From the Ground Up

How to Build an Energy Efficient Home

1202-02

One of the many benefits of building your next home is that you can make it energy efficient. Efficient homes will reduce energy bills while giving back to the environment in the process. Here are some elements to consider when designing an energy-efficient home:

Location

One of the first considerations that go into building an energy-efficient home is the location. You want your home to be in an area that is naturally protected from elements like wind, rain, and snow. Selecting the building site and positioning the home appropriately on the building envelope is essential. Certain cities also provide tax credits for more energy efficient homes.

Energy Efficient Windows

Having energy-efficient windows is one of the most cost-effective things you can do when it comes to designing an energy-efficient home. Control window heat loss by selecting appropriate window products, carefully locating them, and optimizing their size and orientation. 

Roof Design

“Cool roofs” take standard roofing materials like tiles, shingles, or paint, and integrate them with reflective components. This can result in big savings, especially in the warmer months as it reflects the sun’s rays and absorbs less heat from the exterior. Other roof design elements include more advanced features like solar panels or green roofs.

Appliances

One of the simplest ways to make your home more efficient is to choose the right appliances. When designing your custom home, you have the option to select every appliance, from the refrigerator to your washer/dryer. Choosing appliances that are Energy Star-rated will help lower your utility bill.

Insulation

Choosing the right insulation can be a crucial decision to the efficiency of your new build. If your home is not well insulated, your heating and cooling systems have to work harder to keep temperatures consistent. If you choose an insulating material with the highest R-value (the rating of thermal resistance), you will reduce energy loss and save on heating and cooling costs. 

Lighting

Using energy-efficient lights that use less wattage is another simple step in reducing energy usage. LED lights are a great option as they last longer, don’t contain mercury, and offer a variety of lighting preferences. Additionally, strategically placing your lights and utilizing natural light will also drastically reduce your home’s energy use. 

Heating and Cooling System

You can also consider installing a high-efficiency heating and cooling unit. During the home building process, you can express interest in energy reduction with your  HVAC contractor. They’ll design the size and layout of ductwork to optimize performance and efficiency. 

Energy efficiency is just one benefit of building a custom home, to learn about more benefits download our Ultimate Guide to Home Building in West Michigan.