The number of homeowners who are interested in sustainability and leading lifestyles that are less harmful to the environment is one factor that has contributed to the rise in popularity of energy-efficient homes.Regardless of whether you plan to build the house from the ground up, convert an existing house, or buy a property that is already energy-efficient, there are certain essential architectural components that are necessary for any truly environmentally friendly residence.
What Makes A Home Energy-Efficient?
When we speak of something as being "energy efficient," what we mean is that it requires less energy to achieve the same result as other similar things. It is also possible to use it to refer to any activity that either decreases the amount of energy that is consumed or maintains the amount of energy that is already present.
One definition of what it means for a house to be energy efficient is that it is designed to have a lower overall energy footprint while maintaining comparable levels of security, convenience, comfort, and aesthetic appeal to those of more traditionally constructed homes.
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can be as simple as switching out your incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient alternatives like compact fluorescent light bulbs or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. This is one of the simplest ways to make your home more energy efficient. Both the LED bulbs and the compact fluorescent bulbs are capable of producing light; however, the LED bulbs and the compact fluorescent bulbs use a significantly lower amount of energy.
Design Tips For Building Energy-Efficient Homes
Words such as "green," "sustainable," and "energy-efficient" are not only used interchangeably but also frequently in the process of determining the characteristics of a house. This is because these terms all refer to the same thing: a home's ability to use its resources in an environmentally responsible manner. Therefore, if you are in the market to build or buy a house, or if you want to boost the value of your current home by adding features that are energy-efficient, here are a few fundamental things that you should make sure to look out for:
Use The Right Building Materials
When constructing, renovating, or making repairs to a house, one option for making design decisions that are more energy-efficient is to choose to work with more environmentally friendly building materials, such as reclaimed wood. This is one way to reduce the amount of waste produced by the construction process. The conclusion that you reach after reading this article will be beneficial to the construction of your home. At MJS Construction Group, we have a strong dedication to our work.
In addition, there are building materials and techniques that, when combined with one another, have the potential to increase the energy efficiency of a home. These include the following:
- Recycled metals and steels
- Insulation made of spray foam that does not contain fibreglass
- A paint that is friendly to the environment (for once the construction is complete)
If you choose to generate less waste when building a new home or upgrading an existing one by incorporating sustainable materials into the design of your property, you can improve the energy efficiency of your property as well as reduce the amount of waste that is disposed of in landfills or incinerators. This is possible because you can improve the design of your property to incorporate sustainable materials. This is something that can be done whether you are constructing a brand-new home from the ground up or renovating an older one.
Remember That Insulation Is Key
Take a look around the house and pay particular attention to the doors and windows, as well as the walls, windows, and attic. If there are any unnoticed gaps in the insulation, does air seep out gradually, or have they been adequately sealed? If you have sufficient insulation, your home will keep its warm temperature throughout the winter and its cool temperature throughout the summer, reducing the amount of work that your heating and cooling system needs to do to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
It is common practice to disregard the potential for increased energy efficiency offered by the panes that make up a window. If you replace your home's single-pane windows with ones that have two or three layers of glass, you will be able to increase the amount of insulation and defense offered by your property. Your home will be safer as a result of this action as well.
When building a brand-new structure from the ground up, it is essential to pay special attention to the building seal and insulation of the ceilings, walls, and floors. This is especially important during the initial phases of construction. If you want your house to be truly energy efficient, you will need to install additional insulation on top of what is required by the building requirements. This will be necessary if you want your house to be comfortable year-round.
Buy Efficient Appliances And Utilities
It's possible that your home appliances are to blame for your exorbitant energy bills; however, this is precisely the situation in which energy-efficient home appliances can be of great assistance. Not only may consumers save money on their monthly energy bills by purchasing appliances that have earned the Energy Star label, but since the program's inception in 1992, Energy Star goods have also helped to cut glasshouse gas emissions by an equivalent of 3.5 billion metric tonnes.
In addition to that, you need to conduct a checkup on the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in your home. If you have duct systems that leak air, you could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars more on your energy bills over the course of a year. In addition, switching to low-energy appliances, such as LED light bulbs, low-flow faucets and toilets, or low-flow toilets, can help you save a significant amount of money over the course of their lifetimes.
Consider Integrating' Smart Home' Systems
Upgrades to your smart home can make your home more automated, and they can also reduce the amount of money you spend each month on your energy bills. If you want to save money, you should consider upgrading your smart home. Some popular upgrades include:
- The heart of the home
- Smart lighting systems
- Energy metres
- Intelligent thermostats
- Intelligently designed security systems
There are a number of different smart home devices that can learn your routines and preferences and then make suggestions for modifying your energy consumption in order to better meet your requirements while also helping you save money.
