Published on October 8th, 2018 | by Mathias
4 Things to Consider When Building an Energy Efficient Home
Home ownership is always a great goal. It’s a significant step towards becoming financially independent. But in order to be an environmentally conscious individual, you also have to pay attention to issues like energy efficiency and sustainability. Giving these topics priority in your planning process will go a long way towards building a green home.
4 Tips for Building a Green Home
If you live in a home that was built 50, 30, or even 10 years ago, it requires a lot of effort to reduce the negative impact the home has on the environment. The way in which homes were built in decades past simply isn’t environmentally friendly.
If you’re serious about living in an eco-friendly home, the far more cost-effective option is to build a new one. The following tips will help you make the most of it:
Be Smart With Architecture
The architecture of the home obviously has a big impact on its energy efficiency. Lots of windows might look good from an aesthetic point of view, but it’s costly regarding heat loss during the winter. Modifying your plans so they conserve energy, rather than waste it, should be a primary focus.
Be Meticulous in Material Selection
If you’re going to spend time thinking about one particular aspect of your green home build, it should be the material selection. The more strategic you are with materials, the more efficient your home will ultimately be.
Material selection is important in terms of siding, flooring, appliances, finishes, and everything else in between, but few areas should command more attention than the roof.
“The material used on your roof can make a dramatic difference in your home’s energy efficiency,” real estate developer Steve Sanders writes. “You may want to consider a product that reflects the sun’s energy away from the roof, cools faster at night and holds less heat for less time in order to help reduce energy costs and usage related to heat. Slate, terra cotta, white tiles, special membranes, and metal roofing are a few of the roofing products available with varying degrees of green benefits.”
Think About Home Orientation
The orientation of your house in respect to the land is something few people think about when building, but it actually plays an integral role in the energy efficiency of your property.
“Placement of your house is easy on a lot that faces north or south to the street. Plan your site so that the widest sides of your house also face north and south. This usually means that the ends of the roof ridge line on a rectangular house will point to the east and west,” entrepreneur Janet Beal explains.
“Ideally, for energy-conserving purposes, a house on an east- or west-facing lot should also have the long side facing south if possible,” Beal continues. “With the ridge line oriented east-west, this may mean that a narrow side of the house faces the street.”
The easiest solution is to purchase a house and land package, where the house is perfectly optimized for the lot. By taking things like lot orientation and surrounding features into account, the home can take advantage of the sun’s natural capacity to provide light, heat, and power.
Don’t Build More House Than You Need
The biggest piece of advice is to build a house within reason. In other words, don’t build more house than you need. Sure, you might be able to afford a 5,000-square-foot build, but can you live in 2,500-square-feet? The smaller your home, the less energy it’s going to consume.
Putting it All Together
There’s no way to build a house that has a zero-sum impact on the environment. Some builders might claim they can do it, but this is an exaggeration. There are, however, plenty of actionable steps you can take to reduce your impact and make more efficient use of the energy that you and your family consume. Hopefully, this has given you a nice launching point to start the process of building a green home.