Obviously if you already have a home, you are limited as to what you can do to conserve energy. However, building energy efficient houses is a whole different ball game! This is where you are in control. Make sure that you do your homework! I will give you 8 areas of consideration.
1. Choose Your Builder Wisely
This is first for a reason. It is the most important. When you go to the builder you should already have a good idea of things that he will do that will make your home more energy efficient. But if he is a good builder he should be telling you things that he does that you may not have even thought of. He should already know and be ready to implement everything that you have found in your research, or tell you why you should not do it.
2. Thicker Outside Walls
Most builders have gone to 6 inch outside walls for the simple reason that you can get more insulation in them.
3. Amount of Insulation
A lot of builders have gone to spraying a thin coat of foam insulation on first. It seals things. Then they put in the normal fiberglass insulation. Add these 2 together to get your total “R” value. And your builder should want to go above the normal required code. And don’t forget the ceilings. This is very important, as heat rises!
4. Orientation of the House
Sometimes you have absolutely no control over this. But if you do, face the sun. You can use the sun to heat your home. And in the summer you can close the blinds to get the sun out.
5. Heating and Cooling System
The options here are many. And they will vary according to your situation. You will really need to do a lot of research in this area. Make sure that you cover every aspect when you consider which system to go with. Most importantly the type of energy it requires. And the payback years. If a system takes 20 years before you see a savings, and you move every 7 years, it may not be a wise choice.
6. Hot Water
I love the new “tankless” hot water systems. Gas seems to be a favorite for new construction. But it depends upon your situation. For instance, if you are making your own electricity, you would want to go with electric.
This is one area where a lot of improvements have been made! There are many varieties at many different prices. The good thing is that there is a rating system that makes them easy to compare. Again, research and make a wise decision.
If one CFL light bulb can make a difference, imagine what a whole houseful of them can do. Hopefully your builder will be using energy efficient lighting. If he does not, he is more concerned about making a profit than saving money on YOUR energy bill.
So there are 8 things to consider when building energy efficient houses. But this is not a complete list. And hopefully between you and your builder you will come up with even more!
There are many ways to save energy. Building energy efficient houses is the best start. But even after the house is complete, there are many things you can do to save energy. Not only to save money, but to save the planet and leave something for the next generation! Make sure that you do your part.