Harness Solar Power
Putting up a brand-new building, eh? Adjust the placement of your windows so that you can make the most of the natural heat that is provided by the sun. If you build a number of windows in your house that face south, you will be able to more efficiently heat it during the cooler months of the year. This is because the sun's rays are the warmest. It will be easier to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home during the hot summer months if the windows are covered.
Despite the fact that solar panels are an expensive addition, they can provide a high return on investment (ROI) and save you money on your monthly energy bills. The amount of money you save will vary depending on where you live. There is a chance that the local utility company in your area will offer you a monetary reward in exchange for the additional amount of power that your solar panels produce.
However, solar panels may have an impact on your mortgage. As a result, before you install solar panels in your home, you should make sure to discuss this possibility with the financial institution that is providing your mortgage.
Consider Your Location And Climate
Before beginning any kind of construction project or home renovation, you should make certain that you have a solid understanding of the specific energy challenges that are faced in your region. For example, if you live in an area that maintains relatively mild temperatures throughout the year, you probably won't have to go to as much trouble to insulate your home as someone who lives in a region that experiences seasonal temperature extremes. On the other hand, it's possible that there are more effective ways to spend that money in order to achieve greater overall efficiency over the course of the long term.
You might also be able to find a number of methods for making your landscape more energy-efficient; however, the specifics of this might differ depending on where you live.
Lower Your Thermostat
If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time, you should get in the habit of lowering the temperature on your thermostat. Simply lowering the temperature by three to five degrees can result in a significant reduction in both your energy consumption and the amount you spend on utilities on a monthly basis. According to the website Energy.gov, lowering the temperature on your thermostat by seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day can save you ten percent annually on the costs associated with heating and cooling your home. Are you thinking about starting a new project? The solution to your problem is the MJS Construction Group builders in Melbourne.
Limit Space Heater Use
Even though electric and gas space heaters are great for keeping your feet toasty and comfortable underneath the desk when the weather is chilly, they are not the most efficient method for heating your home. The operation of many different types of space heaters requires an amount of electricity equal to or greater than 1,500 watts, which can cause an increase in the cost of your regular energy bill. Consider piling on several layers of clothing and using blankets instead of using a space heater if you can't find one that uses less energy. Alternatively, you can check to see if the type of space heater you bought is one that uses less energy.
To get a compost pile up and running in your garden, you do not require a significant amount of space in any way. Compost is the finished product that results from allowing organic waste to sit in a pile or container for a significant amount of time and then allowing it to decompose.
The breakdown of the remnants of the fruits and vegetables you throw away not only produces a valuable fertilizer that can be used on your lawn or in your garden, but it also contributes to the reduction of waste that you produce on a daily basis.
Investigate any additional possibilities there may be to make your home more energy-efficient.
Consider Your Home's Size And Shape
It is possible that the dimensions of your home and the way it is laid out could have an effect on how efficiently it utilizes energy. This information may come as a surprise to you. It takes more raw materials to construct a large home, and because it has a larger surface area, there is a greater potential for heat transfer and draughts to occur. This means that it will cost more to heat and cool the additional space in the home, which means that it will be more expensive overall.
In addition, the shape of the house can have an impact on how efficiently it uses energy. It is more challenging to maintain a comfortable temperature in spaces that have open floor layouts and high ceilings because more air can circulate through the space. Due to the larger surface area that needs to be heated, these rooms require a greater amount of energy in order to keep up the desired level of comfort. Enclosed spaces are produced in residences by having a greater number of doors and walls, which means that the heating and cooling systems require less power to maintain the temperature that is desired.
See Which Directions Your Windows Face
The typical temperature of a room as well as the amount of natural light that it receives are both directly influenced by the orientation of the windows in that room. As a consequence of this, you need to give some thought to how you can provide superior service to the various rooms that are situated in the various wings of the house.
A room's windows that face either the north or the east will not let in an excessive amount of light, and these rooms are also likely to be cooler than the rest of the home because they are not getting as much direct sunlight.
As a consequence of this, the rooms that face north or east are the best settings for kitchens because they are able to generate their own heat and aren't utilized to the point where they require additional light.
These rooms are kept warm and well-lit without the need to make use of any electric lighting thanks to the windows that face south and west, which let in a significant amount of direct sunlight and are therefore able to receive natural light. It is perfect for areas where the whole family congregates to spend time together, such as the living room, which is utilized for a variety of purposes throughout the day. During the warmer months of the year, you might find that being in these rooms is uncomfortable; consequently, you might want to install shades or curtains to help regulate the temperature in the room.
Check That Windows And Doors Are Insulated
The number of access points in your home may have a direct correlation to an increase in the amount of energy that is consumed there. For instance, based on estimates provided by the Department of Energy, windows are responsible for the loss of anywhere from 25 to 30 percent of the energy that is used for residential purposes, such as heating and cooling your home.
