Exploring How To Improve Home Construction is an excellent resource for high-performance building. The authors, industry experts Justin Wilson, Gord Cooke, Mark LaLiberte, and Andrew Oding, present best building practices with a deep understanding of house science.
It’s usually cheaper to add energy-efficient elements during construction than to retrofit them later on. Here are some tips and tricks to help you do just that!
1. Look for Energy-Efficient Elements
Saving energy is important for the environment, and it’s also a great way to save money. Home builders can increase the energy efficiency of a building by using certain elements and materials. For example, they can install windows that are oriented north and south to minimize direct sunlight in the summer. They can also use a programmable thermostat to control heating and cooling when the house is unoccupied.
Newer homes are more energy efficient than older ones, but even existing houses can be made more energy efficient with upgrades. Some of these improvements include insulation, high-efficiency appliances and light fixtures. You can also use a renewable energy source such as solar power to reduce your energy bills.
Recent technological advances in building components and construction techniques allow most modern energy-saving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into a new house design without compromising comfort, health or aesthetics. For example, you can use Fox Blocks insulated concrete forms to build a home that requires less energy to heat and cool.
2. Install Windows Facing North and South
The location of windows plays an important role in the aesthetics of a home. For new construction, it is best to orient your home to take advantage of scenic landscape views by maximizing the number of windows on the north and south sides of the building. However, if you install large numbers of south facing windows in your home it is important to manage the amount of heat they bring in during the summer. This is accomplished by using window coverings, planting deciduous trees that can cast shade, or installing awnings. The glare coming through these bare windows can also be disruptive and harsh light carries damaging UV rays that cause subtle fading of interior furnishings.
3. Install Insulation
Insulation is a key part of any home construction that can save energy by slowing and reducing heat transfer. It is much more cost-effective to install insulation at the time of construction than to add it after a house is completed.
Adding insulation to the attic, walls and floors of a home can make a huge difference in energy efficiency. It can help to lower utility bills, improve comfort and increase the effectiveness of a zoned HVAC system.
Many state and local building codes set minimum requirements for insulation. In addition to meeting those minimum standards, consider incorporating higher levels of insulation into the home for future energy savings. When working with insulation, remember to protect your skin, eyes and lungs by wearing long sleeves, pants, gloves, safety glasses and a respirator. Also, use advanced wall framing techniques to reduce thermal bridging and maximize the insulated wall area.