We all know that contractors can customize a home to suit your preferences, but the design process doesn’t have to stop at countertop selection and curb appeal. Consider utilizing cost-effective measures to reduce building loads and energy needs. This will save money and improve the energy performance of your new home. A well-thought-out strategy to improve household energy efficiency can bring more comfort to you and your family for years to come.
Start with a smart design
Contractors and builders know that the most energy-efficient homes start with energy-efficient designs. They can make specific decisions during the building process to optimize energy performance strategies.
With the right design, a 1,500 to 1,800 square foot home can provide plenty of functionality, storage, and traffic flow for smaller families. Also, the position of the home on the building site can be calculated to make the most of seasonal sun angles. The orientation of the design can maximize passive heating and cooling according to local climate conditions.
Your builder should also incorporate insulated windows and doors for optimal protection against the elements. Cost can play a role in determining which products you install in your new home, but double or triple-glazed windows can significantly reduce your energy usage, leading to long-term savings.
Install solar panels
You can achieve a green home with solar panels by taking advantage of local climate and site conditions. They are the most expensive of all options for reducing energy use, but solar panels are also the most effective renewable power source available for most residences.
Your builder can suggest placement options to maximize sun exposure. The location should have unobstructed sunlight from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to increase the reliability and effectiveness of using solar energy to power your home.
Plant shade trees and shrubs around your house
Landscape design can deliver more than curb appeal. Proper landscaping can leverage the protection of trees and shrubs to reduce your energy needs. This can lead to a significant reduction in heating and cooling costs.
The primary focus should be to create cooling summer shade and insulate against heat loss during the winter months. For instance, tall and thick vegetation makes an effective windbreak to protect homes from icy winter winds. Trees can shade windows that receive direct sunlight and cut down on the amount of heat that passes into a home in the summer.
Choose energy-efficient appliances
Appliances are responsible for most of a home’s energy usage. When shopping for your new home, Energy Star products are the best choice to increase the energy efficiency of your appliances and your home.
Don’t go overboard on size, as smaller appliances use less power. If you put thought into right-sizing your refrigerator, clothes washer, and dishwasher, you’ll be well on your way to a green home.
Lower your thermostat
Besides wasting energy, cooling your house with an air conditioner during the spring and summer months can be very expensive. But you can be comfortable in your new home and be mindful of energy use at the same time. Set your thermostat to a lower temperature to rack up the energy savings. For a more eco-friendly approach, aim to set your thermostat as close to the temperature outside as you can stand.
A programmable thermostat can help if you're wondering how to reduce your power bill. These devices let you set the thermostat to different temperatures throughout the day to minimize energy usage. For instance, heating or cooling your home all day while you’re away at work is needlessly wasteful. Instead, set your thermostat to conserve power while you’re away and to resume a regular temperature setting when you return home.
Energy-saving measures start during the building process and continue throughout the time you live in your home. Work with your builder on home design and appliance selection and be sure to consider how solar panels could further reduce your energy consumption. After moving into your new place, continue using energy-saving tactics to minimize the amount of energy your home uses in the long term.