting back out into the atmosphere. The heat from the trapped sunlight increases the earth's temperature, creating global warming. Global warming not only affects temperature, but will also eventually change our weather and sea levels, and cause flooding that could devastate many areas.
EarthCraft homes are designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than other homes. This efficiency allows less fuels to be burned, and results in an 1,100 pound reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per year for each EarthCraft house built in lieu of a regular house [source: EarthCraft House Environmental Benefits]. In addition, because EarthCraft homes encourage the use of sustainably harvested wood as well as recycled and rapidly renewable materials, they require fewer virgin resources be consumed.
Finally, EarthCraft homes use 12 percent less water than traditional homes through the use of low-flow fixtures and efficient landscaping irrigation. This helps preserve our water supply and prevents waste of this resource, which is in such short supply in so many parts of the world.