Around 89% of home buyers want energy-efficient appliances and windows, recognizing the potential savings from lower heating and cooling costs that continue to rise. Whether you’re renovating or building a new home, it makes sense to integrate energy-efficiency in the design of a structure. A house that saves energy not only reduces your carbon footprint; it also decreases your utility costs.
Build On Local Conditions And Climate
If you already own a house, there are several ways to reduce your energy use by understanding your electricity use, adjusting thermostats to bring down heating/cooling costs, switching to energy-rated appliances, and modifying lifestyles. However, when designing a new build, it is vital to consider the climatic conditions of the area. For example, to take advantage of the abundant sunlight in a place, passive solar systems can be built to reduce heating and cooling loads and use solar energy to meet these energy requirements. To maximize solar power harvest, a portion of the south side of a building must have an unimpeded view of the sun. Keep in mind that the position of a solar energy system must also take into account that there will be growing trees and future constructions that can block the sun.
Other important elements that must be thought out include insulation and air sealing, location of windows, and auxiliary heating and cooling systems. For example, direct sunlight enters the house through the windows in the south of the house, heating floors and walls. It is also possible to use water-filled containers that can absorb and store heat generated by the sun. Note that when incorporating a thermal design, the house must be able to support its weight, which implies a strong building structure. Ideally, a passive solar home design must be comfortable in both warm and cold seasons, which is why siting and careful design based on local climate conditions are critical. For most climates, awnings, shutters and trellises are necessary to block heat gains in the summer.
Seal And Insulate The Building Envelope
A home’s envelope which separates the outdoors from the indoors is vital in making a house comfortable. It consists of the roofing, siding, and insulation that work together to create a complete barrier between the outside and inside parts of a building. The building envelope will protect a structure against weather conditions, keeping the home in a good condition while offering a pleasant place to live.
The main point is that every part of the building, such as roofs, windows, doors and walls, are designed to work together in insulating and sealing the house against climatic factors. It also includes any barriers or openings such as chimneys, heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and doggy doors, to name a few. Poor insulation will result in a drastic reduction of the home’s energy efficiency. To illustrate, leaky windows or loose door hinges allow energy to seep out of the home, affecting efficiency and utility costs. Thus, sealing and insulating points of entry and exit are vital if you are to ensure that energy is maximized and not wasted.
Despite all this, chimneys are considered an integral part of your house if you live in a cold region. However, you can still conserve energy by keeping regular maintenance and repair of the chimney in your house. This will also keep the chimney in a pristine condition saving you a ton of energy meanwhile proving necessary warmth so that you don’t use electrical heaters.
An energy-efficient home or building is highly desirable because it is helps the environment, saves money, and offers a comfortable place to live. Proper siting, making use of solar power, and sealing and insulating a building’s envelope are some ways to include energy-efficiency in the design of a house.