Maximize the Energy Efficiency of Your New Home

Hi David,

We’re looking to build our 1st home and are looking for advice in making it as energy efficient as possible.

In addition to Energy Star appliances, Tankless water heaters, 14 SEER HVAC, cellulose spray insulation and low E windows we’re interested in Solar Shingles and rain water collectors and any other suggestions.

Thanks
Tom

Dear Tom,

Here’s my list of the 5 most important things you can do to maximize the energy efficiency of your new home:

1. Site your building to maximize or minimize solar gain depending on your climate.
2. Use deep overhangs and deciduous trees to maximize seasonal shading.
3. Install the greatest amount of wall and roof insulation you can afford.
4. Install the most energy efficient doors and windows you can afford.
5. Install the most efficient HVAC equipment you can afford.

It sounds like you’ve got many of these items on your list already. If you want to add more items, there are endless resources available on the web.

Two major organizations who promote energy efficiency are the U.S. Green Building Council, http://www.usgbc.org/, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), http://www.nahbgreen.org/.

Don’t forget to provide adequate ventilation for your energy efficient home. If you build it correctly, your home will be extremely air-tight which can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality problems. Building Sciences Corporation is a good source of information about this issue.

Good luck with your project.

David Moore, AIA
Original Home Plans

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