Are you considering building your own home? Want to leave a smaller carbon footprint? Want to be as energy efficient as possible? Did you know that people more than ever are looking to build and buy homes that are more Green? Here is a short list of things to consider when building or buying an energy efficient home.
Build Vertical, not Horizontal
The most expensive parts about building your home is the foundation and the roof. You can save money by building up instead of out. Having more stories will decrease the surface area of the foundation and roof which in turn will decrease cost and improve energy efficiency. By exposing less area of the house to the outside air it'll be easier to heat and cool. Building multiple stories will decrease plumbing and duct work and in turn use less materials and energy. To qualify for an ENERGY STAR rating, the house must be 3 stories or less.
2. Building Materials
A lot of products are labeled "green" but you still need to be mindful of what is actually in them. Generally you want to look for products that are made from natural and renewable materials and also products with recycled materials.
3. Pick Energy Efficient Windows, Insulation, & Appliances
Picking ENERGY STAR windows and appliances will improve efficiency performance and keep more money in your pockets. The EPA established the ENERGY STAR program in 1992 under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g). Windows with the ENERGY STAR rating will effectively insulate your home through features such as double paned windows and specially coated glass. The biggest key to energy efficiency is the insulation you choose. Not all insulations are created equal. Here is a link to the list of ENERGY STAR certified insulations you may choose from: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate/certified_insulation.
4. Use Renewable Energy Sources
*Oil, gas, and coal are not renewable. These are "limited" energy sources*
5. Why is building a Green/Energy efficient home a good option?
-Increase home marketability
-Increase resale value
-Increase comfort of home
-Save money on energy bills
-And of course, to help the environment
6. Fun Facts About Green Buildings
-Health is better in Green built structures
-In Green schools, student test scores are 20% higher
-In Green hospitals, nurses make fewer mistakes and patients are released 2 days earlier
-In Green office buildings, productivity is higher and absenteeism is lower
-In Green shopping malls, retail sales are higher
7. Major Problem With Buildings Today
-40% of raw stone, gravel, and sand indirectly cause toxic runoff, deforestation, and air/water pollution from processing.
-Buildings use 40% of total energy, adding to local air pollution, acid rain, and damming of rivers.
-25% of virgin wood is used for construction, adding to deforestation and flooding.