Make sure that you give some consideration to the various options for your window and entrance. Windows in particular have come a long way over the years, and if you have older windows in your home that only have one pane, you should probably think about getting new ones. Depending on the climate in your area, you might also want to consider installing gas-filled windows, storm windows, or additional panes of glass in your home. These features can all help to better insulate your home from the outside elements.
In addition to this, you need to check the alignment of your windows and doors and make certain that the structure does not have any air leaks. In addition, you can examine each door and window to determine whether or not there are any drafts, whether or not there are any gaps that can be seen in the frames, and whether or not anything is stuck when you open or close them. It is in your best interest to request that the home inspector carry out a secondary check on each and every entry point.
Study Up On Water Heaters
The average home's water heater is responsible for 19 percent of the building's total energy consumption, making it the third largest domestic consumer of power behind the home's heating and cooling systems and washing machines.
Traditional water heaters are capable of heating and storing enormous quantities of water all at once; however, once the water has reached the desired temperature, it is not always used all of the water that has been heated. Tankless water heaters only heat water on demand, making them significantly more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters. Traditional water heaters heat water in a storage tank.
Tankless water heaters typically take the form of small boxes that are attached to the wall. This is in contrast to conventional water heaters, which typically have a large tank that is easily recognizable. However, the most effective way to acquire additional information is to consult with your home inspector as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Take A Look At The Insulation
Insulation is an absolute requirement for maintaining a consistent temperature inside of your home and should not be skipped. Because it prevents heat from escaping from the interior of your home to the exterior, it eases the burden on the heating and cooling systems that are already installed there, allowing them to function more efficiently.
It is essential to have a good understanding of how well your home is insulated because cooling accounts for 16 percent of residential energy use all on its own. If you are considering the purchase of an older home, you should make sure to ask your home inspector to verify that the insulation in the home is in good condition and that it is operating as it should before you make an offer.
See If The Appliances Are Energy Star Certified
The Energy Star certification is only available to home appliances that have been deemed "energy efficient" by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you want to determine whether or not an appliance has been certified as energy efficient, look for the blue Energy Star logo on the appliance. These certifications make it simpler for customers to choose products that are good for the environment and save energy.
It is strongly suggested that when you begin to replace your home appliances, you start with the ones that have the greatest impact on the total amount of power that your home consumes. The installation of a clothes dryer and refrigerator that have been awarded the Energy Star label is widely considered to be one of the most effective ways in which a home can reduce its overall energy consumption.
Upgrade To Energy-Efficient Lighting
Lighting accounts for five percent of the total amount of energy used in an average home's heating, cooling, and electrical systems. Switching to LED lightbulbs throughout your home is a straightforward way to cut down on your household's overall energy consumption. These light bulbs have a lifespan that is anywhere from twenty-five to twenty-five times longer than a conventional incandescent bulb, but they only consume twenty percent of the energy that the latter does.
In addition to this, you need to check that the light fixtures that are currently installed in your home are as energy-efficient as they possibly can be. Be sure to check the product for the Energy Star label, and prioritize the replacement of light fixtures in high-traffic areas of your home such as the kitchen and the living room. The features of the fixture, such as dimmers and timers, can also have a positive impact on the amount of energy that is consumed by the fixture.
Scan For Smart Tech
Everything from your morning routine to the safety and security of your home should be able to be automated by the devices you have in your smart home. Therefore, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to learn that smart technology can also assist you in lowering the amount of money you spend on your monthly energy bills.
Installing a smart thermostat is an excellent way to cut down on your overall energy consumption. Heating and cooling systems consume more energy than other home appliances, so installing a smart thermostat is an excellent way to reduce your overall energy consumption. You are able to change the temperature in your house, monitor it, and set routines from any location you choose outside of your house. Check out the various builder services Melbourne that we offer on our website so that you can make an educated decision regarding your treatment.
In a comparable fashion, intelligent lighting solutions attempt to automate your energy use in order to reduce waste and save money. Ingenious appliances for the home, such as refrigerators and dryers, have come up with original solutions to problems associated with the use of energy. For instance, some refrigerators come with built-in cameras that enable you to view the contents of the device without having to open the door. This is a convenient feature that is available on some models.
Check Out The Roof
Because roofs are subjected to a significant amount of sunlight, the color and material of your roof can have an impact on the amount of sunlight that is absorbed by your home, thereby affecting the amount of energy that is saved. Cool roofs are becoming an increasingly popular choice as an option for reducing the amount of heat that your roof stores as a result of exposure to the sun.
Roofs are able to keep a comfortable temperature by reflecting the light of the sun rather than absorbing it and turning it into heat. This prevents the roof from becoming overly hot. When looking for the best way to naturally reflect the light from the sun, a roof with a light color is an excellent choice. If, on the other hand, you want the roof to keep its dark appearance for aesthetic reasons, you can prevent the roof from retaining heat by applying a membrane or another type of coating that reflects light.
