When you build a new home, adding energy-saving technology and features is an investment. In many cases, the extra efficiency comes with an up-front cost, but as time goes on, the dollars you save will start to add up. Energy-efficient homes can also reduce your carbon footprint, which is good for the environment. So, if energy efficiency is a priority for you, there are a few useful things you can do.
The environment around your home can have a big impact on how efficient it is. You get more shade on the north side of a big hill, and that means you spend less money on air conditioning. You’ll also spend more on heating, but heating a home uses less energy than cooling does. The ground insulates from both heat and cold, so a home built into the side of a hill can save money, and a home with one floor and a basement is more efficient than a home with two floors and no basement.
The design of your home alone can either increase or decrease efficiency. Good window placement keeps the inside air cool even with a light breeze. Skylights and windows with a good southern view can give you as much sun as possible, so you don’t have to turn on the lights. Solar panels built onto the roof can keep you from relying too much on the grid. A proper amount of insulation on doors and windows can prevent cold or hot air produced by your HVAC system from escaping.
The big appliances in your home should be as efficient as possible. This means installing a modern central air system that gets the most out of every amp and light fixtures that use LEDs instead of incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. You should consider getting energy efficient kitchen appliances, like a refrigerator and oven, as well as a high-efficiency washer and dryer set. While you can replace these appliances later, purchasing the right models now can save you money on energy costs.
Hot water heating is one of the largest energy expenses in a traditional home. To heat water wisely, it is important to incorporate a hot water system that includes low-flow shower heads and an on-demand water heater.
Insulation is technically a part of the house architecture, but it’s important enough to mention twice. Heating and cooling your home are two of the most energy-intensive things you can do, and when the weather is exceptionally hot or cold, the HVAC system works extra hard to make up the difference between the outdoor and indoor temperatures. Weatherproofing, thick doors and windows, and adding extra insulation to your basement and attic are essential for keeping your energy bills low.
Energy efficiency is good for keeping your monthly costs down and for doing your part to help the environment. Whether you consider one benefit over another to be of more importance, building an efficient home from the ground up will guarantee the lowest energy bills on the block.