Proven Systems and Considerations For New Homes

In most areas, today's codes require the construction of energy efficient homes. Such codes have made new homes much more efficient than those built to previous standards. These requirements for tight construction and insulation necessitate interior moisture control systems and ventilation. In addition to building a home to these new standards, energy savings are possible by:

  • Building or buying a smaller houses! A smaller interior air volume requires less heating and/or less cooling than a larger interior air volume - no matter how much insulation or what type of other systems are used.
  • When purchasing land, considering various factors that will impact the energy budget of the house. For example: the availability of natural gas service, solar orientation, summer shading and wind patterns. Also consider the relative cost of travel to work, school and play.
  • Using passive solar principles in the design of the house to help heat and cool the structure. Such design principles will most likely not eliminate the need for other heating and/or cooling systems but they can make a very large and positive difference in the energy needs of the structure.
  • Purchasing energy efficient appliances.
  • Installing and using setback thermostats that allow you automatically increase and decrease the temperature setting during various times of the day and week. The cost is about $100. The return on the investment is under one year.

Things to Avoid:

  • Miracle products that are usually accompanied by high pressure sales techniques.
  • Installing new windows or siding products for the purpose of reducing heating or cooling costs. There are many good reasons to buy install new windows and siding, saving money on heating and/or cooling bills is not one of them.
  • Other expensive insulation retrofits such as blown-in sidewall insulation. Such insulation is relatively expensive in relation to the potential energy savings.

Heating Your Home