If you are in the process of having a new home built for your family, one of your major design concerns will probably be energy efficiency. With the rising cost of electricity, special attention must be given to ways in which to construct a home that is both attractive and cost-effective in the long run. Here are some design tips to consider.
Seal It in an Envelope
Before doing anything else, you must make it clear to your contractor that you want special attention given to the home’s building envelope. This is literally everything that goes into separating the external from internal environments. In other words, the design and materials used in the structure of the home will keep your HVAC climate-controlled home sealed off from elements such as heat, cold, wind, and moisture. This is a vital step in an energy efficient home.
Energy Efficient HVAC Units
Believe it or not, HVAC units play an integral part of home design. The location of the compressor is important for a number of reasons such as noise and outdoor aesthetics. Then, in terms of the building’s envelope, you must decide whether you want a ducted system or a ductless system. This can be critical in areas of the country like San Diego County where the temperatures soar much of the year. Central AC installation in Escondido, for example, would necessitate a unit that will not mar the landscaping but will offer sufficient cooling for hot summer days. This company can help with AC installations in San Diego County and will work with contractors to ensure the most energy efficient installation possible for the size and style of the home being built.
Incorporate Water Heating Technology
Another area of the new home design that can make a huge difference in energy efficiency is water heating technology. Here is something many new home buyers aren’t familiar with because most people operate on the assumption that conventional water heating tanks are the only option they have. Usually, their thoughts revolve around choosing between gas and electric water heaters, but today’s water heating technology has gone far beyond that. Now, it is possible to heat your home’s water using:
- Conventional Water Tanks (as mentioned above)
- Tankless Water Heaters – also called On-Demand Hot Water
- Hybrid Water Heaters – also called Heat Pump Water Heaters
- Condensing Water Heaters
- Solar Water Heaters
Of the abovementioned water heaters, the three you may be least familiar with are Tankless, Hybrid and Condensing types of water heaters. These do bear further research because each family has varying needs in hot water usage and so the type of unit you choose may be dependent upon that. Talk to your builder to see which options are best suited to the design of your home along with your projected water usage.
Consider the Actual Placement of Your Home
Did you know that there is an energy conservation technique known as solar tempering? This is where the house is positioned to make use of the energy from the sun. In colder climates, you would want windows to be located so that the afternoon rays can easily shine through windows, helping to conserve energy when heating the home. In warmer climates, you would want the exact opposite. The placement of the home would be such that the rays from the hottest part of the day will not shine into the home, thereby reducing the efficiency of air conditioning. Remember, the harder your unit has to work, the less energy-efficient it will be.
Energy Efficient Doors and Windows
Speaking of windows, this is another design element to consider. Whether choosing double-paned, highly insulated windows or single-paned windows, it is imperative that they are sealed efficiently. You want to keep the outside air out and obviously keep the climate-controlled air in. There are various ways to go about this, but your installer will be able to explain the various options to you. Do take time to thoroughly understand just how important energy efficient doors and windows are in terms of reducing energy usage and cutting operating costs.
Alternative Energy Solutions
By this point in time, there isn’t a prospective homebuyer on earth who doesn’t understand conservation and the limited supply of fossil fuels which continues to drive the cost of energy skyward. Not only are today’s homeowners concerned with fuel supply, but the availability as well. Since oil is highly dependent on geopolitical factors, there may come a time when alternative energy solutions are necessitated. Solar may be the best solution for your home in the San Diego area simply because wind turbines may not be as efficient if they are allowed in the development where your home is being built. Waterpower isn’t an option in most cases if your property isn’t located on a body of running water. Do be aware of the fact that there are a variety of ways in which solar power can be installed and the placement of the system you choose is an important element of home design.
Design Is the Biggest Factor in Energy Efficiency
So, in conclusion, you can clearly see that design is the biggest factor in energy efficiency. From the positioning of your home in terms of utilizing energy from the sun to the way in which your home is insulated from the external environment, designing a home is so much more than aesthetics. Yes, that is a factor, so talk to your builder and subcontractors about ways in which to accomplish efficiency without marring the beauty of your new home.
Finally, you will want to work with a builder who is amenable to you as the homebuyer and knows that you can choose your own subcontractors if you don’t like the solutions offered by those typically contracted by the general contractor, the builder. If you have worked with an HVAC specialist in the past, for example, make sure your builder isn’t opposed to working with a company of your choosing. Remember, it is your home being built, so it is also your right to incorporate the energy efficient design elements of your choosing.