Energy. Green. New. Remodeled. Savings.
Which of these words grabbed your attention first? With so many articles and buzzwords around each of them online, we wanted a Holistic approach to embrace what REALLY matters about the subject.
So you’re building a new home or remodeling an old one. You know you wanna save on energy costs–good for the environment; good for your wallet. But to get the maximum energy efficiency out of your home, you must carefully plan, research, and pay attention to a bunch of details. That’s why we recommend a “holistic” approach. Consider all areas of the WHOLE house that affect energy efficiency and address the interaction between you, your property, climate, and other components of your home.
To break it down, focus on these main areas:
- Heating and cooling
- Appliances and home electronics
- Water heating
- Windows, doors, and skylights
Heating and Cooling
Wow! Did you know heating and cooling usually account for about 56% of your home’s energy consumption? Ouch–that’s a lot! So when you upgrade or replace an existing system, be sure to address the all-too-important supporting equipment like thermostats and air ducts. These give you more opportunities for saving energy. And in your new home, work with your builder to consider the wide variety of technologies available now for heating and cooling.
Appliances and Home Electronics
No question–all those plug-in gizmos we like use up A LOT of energy…usually about 20% of a home’s consumption. Think about everything running in your house: washers and dryers, computers, dishwashers, home audio equipment, refrigerator and freezer, air conditioners, TVs, DVD players/gaming consoles, water heaters, and the list goes on. One thing you can do to ensure these conveniences provide maximum efficiency, is verify they are ENERGY STAR-qualified. Look for this symbol as a guide.
Having good insulation is one of the best ways you can save on energy costs. Plus it provides added comfort and noise reduction (who doesn’t want that). If you’ve got an older home, improving the insulation could make a huge difference in your overall efficiency and livability. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a good understanding about which types and quantities of insulation to use for our climate and type of heating/cooling system you have or plan to install. Seeking expert advice is a good idea!
If you haven’t yet swapped out your inefficient incandescent light bulbs, well, get with the program! You’re missing out on possibly reducing your lighting costs by up to 50%-70% with the artificial lighting technologies we have now. Of course, you can also maximize the natural daylight in and around your home with strategically placed windows and skylights, further reducing any need for artificial lighting.
Unless you never use hot water, you’re probably spending about 14%-25% of your home’s energy use heating it. Luckily there are many energy savings options out there. Strategies include how hot water is used, insulation techniques, and installing energy saving equipment.
Windows, Doors, and Skylights…
…oh my! Can these culprits ever gain and lose heat! Think about it, they conduct heat directly through glass and frames; they radiate heat into the house from the sun and out of the house from room-temperature objects, such as people, furniture, and interior walls; and they leak air through and around their various openings. The good news is, when you select new doors and windows, you can check their energy performance ratings. These will tell you how much they’ll gain or lose heat and how they’ll transmit sunlight into your home.
That about covers it. Basically builders and designers who use this holistic approach to energy savings know that features of one component greatly affect other components in your home. They all work together and ultimately provide the most energy efficiency possible.
Ready to step up to the challenge? Give us a call. We can help!
You can also check out the website for the U.S. Department of Energy for more information about these six energy savings techniques.