Countdown: Top 10 high performance home features of 2015

 Countdown: Top 10 high performance home features of 2015

Photo via Shutterstock

More than half of home builders expect to be doing 60 percent or more of their new homes green by 2020, an interest reflected in the Top 10 feature stories for 2015.

You were interested in ways to generate electricity at home, make your home healthier and more comfortable, and to catch the latest kitchen trends.

These are the Top 10 high performance home feature stories that captured your attention this year. While not all of the stories were posted in 2015, they received significant traffic and social media attention to vault them into the Top 10 most viewed features for the year.

Here's a look back at what you viewed, starting with No. 10 and leading to the most popular news item of the year. There's an excerpt from each article; to see the full article, click on the headline link.

10.  3 Steps for better indoor air quality for your home

While air pollution gets a lot of attention, the air inside homes may be more dangerous.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you're likely to experience up to 100 times greater exposure to air pollutants indoors than outdoors.

Unfortunately, most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors exposed to those potential sources of pollution than can lead to discomfort and illness.

That's why ventilation is critical to a healthy environment. People with asthma, allergies and other sensitivities breathe easier with clean air. Adequate ventilation can improve indoor air quality by removing airborne irritants, pollutants and lowering the likelihood of mold and mildew.

9. GE and Home Depot expand appliance recycling

Ready to swap out an old appliance?

GE is expanding appliance recycling options for consumers and retailers through Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), which is now offering services to customers of The Home Depot by doubling service offerings to 12 states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.

According to ARCA, approximately 70 percent of consumers want to recycle appliances, and 82 percent will go out of their way to purchase from a manufacturer that recycles. Sixty-seven percent say they will pay more if a retailer offers recycling programs

8.  Top 6 strategies for an energy-saving water heating system

Everyone loves a nice hot shower, but the cost of heating that water is the second largest in the average US household, after space heating and cooling, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Fortunately, new technology offers homeowners a way to save by delivering hot water at a lower cost.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency, water heating accounts for about 13 percent of a typical utility bill or up to 25 percent of the energy consumed in the home.

You can reduce your monthly water heating bills by selecting the appropriate water heater for your home based on energy-efficient water heating strategies.

This exclusive article from reviews of the top eco-friendly water heating strategies available to homeowners and building professionals today.

7. How to build an energy efficient home with a tight thermal envelope

What's a thermal envelope? No, it's not a steaming hot letter you get from a bill collector.

A new home typically delivers the best performance – and comfort—when it's designed for a tight thermal envelope from the ground up.

The thermal envelope is, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, "everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, air/vapor retarders, windows, and weather stripping and caulking."

What's one of the major problems in old houses? And all too often it's a serious flaw in new homes? The answer is: a poor thermal envelope. When you think of an old house, you think of a drafty dwelling that's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Any money spent on heating and cooling goes right out through the walls and ceiling. The thermal envelope is not designed or built properly.

6. Tiny house features plastic building products to improve energy efficiency (video)

An energy efficient tiny house using innovative plastic building products that improve a home's overall energy efficiency will be on display to educate consumers to improve their homes.

Plastics Make It Possible® and Zack Giffin, co-host of FYI Network's "Tiny House Nation," teamed up to build the 170-square-foot tiny house that is the center of the exhibit–"A Tiny House That's Big on Energy Efficiency" at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

5. Ask the Expert: What is the most efficient type of water heater?

Knowing which type of water heater to buy makes it easier to be energy efficient. Find out from some of our Approved Contributing Experts, also known as ACE's, which water heater is best for residential use. Options include tankless on-demand hot water heaters, solar and geothermal.


4. New appliance finishes replacing stainless steel (Slideshow)

GE is debuting a new finish for appliances since research has shown that many homeowners are looking for something other than stainless steel.

The new finish, called slate, is a warm, metallic gray with a matte finish and it will be available throughout the GE appliance line. It was designed to blend in with other appliances in stainless steel, black or white.

"As people transition their kitchen appliances over time, it was important to us to find a finish from a palette that is timeless and harmonious, yet distinctive," said Lou Lenzi, director for GE Appliances' industrial design operation whose team of designers created the new finish. "Slate is a universal, neutral finish that will suit consumers who want a premium finish that can complement or even replace stainless steel."

3. Insurance company opens smart home claims training center (video)

Solar panels and smart thermostats used to be cutting edge devices, but not any more. More homeowners are incorporating smart and high performance technologies into their homes, and the financial side of the residential industry is pushing to keep up.

As appraisers and lenders adopt green home valuation strategies, home insurance providers like American Modern Insurance Group are learning as well by building a two-story home that incorporates smart and green home technology.

The 1,471 square foot, two-story house was built in AMIG’s 50,000 square-foot-claims training center, located in Amelia, Ohio. The house, which features smart technology, sustainable building materials and increased security measures, will be used as part of the company’s hands-on claims training curriculum.

2. Don't miss these 2016 home design trends (Photos)

From smart home technology to open floor plan living, the 2016 home is adapting to on-the-go families and Millennials.

Top trends in American housing for 2016 include smaller, smarter and more tech-savvy homes that appeal to on-the-go families and younger home buyers, according to The Plan Collection, a leading online provider of ready-to-use home construction plans.

“Our research indicates that online house plan buyers today are more active than ever, so they are choosing house plans designed with open space and family relaxation in mind. Tech-savvy homeowners want smaller, smart homes, and they also have more respect for conserving energy, nature, and our environment,” said Brian Toolan, chief executive officer, The Plan Collection (TPC).

1. 3 ways to generate electricity at home

 While going off the grid entirely may be difficult for many homeowners, generating a portion of a home’s electrical needs is definitely doable. The payoff depends on the tax incentives from the U.S government, state governments and local utilities. The tax rebate picture is changing at the end of 2010, so make sure you have the latest information to help make a decision.

Also make sure you understand your utility company’s net-metering policies, which allow you to sell excess electricity to the power grid.

See the Top 10 Green Home News Articles for 2015

See the Top 10 Green Home Photo Galleries for 2015

See the Top 10 Green Home Blogs for 2015

See the Top 10 Green Home Videos for 2015


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Indoor Air Quality, Interior Design, Kitchen, Solar Power, Wastewater Treatment, Water Filtration & Water Quality, Water Heaters, Water Saving Devices, Wind Power

Companies: Bradford White Water Heaters, The Home Depot, General Electric, ACT D'MAND Systems, EcoDrain

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights





Social Entrepreneur on the leading edge of best practices for the Tiny Home movement