Living Greener – A Guide on How to Build an Energy Efficient Home

Living Greener - A Guide on How to Build an Energy Efficient Home

Did you know that saving 15% of your home’s energy would be equivalent to planting 200 trees? How much more if you build an energy-efficient home? We’re living in an era where technology and innovation are so dominant that we have no excuse not to be living greener.

Building a new home from scratch gives you an excellent opportunity to do everything you need that makes it energy efficient.

In this guide, we have gathered enough information about how to build an energy efficient home and help you achieve this goal. These tips will help you build a home that is both affordable to build and costs a lot less to run.

First Things First: Start With the Design

An energy-efficient home should start with a smart design.

Find a designer or architect who is familiar with all the strategies involved in building a net-zero home. The builder will follow the design accordingly and implement the steps in the design. It’s imperative for the designer and the builder to communicate so that all the critical design elements and details are met.

Use Energy Molding Software

An energy molding software is used to estimate the overall usage of a homes’ energy. This will ensure that you meet the zero net goal while building your home.

Based on the results of the estimation, you can change or modify the design features to meet your goals. This will help you make decisions that will balance both the construction costs and building performance.

Super Seal and Insulate the Building Envelope

Super sealing and insulating your home is one of the most critical aspects of building an energy-efficient home. Super sealing the envelope involves using air-sealing approaches to ensure that your goals are met. Your builder will utilize the approaches that match the climate you live in and your budget.

Once the house is airtight, insulating is the next best step to take.

Given that you’re building from scratch, you can use the best insulation materials and have them installed everywhere insulation is necessary. This way, you can avoid punching holes later on to add more insulation. Ensure you select the right framing strategies that allow insulation installation and minimization of thermal bridging.

Choose the Right Water Heating Methods

Heating water is by far one of the largest energy expenses in most homes, after cooling and heating. This makes it vital for you to choose the right water heating technologies. Beyond that, you should also take it upon yourself to minimize hot water use and only use it when necessary.

Windows and Doors Should Be Highly Insulated

Doors and windows are energy holes, even in well-insulated homes, and can be a cost-effective strategy in making your home energy efficient. You need to choose the right doors and windows and have your builder locate them as required and optimize them for maximum orientation. Replacing windows can be quite expensive, so it’s important to ensure you purchase energy-efficient windows from the word go. 

Opt for Solar Tempering

Most people who know how to build an energy-efficient home will advise you to use the sun to your advantage. You can build south-facing windows and use the sun for heating purposes during winter months, which will lower your heating costs.

Shading the windows during the summer months will also decrease cooling costs. Solar tempering is an incredible strategy because you’ll use the heat from the sun passively without incurring any costs.

Go for Heat Recovery Ventilation

If you manage to build a zero energy home, it’ll be airtight, and you need moisture control and a continuous flow of fresh air. Your home will be healthier and even more comfortable compared to standard homes, but ventilation is important. Heat recovery ventilation systems, also known as high energy-efficient ventilation systems, expel stale air and make it fresh again.

Choose Energy Efficient Lighting

Lighting is a great way to minimize energy use in your home, and using energy-efficient lights is the way to go. LED lights, for instance, are an excellent choice and way better than CFLs.

LEDs last longer, contain zero mercury, and they can meet different needs from bright light to soft and warm light. Apart from purchasing LED lights, they also have to be strategically located so you can use as much natural light as possible to reduce energy use.

Use Energy Efficient Cooling and Heating Systems, Appliances, and Electronics

The heating and cooling systems you purchase will play a huge role in the energy efficiency of your home. You can opt for the ductless heating system, for instance, given that it’s energy-efficient and doesn’t come with the high costs thermal heat pumps come with.

You should also select the right home appliances and electronics to manage phantom plug loads. Phantom loads consume energy, whether in use or not.

Use Renewable Energy

Take advantage of the sun and use grid-tied solar PV panels. These are currently the best in the market as they will provide you with the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy. These panels can power up all your energy needs from lighting to heating water, running appliances, heating, and cooling systems.

On the downside, they are quite expensive, and you need to find ways to mitigate those costs.

Opt for a Cool Roof

Your choice of roofing materials will make a huge difference in the energy efficiency of your home. You should choose roofing materials that offer a cool roof, such as tile shingles, foam, and metal.

Better yet, why not go fully green and turn your roof into a garden. Talk to your builder about this option and see whether you can make it happen within your budget.

Apply the Knowledge on How to Build an Energy Efficient Home

Now you know how to build an energy efficient home and what it’ll take. There is so much that must go into consideration before you start building, so consult with your architect and builder to ensure you’re all on the same page. These home energy saving tips will help you in the long run because you won’t have to upgrade for a long time.

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