08 Dec How New Homes Win the Energy Battle
How to save money on energy bills
Now that the winter season is upon us, home energy efficiency is more important than ever. The last thing anyone wants is to see high home heating bills during the blistering cold months.
This is where custom home builders almost always have the advantage in energy efficiency. Customers are not limited to the prearranged materials selected by the builder to maximize profits which you find in mass produced homes. Instead, by choosing a new custom home, you are free to choose some of the newest, most state of the art building materials to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.
When considering the frigid winter months, the best things to consider are the ways to minimize air leakage which subsequently leads to heat loss and lost dollars.
Windows and doors should be beautiful and efficient additions to your new home. Unfortunately, they can also be an area where enormous heat loss occurs through cold drafts and inferior materials.
High efficiency designs of windows and doors work to maximize light but maintain interior temperatures in all seasons. Newer, low-E windows can have a clear coating of metallic oxide. They also often have gas fills between the window panes to further insulate your home. These windows are designed to greatly reduce the emissivity of these windows keeping your warm air inside and the cold outside this winter.
Have you ever been in an older home where the walls simply felt cold to the touch? Chances are high that home had inadequate levels of insulation. Traditional insulation products use fiberglass. Large pieces of insulation are tucked into the walls before drywall is installed and rolled out in the attic to protect against heat loss.
New homes use the latest in fiberglass insulation technology, with high R-values and vapor barriers built in to keep walls dry.
Newer products such as spray foam can be superior to traditional fiberglass insulation in many cases. These products create an air tight seal behind the drywall, in the attic, and around leaky electrical outlets preventing cold air from penetrating your new home. Spray foam insulation can reduce heating costs up to 50% over traditional insulation in some installations.
Home Automation Systems
While every facet of our lives have become more technologically advanced, so too have our homes. Home automation systems can work to greatly increase the energy efficiency of your custom home and save you money in the long run. Smart thermostats have automatic settings which maximize energy efficiency yet are customizable to fit your lifestyle by turning the heat down while you are at work or asleep and slowly raising the temperature before your return. Advanced systems can ensure that lights are off when you are not home and that blinds are opened or closed to maximize the benefit of day light and protect from the night time cold.
Choose the Most Efficient Appliances
Energy Star appliances and mechanicals are the gold standard in energy efficiency. Appliances that display the Energy Star rating have met EPA requirements and are considered industry leaders in energy efficiency.
Furnaces take a great deal of energy to heat your home. By choosing an Energy Star furnace and other appliances such as washers, dryers, air conditioners, water heaters, and refrigerators for your custom home you will save money over the life of the appliance.
Select Building Materials that Reduce Air Leakage
Better built homes use better materials, plain and simple. Most homes are built with traditional wood framing using a large amount of virgin lumber. Recycled steel products are becoming popular framing materials for their overall strength and resistance to fire, mold and wind damage. However, if you live in a cold climate, you should consider insulated concrete forms which can reduce HVAC costs up to 40%.
When considering building materials that will increase the energy efficiency of your new home for years to come, a custom home is the clear choice. Consulting with your custom home builder will allow you to create a package of energy efficient features that best fit your lifestyle and budget.