Building an energy-efficient home from the ground up sounds like quite the investment. However, because of all the energy you’ll be saving throughout the years, you’ll make back the money you spent over time. When building your new energy-efficient home, use the following tips to guide the construction process.
Orient the Home Appropriately
When building from scratch, you have the unique ability to decide which direction your home will face. This direction plays a big role in the energy you consume in the long run, as it allows you to capitalize on the sun’s energy.
Orient your home’s ridgeline from east to west while maximizing the length on its southern edge. Place more windows along the southern edge to increase sunlight exposure, and avoid placing too many on the northern side. In this configuration, experts estimate you can save 10 to 20 percent on cooling and 40 percent on heating costs.
Use Alternative Energy Sources
Using electricity from the local electrical supplier is convenient, but it’s not doing anything to reduce your impact on the environment. Instead, focus on alternative energy sources where you can create and use your own electricity. Only about 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2016 came from renewable energy sources, so there’s a lot to improve on here.
Look into getting a solar panel roof if you live in a sunny area, as these can actually produce so much electricity that you won’t use it all. If this happens, you can even sell your power back into the grid for a little extra cash. Wind turbines and hydro power are other good options if you live in an appropriate landscape. Sure, these things cost a little more upfront, but the overall cost savings on your energy bill will be dramatic.
Make Everything Airtight
Cracks, holes, and other gaps in your home’s construction allow treated air to seep out and unfiltered air to seep in. These leaks can account for over 30 percent of your home’s heating and cooling bill. Not only that, but good sealing techniques are essential for moisture control to eliminate the chance of mold and water damage.
Make sure your home is sealed tight by utilizing air barriers like durable caulk, foam sealants, and tape. A full house wrap is also a good tool, as it goes around the entire exterior of the home during construction.
Choose Efficient Insulation
Once everything is sealed up, choosing efficient insulation is the final step in preventing drafts and air leakage. All insulation has an R-value rating that specifies its maximum thermal performance. Generally, the higher the rating, the more efficient the insulation is at keeping your home a comfortable temperature.
Experts recommend choosing an R-38 level insulation for southern homes and an R-49 level insulation for northern homes. Homes in the north need more insulation because of cooler temperatures in the winter.
Sure, energy efficient homes will help you save money on your utilities. More importantly, though, they will also reduce your impact on the environment, preserving the world for years to come.