If there is one trend in home construction that is not going to go away, it is building energy efficient homes. An energy efficient home has to be planned right from the beginning to reap full benefits of energy efficiency. It starts with the position and the placement of the home on the lot. You have to utilize the sun exposure as well as the terrain on the lot to maximize the energy efficiency of the home.
When it comes to building an energy efficient home, there are three key areas you need to consider:
Insulation and Windows
You need to keep in mind the R-value of your insulation to make sure the insulation keeps your home warm and cozy throughout the year. The most important area of the home that needs insulation is the roof. However, at the same time, you will also have to ensure adequate amount of roof ventilation. You may have to use air filtration systems and roof vents to make sure air doesn’t get locked inside the home. Windows need to be double or triple-glazed to reduce loss of energy. Ideally the quality of the window you install should match the insulating value of your walls.
Solar Energy and Photovoltaics
Making the home tight as a drum is not the way to build an energy efficient home. You should think about generating your own energy using the sunlight. Eliminating utility bills is one thing; you can even make the utility companies pay you if you manage to create an energy surplus. Installing photovoltaic panels can help you get some tax credits from the federal government. Apart from providing all the electrical power a home may need, these panels can also run hot water systems efficiently. Using the latest photovoltaic technology you can even camouflage your solar panels, making them virtually invisible.
Heating and Cooling
It may be easier to find and install a forced air heating and cooling system that is popularly used today. But this won’t exactly make your home energy-efficient. A wise option would be to install a heat pump, or a geothermal heat pump, or even use hydronic heating if you want to achieve a greater level of comfort. The cost of installing such systems during construction could be dramatically cheaper. Make sure you consider the local climate conditions before choosing the right heating or cooling system.
Talking to an architect would be a good start to building an energy efficient home. For more information you can also take a look at the nyc energy code.