A small home is a limiting factor when it comes to many things, but as for as temperature control, it shouldn’t be difficult. Still, there are some challenges since, unlike many new homes constructed by green building principles, some apartments in 100-years old buildings have never been updated for energy efficiency. Many will require a green heating/cooling remodeling to even make optimum temperature control possible.
Staying truly eco friendly in a small apartment will demand a lot of consideration, from the initial energy efficiency assessment to the more demanding projects, like installing new insulation. If you are living in a tiny apartment or home and want the benefits of lower heating/cooling bills as well as remaining environmentally friendly, here are four important things you can do.
1. Assess Overall Energy Efficiency of Your Small Home
First, you will have to assess the overall energy efficiency of the entire building and of the apartment, so you know exactly what should you do and how. If the heating system, for instance, is connected to a central building boiler, that can be a problem. Boilers can spew much heat, even during summer, and outfitting one apartment unit with its own system is possible but costly, and not as efficient as it might seem. Since an entirely different system is not an option, you should make the most of the heat you’re getting from the boiler in winter, while you will have to use other means to optimize the cooling.
Insulation is the essential barrier you will need between the outside temperature and the one you are trying to achieve in your apartment. Before you take on more serious projects, you should check for air leaks, which usually appear somewhere around the windows and doors. Mineral wool batts and cellulose could be the best solutions to deal with air gaps and old joists, because they can be laid down without disturbing the adjacent apartments. By using them, you will also benefit from acoustic insulation and fire protection. For additional protection, insulate your front door and windows with draft snakes, insulating drapes, plastic film or rubber sealing.
3. Get an Air Conditioning Unit
Air condition is the most logical way to control the temperature in your small home. If you choose the right size and efficiency for your apartment, you can decrease your environmental impact, while still being cool and comfortable during the summer heat. When buying an air-conditioning unit, opt for one with HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) cooling agents, rather than with CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), since HCFCs deplete 95% less ozone, advise at Home Comfort Air.
4. Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator
In the end, you can include a very important item in the quest for updating the energy efficiency of your apartment – a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), also called heat exchanger, because it exchanges the inside stale air with the fresh air from the outside. Not only that, this device is useful for minimizing the heat loss in the apartment by recycling up to 90 percent of available heat. The filtered fresh air will circulate through your apartment, which will make the space much healthier and prevent various illnesses caused by poor quality of the indoor air.
HRV will save you money and minimize the electrical energy consumption, since it reuses the energy which would be lost with standard ventilation systems. Furthermore, this handy appliance will remove the water vapor, typical for older buildings, and prevent condensation which causes mold and damp. For your smaller apartment, you will need a single unit, which will work effectively even when the doors between the rooms are opened.
Now that your tiny apartment is finally green in terms of heating and cooling, you can relax and enjoy the perfect temperature, Then, spread the word throughout your building about how it is possible to achieve it through eco friendly, green building principles.