The student will work in groups of three or four to design an eco-friendly home.
Grade Level: 11 - 12th
Subject: Environmental, Science
Length of Time: 3-4 Class Periods
Objectives & Outcomes
The students will be able to use the Internet and other resources to research and design an eco-friendly home located in their town. The students will be able to draw the home to scale, identify costs of building and associated with, benefits and other advantages for having an eco-friendly home.
Internet access or other resources including current utility costs for the area, prices for building materials, etc. (All available online.) Graph paper or similar paper for drawing home plans to scale.
Prepare ahead of time: Photo of eco-friendly home, tips for designing eco-friendly homes (http://www.coastalliving.com/homes/building-to-last/eight-design-tips-eco-friendly-home/view-all
Opening to Lesson
- Ask students how they would like to have their ideal home designed in the future
- Many students will first think of size, type of rooms, etc.; but encourage them to begin thinking of costs associated with homes
- Ask the question: What is an eco-friendly home?
- Discuss responses
- Display photos of eco-friendly home
- Ask students if they see any differences versus a regular home
Body of Lesson
- Assign students to groups of 3 or 4
- Ask the students to use their imaginations to design an ideal home that is as eco-friendly as possible.
- Think of a home and rooms needed for a family of four, including size
- Heating/cooling ideas, alternatives
- Appliances inside the home, technology used
- What will the home be built out of, materials used
- System designed for recycling/reusing waste products
- Explain to students they must also create a detailed drawing of their ideal eco-friendly home with labels showing the home’s eco-friendly features, details, etc.
- Allow students to begin research and development using the Internet and other available sources, finding the costs or savings versus regular homes
- As students work, remind them to share and respect each group member’s ideas and input, suggestions, etc.
- Teacher may suggest groups assign a role for each member, such as 2 members responsible for design and drawing, others do research, etc.
- Once students have completed the project they will present the final eco-friendly home to the class during a presentation
- Have students vote on Most Eco-Friendly Home based on predetermined rubrics
- For homework, assign students to think about their homes and to find at least 3 ideas or ways to immediately adapt their homes to becoming more eco-friendly.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of designing eco-friendly homes.
Assessment & Evaluation
Assess the completed written reports and home designs based on pre-determined rubrics
Modification & Differentiation
Students may work in pairs. Design larger/smaller homes. Place a limit on funds available. Build the actual homes using craft sticks or other materials. Have other various contests: best looking, best design, best idea, etc.
Related Lesson Plans
Earth Window Art
This lesson will allow students to create a replica of the Earth that can also be used as decoration.
Cost of Recycling
Each pair of students will trace 1 single recyclable product, from manufacturer to recycling center, examining costs of making the product and recycling it, answering the question: Is recycling worth it?
The students, with a partner, will research the negative environmental impact of every day products and identify safer alternatives.
Middle School and High School Teacher
Eco Friendly Construction Methods and Materials
There is an urgent need to address the great challenges of our times: climate change, resource depletion, pollution, and peak oil. These issues are all accelerating rapidly, and all have strong links with the building industry.
There is a growing consensus from scientists and the oil industry that we are going to reach peak oil in the next twenty years, and that we might have reached this point already. Global demand is soaring, whilst global production is declining, and oil is set to become increasingly expensive and scarce. The building industry is hugely dependent on cheap oil, from the manufacture and transportation of its materials, to the machinery and tools used in demolition and construction. In the UK, it uses vast quantities of fossil fuels, accounting for over half of total carbon emissions that lead to climate change. The built environment is also responsible for significant amounts of air, soil and water pollution, and millions of tonnes of landfill waste. This is a situation that clearly needs to change.
Reducing Energy ConsumptionWith the inevitability of declining fossil fuels, and the threat of global climate change, reducing our energy consumption is an essential survival strategy. Choosing to build green saves energy. The low embodied energy of green products ensures that very little energy went into their manufacture and production, with a direct reduction in carbon emissions. Eco friendly design methodology can further reduce energy consumption by minimising energy inputs for heating, cooling and light, and incorporating energy efficient appliances. Saving energy for the occupant also saves money - an issue that will become increasingly important as the cost of fossil fuels inevitably rises in the near future.
Building Healthier HomesEco-friendly construction can not only help to create a better outdoor environment, it can also help to build a healthier indoor environment. Conventional building materials and methods have been linked to a wide range of health problems. Chemical pollutants from paints, solvents, plastics and composite timbers, along with biological pollutants such as dust mites and moulds are known to cause symptoms such as asthma, headaches, depression, eczema, palpitations and chronic fatigue syndrome. Green buildings eliminate these problems through good ventilation design, breathable walls, and the use of natural, non-toxic products and materials.
There are many good reasons why we should use eco-friendly construction methods and materials. It can improve the health of our planet, and the health of our own lives. It also supports local business and helps strengthen the local economy, which in turn helps to build our communities into vibrant, prosperous and desirable places to live.
A Necessary ChoiceGreen building is not only a wise choice for our future; it is also a necessary choice. The construction industry must adopt eco-friendly practices and materials that reduce its impacts, before we reach a point of irreversible damage to our life supporting systems. The UK Government is beginning to recognise this urgency, and is committed to integrating green specifications into building regulations and codes, but the process of developing policy is slow. The industry needs to take its own initiative and find alternative ways to build, using green, renewable energy resources, and adopt non-polluting practises and materials that reduce, recycle and reuse, before it is too late.
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