6 Tips for Building an Energy-Efficient Home

Homeowners are always on the hunt for ways to reduce their energy consumption and utility bills. While energy-efficient materials and systems can be retrofitted into existing homes, it is much easier to incorporate these elements when building a home from scratch.

Use these tips to construct an energy-efficient, eco-friendly home.

Choose high-performing building materials.
energy efficient new construction home

Certain building materials perform better than the rest. When prompted to choose your siding, insulation, windows, doors, roofing, etc., opt for high-performing materials that will reduce the overall energy your home requires.

Choose double- or even triple-pane Energy-Star rated windows with Low-E glass. This low-emissivity coating reflects heat, keeping a consistent temperature inside your home and reducing the strain on your HVAC system.

Consider using composite materials for your decking or roofing. These lightweight alternatives are often manufactured with recycled fibers and provide superior durability and longevity when compared to traditional lumber or shingles. 

Install an energy-efficient HVAC system.

Your HVAC system consumes the most energy out of any single household appliance or system. Therefore, it is highly important that it is an efficient and well-managed component. 

Start by making sure the heating and cooling system you install in your new home is properly sized. Systems that are undersized will not adequately heat your home and systems that are oversized will consume unnecessary energy. An HVAC professional or engineer will complete a heat-loss calculation based on the square footage of your home to recommend a proper size.

For the HVAC system itself, choose one with a high Energy-Star rating, certifying its energy efficiency. You can also install a system with separate zone controls. This allows you to set different temperatures throughout your house and conserve energy where possible.

Construct a tight building envelope.

The building envelope, or the shell of your home, consists of the foundation, exterior walls, and roof. By creating a tight, robust seal with these elements, you can ensure treated air from the inside does not escape outside and vice versa.

One of the most impactful components of your building envelope is the insulation. Insulation is measured in R-value or the ability to resist heat flow. Choose a high R-value that will be effective in your specific climate. Additionally, consider using spray foam insulation for better overall coverage inside your walls.

Openings in your building envelope, whether for windows, doors, or pipes, need to be tightly sealed to prevent air from escaping. Sturdy caulking around window frames and robust weatherstripping around door openings will provide this airtight seal.

Use energy-efficient appliances and fixtures.

You will be flooded with options when purchasing appliances and fixtures for your new home. Besides finishes and features, think about the energy-efficiency of the items you choose. Consider incorporating these efficient products into your new residence:

  • Tankless Water Heater – A traditional hot water heater keeps a storage tank full of hot water, requiring an endless loop ofenergy efficient building kitchen great room heating. Tankless water heaters heat water on-demand as you need it, reducing standby energy consumption.
  • Energy-Star Appliances – From refrigerators to washing machines, every appliance for your home is available in an Energy-Star rated option. These appliances will require less energy to operate and ultimately reduce your energy bills.
  • Efficient Light Fixtures – CFL and LED light bulbs have effectively taken the place of traditional incandescents. These options use far less energy day-to-day and will last much longer, making the higher initial investment worth it in the long run.
Incorporate smart features.

It is slowly becoming the standard to integrate smart features into newly built homes. Through Wi-Fi connections and programmable features, smart home technology allows you to have better control over your home.

Integrating programmable thermostats into your HVAC system can save you a lot of energy. By customizing the inputs, your HVAC system will automatically adjust your temperature at different times of the day or when you are away to limit energy consumption.

Consider alternative energy sources.

While most homes rely on power from the electrical grid, this is no longer the only viable option. Savvy homeowners are now equipping their homes to harness energy from renewable sources located on their own property.

The most popular alternative energy source for the average homeowner is solar power. By installing solar panels on your roof or in your yard, you can reduce your energy costs and gain energy independence.

Incorporating energy efficient materials and methods into your new home requires lots of planning and informed decision making. Partner with a home builder that is committed to eco-friendly building practices. Check out our Energy Advantage Program here.

By Brionna Farney