How to Design and Build an Energy-Efficient Home

Written by  //  December 10, 2012  //  Energy Efficient Home  //  1 Comment

So you have finally decided to build your own house, the house of your dreams. Even though you are probably not going to build it single handedly, you can still design your house. And you will have to make it as energy efficient as possible. Even though such a procedure might turn out to be a little pricey, it will all definitely pay out in the long run, as it will cost you way less to heat and cool the house.

  • To start things off, you will need to consider the sun prior to building. It all depends on the climate you live in. Orient the house so that you avoid or collect the sun rays. For example, if you live in a northern climate, you might want the windows of most of your rooms to face south, so that they can collect as much sunbeams as possible.
  • Stick to a smaller house. Of course, this should be in consideration with the number of the people in the household. But bear in mind that the smaller the house, the smaller the place you will need to heat and cool. And this all results in lower utility bills.
  • Do your best to limit the number of the so called ‘exposed’ walls. Buildings which eliminate walls that face the outside include duplexes, townhouses, attached family homes and apartments. You will be better protected from losing temperature and air from the inside of the house if you have less outside exposure.
  • Decide what type of wall construction will work best for you and the plan of your house. You can choose an advanced framing technique that will provide strong structure as well as energy-efficiency.
  • Provide consistent and ample insulation. A smart choice that can work for condensation/moisture control as well as insulation is to use foam board sheathing. Use it on top of or instead of structural plywood. During the last couple of years, the market started offering a wide variety of building systems that work well in terms of insulation – ICFs (insulated concrete forms), SIPs (structural foam panels), externally insulated homes, etc. All of them are worth taking into consideration.
  • Creating intentional ventilation is also crucial. Try keeping the house airtight and use a controlled system in order to provide circulation. The process of selecting good and reliable windows should not be neglected either. Having smaller and fewer windows contribute to the overall gain of having insulation. Windows that can be considered ‘good’ are triple (or at least double) glazed and low emissivity coated.
  • Last, but definitely not least, you will need to carefully choose your mechanical equipment – air conditioner, water heater, furnace, fridge. Make sure that they are energy-efficient. They are usually labeled as such in the store.

If you feel you don’t have the skills and knowledge required to turn your future home into an energy efficient one, do not endeavour to build or even design your building. There is a big number of experienced professional contractors that specialize in the building of energy-efficient homes that you can consult or, even better, hire to do the job for you. Prior to choosing a certain contractor, view some of the houses they have built as well as review the plans they can offer you in order to compare their work. This way you will be able to see who fits your need the best and make a smart choice. Also, don’t forget to compare prices, too.

Heather Roberts is a content writer from London, UK. She has great flair for interior design and  interests in energy efficiency. She is searching for new challenges and hence often moves to different places. Therefore her present article is focused on how to design and build an energy efficient home after the relocation.

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One Comment on "How to Design and Build an Energy-Efficient Home"

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