An energy efficient home can save you money and could help mitigate environmental risks. Such homes are generally more comfortable by nature as the appliances and design elements used to reduce energy usage contributing to more controlled levels of temperature and humidity and better air quality. It is easier to integrate energy efficient elements into a home design when starting the construction of a building; however, it’s also possible to incorporate changes into an already built home to improve its energy efficiency.
When designing a home, energy efficiency prerequisites can be followed as a guideline to make it more energy efficient. The following resources provide tips about designing an energy efficient home based on the location and climate, recommended building materials, and advice that could help you increase energy efficiency. When trying to improve a home’s energy efficiency, you could have an energy audit performed to measure its current energy efficiency and to identify energy-wasting design elements.
Building envelopes are probably some of the most important elements of energy efficiency. The term itself refers to a structure’s resistance to heat, noise, light, water, and air transfer. Creating an efficient separation between the inside environment of a structure and the outside elements can make it easier for the occupants to control the noise, lighting, humidity, and temperature, considerably reducing the need for energy-consuming appliances to control these aspects.
When the building envelope is okay, mechanical ventilation will be needed to control temperature and air quality. Sadly, most buildings waste a lot of energy because of their cooling and heating needs. A Heat Recovery Ventilator or Energy Recovery Ventilator could help reduce this usage by harnessing the cold or heat from the outgoing stale air then using it to condition incoming air. HRVs and ERVs may also reduce the need for mechanical cooling or heating, allowing you to save money and energy. Ad the good thing is that these systems can be installed in both existing and new buildings.
Skylights, Windows, and Doors
The moving parts of a building, including windows and doors, are crucial designing elements when it comes to energy efficiency and usage. Poorly installed seals around windows and doors could make it hard to keep a home warm during the cooler months and cool during the hotter months. Adding skylights could help provide some natural lighting, saving energy costs and reducing the need for secondary lighting. Installing Energy-Star Certified skylights, doors, and windows during your renovation or construction could considerably minimize a building’s energy needs.
After cooling and heating, water heating is the next main consumer of energy in most buildings. However, new tech is improving the efficiency of these heaters without necessarily compromising performance. The energy needs of water heating can also be lowered by incorporating water-saving showerheads and faucets into a home design. The Federal efficiency standards put into effect in 1994 placed the maximum water use requirement for showerheads and faucets 2.5 gallons/minute; however, most older buildings and homes still use more water. Upgrading these aspects to meet the current standards could increase your home’s existing energy efficiency and water usage.