Home Design of the Future

Grade 9 Academic Science

Sustainable Ecosystems

1. How would you create a "green" environment around your home? Which plants would you include in your design? Why?

The way I would create a green environment is first of all by living in Canada in a Temperate Deciduous Forest biome because the soil is very fertile, which id perfect for agriculture. In this home, I would include lichen, moss, ferns, wildflowers and other small plants to make up the forest floor. There are three levels to the forest to fill in the middle level, and then hard-wood trees like oak, maple, magnolia and birch to fill the third level.

2. What plants would you "farm" in your vegetable garden? Why? What types of pesticides and fertilizers would you use in your garden? Are there any you would avoid?

In my vegetable garden, I would plant tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, and I would plant some mint leaves to make organic tea instead of buying processed tea from the store. These vegetables are the main types you would think of putting in a garden. They are the simplest and yet you can cook almost anything with them such as a salad. To help these plants grow, I would have to use fertilizers. For my garden, it would be best to use natural fertilizers, rather than synthetic fertilizers because the natural fertilizer is made entirely out of plant nutrients that have been obtained from natural sources and have not been chemically altered by humans. I wouldn't want there to be chemicals in the food that I eat. The synthetic fertilizers are chemically processed, which makes it not natural anymore. As for pesticides, I would use narrow-spectrum pesticides because this type of pesticide is not toxic to all insects. It is highly toxic to caterpillars, beetle larvae, and fly larvae. Since this is only a small garden, and not a crop, I wouldn't have to use a lot of this chemical. If there was a big crop in a field, then there is a higher possibility that there would be more insects to kill, so then I would have to use the broad-spectrum pesticide, but this is not the case, so I only need to kill the larvae that is infesting my garden, if there are any harming it. If there are no pests, then there will be no use for the pesticide.

3. What mode of transportation would you use to park in your driveway?

In my driveway, I would have a luxury hybrid car, like the BMWi8. This car is luxurious, but it is still and electrical car, and saves you money on gas. Having a car like this is also economical and is better for the environment, as it is non-pollutant. Also in my driveway, I would have a bicycle, just in case I don't have a long way to go from my home, I can bike there instead of driving. Doing this is the best possible way to get somewhere because you don't have to spend money on gas or a new battery for the car. Just because the hybrid saves money. you still always need to fill up with gas or recharge the car battery eventually.

4. What types of waste management systems would you choose to include in your home design?

I would choose to put a compost bin in the backyard so I can use this as my natural fertilizer instead of buying it from someone. The compost will break down the food that can actually be broken down, such as orange peels, apple cores, or maybe rotten food from the garden like the vegetables. In my coat closet, I would but a recycling bin to throw away cans and plastics so this way they can be reused again to save money for the manufacturers that do this process.

5. Which endangered species would your family sponsor at your local zoo?

Since my family an I all live in Ontario, our local zoo is the Toronto zoo. My family would decide to sponsor the Giant Panda because they are extremely endangered animals and seek for desperate help with trying to save their habitat. This species of bears are at risk of becoming extinct because of forest destruction and hunting. In China, Pandas play a curtail role in the forests. In bamboo forests, when the pandas roam, they shake and spread the seeds over the forest floor to facilitate the growth and vegetation. Without this species of bears in the world, there would more than likely be no more bamboo forests, because the seeds wouldn't be getting spread by the pandas. Just because we may live in Canada and not in China, doesn't mean that we can ignore this situation. This process is just like other parts of the world trying to save the polar bears, even though they may not live in Canada.

Atoms, Elements, and Compounds

1. Research three chemical found in your home which can be toxic to humans or your pets

  • Ethyl Acetate is a toxic chemical that can do damage to the brain and nervous system. This chemical is found in Febreze Air Fresheners, and is highly toxic to humans and pets; especially dogs. This chemical was recently found in this air freshener in 2009 by the EWG.
  • A harmful chemical to pets that is found in the Swiffer Wet Jet is Antifreeze, which is used on car windshields to that in the winter, the fluid that you use to clean the windshield doesn't freeze. This chemical is what is used to clean the floors of your house. It is highly toxic to pets because just by the animal walking on the floor after using the Wet Jet and the animal licks its paws, the animal now just ingested the antifreeze into its system and will cause liver failure.
  • Sodium Hypochlorite, also known as bleach, is a toxic chemical commonly used around your house to get stains out of clothes; especially white. This chemical is toxic because to make bleach, a direct electrical current is sent through a sodium chloride solution (table salt and water). This basically "splits" the atoms leaving chlorine and the caustic soda. Both chlorine and caustic soda (lye) are extremely dangerous. These two chemicals are reacted together to create what we know as bleach.

2. Choose one of the chemicals and identify the elements which make up this chemical. Choose one of these elements and draw a Bohr-Rutherford diagram for it.

