Sustainable Home Improvements for a Low Carbon Footprint



Passive solar installation with patio door

Americans are regularly encouraged to maintain a “low carbon footprint”—that is, to use as little fossil-fuel energy as possible. While many of us have switched to energy-efficient cars, fewer have switched to energy-efficient homes. The fact is, homes with oil or gas furnaces consume about 6 percent of all fossil fuels nationally. Fortunately, there are many ways to heat and cool a house to lower, or come close to eliminating, its carbon footprint. Recently there has been an upsurge of homes retrofitting photovoltaic (PV) solar electric systems, which with current credits and rebates have become more affordable. With a battery backup system and a large enough array of PV panels, a home can supply most of the total electricity it needs.

With a PV array, a full-house active heating and cooling system can be retrofitted through the use of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) low-velocity HVAC mini-split units that are very energy efficient. These systems can be installed with ducted or ductless units, which require a wall-mounted blower assembly in each room to heat or cool a general area. This system, coupled with additional insulation built up under new exterior siding, can lead to high energy efficiency.

Passive Solar

Another alternative is a passive solar design, which uses thermal mass to store and radiate heat from the sun. Passive solar can also provide ambient cooling by capturing lower temperatures from nighttime air or from any part of the structure that’s built below the frost line.

Any house can be retrofitted with passive solar. This can involve something as simple as installing larger windows or a patio door, which will allow the sun to warm a thermal mass such as a cement or tile floor, a garden pond or a water wall feature. Deeper roof overhangs will prevent the sun’s heat from penetrating the house during the summer months.

A sunroom addition can also be installed with a slab and a gravel mass below the frost line. This will have an ambient effect similar to a basement, which is always warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. To eliminate the need for a furnace or air conditioner, a ducted mechanical air or hydronic radiant tubing system can be run through this thermal mass as well as other supplementary heating and cooling systems.

A home with natural radiant heating and cooling is a healthier and certainly more sustainable environment, offering higher energy efficiency and a lower carbon footprint.

For more information, contact Lou Levy Construction at 914.804.4145 or visit LouLevyConstruction.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

‘The BloodDetective’ Opens Katonah Office

‘The BloodDetective’ Opens Katonah Office

Grand opening event at the new office will be on October 26, from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Holistic Skin Care Studio opens in Fishkill

Holistic Skin Care Studio opens in Fishkill

Offers an alternative to commercial spa services
Local Group Hosts Alexander Technique Week Events

Local Group Hosts Alexander Technique Week Events

The method teaches awareness of one’s postural habits and how one responds to stimuli, she says, and it enhances mobility, poise and performance while reducing stress and tension.
Tai Chi Studio Now Open in Brewster

Tai Chi Studio Now Open in Brewster

By combining slow, controlled breathing and gentle stretching movements, tai chi creates harmony between the body, mind and spirit.
Bedford Hills Wine and Beer Bar Hosts CBD Talk

Bedford Hills Wine and Beer Bar Hosts CBD Talk

October 9 at 6 p.m.
Lisanne Elkins Introduces ‘Scalp and Sole’ Treatment

Lisanne Elkins Introduces ‘Scalp and Sole’ Treatment

Focuses solely on the feet and head and borrows techniques from Asian disciplines.
Xeno-Estrogens Promote Breast Cancer

Xeno-Estrogens Promote Breast Cancer

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one out of eight American women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.
Stressed? Try Jin Shin Do Acupressure

Stressed? Try Jin Shin Do Acupressure

Jin Shin Do (JSD) is a form of clothes-on bodywork based on the energy system discovered and developed thousands of years ago by Taoist monks in China.
Putnam Valley Hosts Annual Psychic Fair

Putnam Valley Hosts Annual Psychic Fair

October 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To Break Addiction, Fill the Void

To Break Addiction, Fill the Void

“Addiction has its roots in feeling the need to find balance, to seek peace, comfort or excitement that somehow isn't present in a life."
Heart Songs: An Evening Of Chanting and Sacred Music

Heart Songs: An Evening Of Chanting and Sacred Music

October 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Susan Adler Adds Reflexology to Massage Practice

Susan Adler Adds Reflexology to Massage Practice

“Reflexology is based on the premise that the foot is a map of the whole body, where specific areas on the foot correspond to different organs, glands and body systems.”
Heeding the Warning Light

Heeding the Warning Light

Taking a pain reliever doesn’t fix the problem; it just covers it up.
‘Medical Medium’ Publishes Liver Rescue

‘Medical Medium’ Publishes Liver Rescue

It provides answers to a number of health conditions, from eczema and acne to diabetes and autoimmune disease.
Heritage Applefest in Garrison

Heritage Applefest in Garrison

October 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Festival Benefits Families in Medical Crisis

This family-friendly event will include a 10:30 a.m. fun walk (9:30 a.m. registration), hayrides, a pumpkin patch, touch-a-truck and local vendors.
Avoid Toxin Risk with Mercury-Free Dentistry

Avoid Toxin Risk with Mercury-Free Dentistry

Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that can produce symptoms identical to those of neurologic and autoimmune disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
We Can Regain Lost Balance

We Can Regain Lost Balance

Roffman helps people improve their balance with a progressive, challenging fitness program designed to engage and strengthen the brain and body simultaneously.
Alleviating a Different Kind of Stress

Alleviating a Different Kind of Stress

“Geopathic stress” describes the negative energies emanating from the earth that cause discomfort and disease to those living above them.

Nonprofit Integrates Learning and Nature

The organization operates out of Kitchawan Farm, offering a variety of nature-based programs—including summer workshops, after-school classes and homeschool programs—focused on community service, civics and global environmental issues.
Network Spinal Analysis Presentation in Mount Kisco

Network Spinal Analysis Presentation in Mount Kisco

October 27, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Farm-Raised Heritage Turkeys Available at Harvest Moon

Farm-Raised Heritage Turkeys Available at Harvest Moon

The turkeys are antibiotic and hormone free and pasture raised, spending their entire lives outdoors.
Family-Friendly Fall Farm Fest in Ossining

Family-Friendly Fall Farm Fest in Ossining

September 23, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Nutritionist Linda Lonergan Hosts Local TV Show

Nutritionist Linda Lonergan Hosts Local TV Show

Wednesday mornings at 8:30 on Comcast public access channel 8.
Melanie Ryan Teaches Shamanic Reiki Training

Melanie Ryan Teaches Shamanic Reiki Training

September 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Craniosacral Therapy Workshop Offered in Mount Kisco

Craniosacral Therapy Workshop Offered in Mount Kisco

September 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.
New Wellness Center Opens in Mamaroneck

New Wellness Center Opens in Mamaroneck

It will feature a series of rooms designed to facilitate meditation, health and healing.
Sarah Montgomery Launches Home Physical Therapy Service

Sarah Montgomery Launches Home Physical Therapy Service

“I’m passionate about helping people experience improved quality of life in whatever form that takes for them."