Having a roof that can reflect heat not only helps to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home but can also have an impact on the temperature of the air outside. When a significant number of buildings in a community have cool roofs, cities may experience lower energy demands as well as decreased emissions from the generation of power. This is because cool roofs reflect heat away from the building's interior.
Inquire with your home inspector about the current condition of the roof, as well as the many different options available for its replacement.
Start With Smart Design
The key to making zero-net energy homes as affordable as possible is to design them with intelligence. It is essential for homebuyers, designers and architects, builders, and anyone else involved in the construction of a net-zero home to have a thorough understanding of all of the energy saving measures that are incorporated into the process. In addition, the house should have its layout planned in such a way that it enables the builders and the subcontractors to carry out these processes in the most productive and cost-effective manner that is reasonably attainable.
In addition, there are a number of aspects of design about which constructors ought to inquire of designers and request that they pay special attention to the design being created for them. It is of the utmost importance that the builder and the designer keep open lines of communication with one another in order to reduce the likelihood that any of these essential particulars will be forgotten.
Optimise With Energy Modelling
You should make an estimate of the amount of energy that will be used by the house during the design phase of the house by utilizing software that is designed specifically for energy modeling. This will allow you to determine how much energy the house will require. This will ensure that the goal of having net-zero energy can be achieved while simultaneously minimizing the amount of money spent. The findings can be used to inform decisions about the structure's design, which can then be made or altered so as to strike a balance between the expense of construction and the effectiveness of the building.
Use The Sun For Solar Tempering
It is possible to reduce the amount you spend on heating your home during the winter by installing windows that face south and letting the sun heat the space through those windows. By shading the same windows in the summer, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on cooling the home. This passive use of the sun's heat can be maximized by solar tempering, and it does so without incurring the additional cost of thermal mass, which is required to accomplish optimal passive solar heating. In other words, solar tempering allows for maximum use of the sun's heat without incurring any additional costs. During the planning stage, it is important to take into account the potential for solar heating.
Super-Seal The Building Envelope
The super-sealing of the building envelope is the single most cost-effective step that builders can take to improve the energy efficiency of a zero-energy home. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] [This needs further clarification] [This needs further clarification] When it comes to airtightness, there are a few different tried-and-true methods that can be utilized. Choose a tactic that is appropriate for the circumstances you find yourself in, as well as your skills and resources.
Select An Energy-Efficient Heating And Cooling System
Installing heating and cooling systems that are both extremely efficient and cost-effective is necessary in order to achieve the goal of reaching "net-zero" energy consumption. One choice that should be taken into consideration is installing a heat pump that has its own air supply but does not utilize ductwork. This type of heat pump is commonly known as a mini-split heat pump. These systems have a very high energy efficiency and don't have the drawbacks of central systems that use forced air or the expensive expenses of heat pumps that use thermal energy.
Use Highly Insulated Windows And Doors
Windows and doors are the third most cost-effective opportunity when it comes to increasing the energy efficiency of a home because they act as large energy leaks in an otherwise well-insulated and airtight building envelope. You can manage the amount of heat that escapes and enters your home through the windows and doors by choosing the right windows and doors, installing them in strategic locations, and ensuring that their dimensions and orientation are optimized.
What exactly does it mean for a home to have a low impact on the environment in terms of energy consumption? To put it another way, it's a house that, in comparison to regular homes, has been designed, built, and furnished to make less of an impact on the environment when it comes to the amount of energy it uses for things like heating and cooling the house, as well as meeting other needs. One's monthly utility costs can be reduced and their impact on the environment can be lessened if one lives in a home that is energy efficient. This is just one of the many advantages of living in a home that is energy efficient.
If you are interested in achieving this objective, you should read our in-depth guide to the strategies that are the most productive in terms of making your home more energy-efficient. Many thanks for taking the time to read this!
Frequently Asked Questions About Energy Efficient Home
Dome-shaped homes are the most energy-efficient since they have fewer corners. In addition, this allows wind to travel over the home easily without air pressure changes, which reduces air penetration and thus maintains a more even temperature. Cube-shaped homes are another good option.
The ultra-efficient home design combines state-of-the-art construction, appliances, and lighting with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating and solar electricity.
In theory, a two-story house is more energy efficient. However, compared to its one-story counterpart with the same square footage, a two-story house has less surface area to heat and cool.
Energy efficiency is the use of less energy to perform the same task or produce the same result. Energy-efficient homes and buildings use less energy to heat, cool, and run appliances and electronics, and energy-efficient manufacturing facilities use less energy to produce goods.
Energy efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating energy waste. Energy efficiency brings a variety of benefits: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing demand for energy imports, and lowering our costs on a household and economy-wide level.