The element that makes up sodium hypochlorite(bleach)is chlorine(Cl)

3. Which group or chemical family of the Periodic Table is this element located in?

Chlorine is from group 17, period 3, and is located in the Halogens chemical family.

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4. Is your chosen element a metal, non-metal, or metalloid?

Chlorine is a non-metal. This is because chlorine is on the right side of the staircase which separates metals(left side)and non-metals(right side).

The Characteristics of Electricity

1. What type of electrical energy will you use for your home? How sustainable is your choice of energy source for future generations?

For my home, I would choose to put up solar panels on the roof of my house. I would choose to use solar panels rather than any other option such as hydro electricity because solar energy id the most convenient and less troubled way to install because they are panels that get attached to your house. You can't just simply install a rushing river or a waterfall that produces millions of gallons per day in your backyard. Just like using wind electricity. You can't install a wind turbine in your backyard, because it is too big for a temperate deciduous forest, and also would cause you lack of sleep due to the constant motion of the blades. Solar energy collects the suns rays into the panel and converts the rays into electricity to power you home. The sun may not always be out. Especially in the winter where there is not that much sun, and this is why it is always good to have a back-up of nuclear electricity, just in case the panels run out of the suns energy. If you don't want the nuclear energy to be on while you have you panels charged, you can simply just shut of the power of that source and the solar panels will take over. These panels may be costly, but as soon as you have the panels in and have them for a while, they will save you so much money, rather than spending it all on nuclear energy.

Using solar energy is a very sustainable energy source to choose because this way of creating electricity has become more and more popular world wide than any other renewable energy source such as wind or hydro electricity. Yes, wind energy is a very popular way of converting wind into electricity, however, wind energy is not a very common method used on housing.

2. What types of physical structures make a house more energy efficient? how can you design a home that will reduce wasted energy?

There are many ways to make a new building energy efficient. Insulation can be added to exterior walls, ceilings and attics, basements, around heating and cooling ducts, and in framed floors. Covers and dampers on vents to the outside or unheated or cooled areas (such as exhaust fans and attic entries) also help save energy. Energy-efficient windows, doors and appliances add to the energy savings. To build the exterior of the home, you could make the roof of the house a triangular shape, and put solar panels on both sides, so this way no matter what time of day, the panels will catch the suns rays. Also in the winter, when there is lots of snow, the snow that falls will slide off the roof, revealing the solar panels underneath and leave them vulnerable to the light.

3. What type of appliances will you choose for your home? Explain why you have chosen these appliances. You may want to choose those that have an EnerGuide label or follow the EnergyStar program.

In my kitchen, the appliances I would use would all be certified by EnergyStar. My fridge, stove, and microwave would all be certified by EnergyStar. I would not need a dishwasher because I can always just simply wash the dishes my hand. This way I will save my money rather than spending it on a new dishwasher, when there is a simple alternative. As for washing machines, I would have that appliance with the EnerGuide label, because they save money on using the energy. I wouldn't buy a clothes dryer because I can use a drying rack instead. This will save money and electricity. For heating and cooling system, such as air conditioners and furnaces. These appliances would definitely be under EnerGuide because I would be using these almost all the time due to it being hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Thee will be costly, and I'd like to save as much money as possible so it's good for the environment.

4. What type of light bulbs would you use in your home design?

In my home design, the type of light bulbs that I would have around the house would be LED light bulbs because they are most energy efficient. They give off a lot of light but they have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting, so the bulbs don't heat up and produce as much energy, like the standard 50 watt light bulb, which heats up quickly. This is due to the bulb having to use a lot of power to generate light. As for the LED lights, another reason why they don't get hot is because they don't have to generate as much power to light up the light bulb.

The Study of the Universe

1. Include at least two different types of technology in your future home that has been developed or researched do to space exploration. Describe how these technologies were invented

Cell Phone Camera

  • In the 1960s, engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) first developed the concept of the digital camera. In the 1990s, a team at the JPL worked to create cameras that are small enough to fit on spacecraft while maintaining scientific quality. One third of cell phone cameras contain the technology developed from this research. Now, there is no way you can buy a cellphone without a camera.

Scratch-Resistant Lenses

  • In an attempt to find diamond-hard coatings for aerospace systems, the Lewis Research Center contributed to making sunglass lenses more resistant to scratches and spotting. A technique for creating diamond-hard coatings was developed and patented, and in the late 1980s Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. got a license to use the patent. The technique was further developed and later used to make lenses that are scratch-resistant and shed water more easily.

Part 2: Home Design

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As you can see in this blueprint of my future home, the structure of the house is very efficient because there is a lot of insulation in the attic, and even around the house. The roof is triangular so that snow can slide off of it in the winter, and this way the solar panels can collect energy from all angles.