Houses can have eco-friendly elements to them. Many new house designs make sure to seal up windows, roofing spaces, etc. so that excessive heating isn’t required, reducing the energy intake. Houses can be made from predominantly recycled material, use compost piles instead of throwing food items away, etc. There are many ways to reduce green house gas emissions and reduce resource use. Implementing alternate energy methods is another way.
Yes – houses can even be net energy producers, instead of consumers. This involves the production of green energy (producing methane gas from waste organic materials, solar panels, wind turbines, etc.), but doesn’t just “use” it (see first link below).
If the climate were favorable, houses can get by without using any green energy source by simply being built with local, renewable materials; appropriate insulation; use of passive heating and cooling; use of thermal mass; etc. It would not have electricity for lighting or for appliances, but it would not need to consume energy for heating and cooling.
For a house to consume electricity on the scale of most family homes, not using “green energy” sources, would – simply put – knock it out of the ‘eco friendly’ category.
In addition to the very smart suggestions mentioned by jet and sowearly, you can also create an emotional “space” that is friendly to concepts of environmentalism. This means, you can keep your food packaging minimal, decorate with natural items like flowers and pressed leaves, and honor the changing of the seasons. If you live in a climate that gets cold, encourage your family to dress in sweaters and cover your windows with thermal curtains. If it gets very hot in the summer, install ceiling fans, eat light foods, and run the air conditioner only if absolutely necessary. Reducing the reliance on electronics and unnatural entertainment will also create a space conducive to “being green.”
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