As our energy needs keep increasing, so do our home energy bills. With each family member owning several devices at least, it’s important for everyone to do their part to use energy more responsibly. Saving some money in the process is usually a very welcome benefit of migrating over to greener, more energy efficient home design features, appliances, and building techniques.
The best time to plan for energy savings is, of course, before a house is built. However, a home energy assessment can identify opportunities for savings in an existing home. You can implement the suggestions from your energy assessment one or a few at a time as your schedule and your budget allow.
Below are details of some of the ways that Mancill Builders can increase the energy efficiency of your new home, addition, or current living space by adding energy efficient home design features. Contact us for more details and even more ideas!
Advanced House Framing
Advanced house framing is a worthwhile system to consider when you are building a house from the ground up or adding an extension to your existing home. Also known as optimum value engineering (OVE), this approach to framing uses less wood and more insulation in the construction process, lowering both labor and material costs and resulting in a structure that can cut air conditioning costs by 5 percent.
Energy Efficient Windows and Doors
Choosing the right windows and exterior doors can make a big difference in the energy efficiency of your home, since these are the major escape routes for the air that you have paid to heat or cool. Exterior doors are labeled with energy-performance ratings that will tell you how effective they are at creating a seal between the interior and exterior of your home. Low-emissive (Low-E) windows are highly effective at trapping air inside and blocking air from entering. While they allow light in, they are manufactured to protect floors, fabrics, and furniture from fading due to sun exposure.
There are many options in terms of window treatments that can reduce heat loss in cold temperatures and heat gain when it’s warm. Depending on the area that you live in and the amount of sunlight received by a particular room, you can choose from awnings, blinds, curtains, shades, and shutters that can help insulate or cool your home. Finally, energy-efficient skylights can be placed according to the position of the sun in relation to the roof to either provide cool illumination or passive heat gain.
Insulation as an Energy Efficient Design Feature
A knowledgeable contractor will know how to advise you in choosing insulation with the right R-value for your space. The R-value measures the thermal resistance of a particular insulation; the higher the R-value, the more insulating value it will have. To determine the most energy-efficient type of insulation for your home, you will need to consider your climate as well as the position of each of the walls of the structure. The effectiveness of the insulation will also depend on whether the underlying structure has been built with energy efficient home design features in mind.
Particularly if you are building your home in a warm climate area where you will have high air conditioning costs, you can save a surprising amount of money by choosing roofing materials wisely. The many benefits of a cool roof include lower energy bills, lower temperatures for indoor spaces that are not air conditioned, and longer roof life. Reflective paint, a sheet covering, or reflective tiles or shingles are some materials that can be used to create a cool roof.
Energy Efficient Water Heating
With water heating making up as much as 20 percent of a home’s total energy bill, choosing a modern, energy efficient water heater in a new home or replacing an old one can add up to significant savings over time.
Energy Efficient Home Design Features for Heating and Cooling
Saving on heating and cooling bills starts with a contractor who knows how to properly seal a home to reduce air leaks. Tight construction around all joints, weather stripping around windows and doors, and properly sealed duct work will prime your home or addition to maximize the energy efficient home design features.
Heating your home with solar, geothermal, or wood heat (using a woodstove, wood pellet woodstove, or fireplace insert) is far more efficient than old standbys like natural gas, oil, or electric. New, energy-efficient central air conditioners can save up to 40 percent over those manufactured just 10 years ago. Energy efficient fans can have a cooling effect in a room when working alongside an air conditioner, but they should be turned off when no one is in the room as they don’t actually lower the room’s temperature.
Programmable thermostats cut down significantly on energy expenditure by allowing you to heat and cool your home only when necessary. Why run the heating all day long when you can program the thermostat to turn on just an hour before you get home from work? Why run your heating all night when you can program it to kick on just before you wake up? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, decreasing the temperature in your home by 7 to 10 degrees for an eight-hour period every day can cut energy spend by 10 percent.
Energy Efficient Flooring
In a cooler climate, or in a typically cold area of the house such as a basement, carpet (along with the padding beneath it) can help to insulate a room and therefore save on heating bills. Concrete radiant floors, which are heated via tubing or electric heating elements, warm the room from the floor up and can save anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on home heating costs. On the other hand, bamboo, ceramic, or stone tile flooring are great options in warmer climates, as these materials trap little heat.
Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures and Appliances
The kitchen and bathroom are filled with fixtures and appliances that can waste energy and resources. Water-saving faucets, shower heads, and toilets are all now readily available at big box stores and can fit into any budget. Energy efficient refrigerators can use as much as 25 percent less energy than their older counterparts. Dishwashers and ovens that use less energy will also contribute to the annual savings on your energy bills.
The Best General Contractor for Energy Efficient Home Design Features
Mancill Builders has been working with residents of Delaware County and the surrounding areas for over forty years. Whether you need a renovation or addition to an existing home, or would like to build your energy-efficient dream home from scratch, Mancill Builders has the experience and know-how to help you achieve your goals. We are full of ideas and resources that will give you significant savings on a monthly and yearly basis and will also make your home more environmentally friendly. Contact us today for a discussion on our latest energy efficient home design features and to find out how we can put our energy expertise to work on your next project!