GREEN HOUSE DESIGN - let's face it, with the rise in gas prices, utility companies are having to follow suit and pass their increasing cost to their customers.
In designing a new home the two most important features are the foundation and energy efficiency. I tell all my customers when considering home construction cost, if you need to cut costs, then cut costs in other areas except your foundation and energy saving features. Even if you are lucky enough to someday pay your house off, you will never get away from paying utility bills.
The following items are energy saving features I would consider in your new home design:
SPRAY FOAM INSULATION - Spray Foam Insulation is the most energy efficient product you can install in your home, allowing you to lower your heating & cooling energy usage by 50-60%, compared to traditional insulation products, for the life of your home! That means that you are directly responsible for 50-60% less oil, natural gas or coal being burned to create electrical power to fuel your air conditioner/heater. Spray Foam Insulation is also made with renewable plant oils, recycled water bottles and is manufactured on-site as it is applied so to start the process in an environmentally friendly way and significantly reduce the fuel used to the insulate your home. ( Click the image on the right to view a video of spray foam insulation ----> )
Windows are the most common place for homes to lose heat in the winter and cool air in the summer. Glass is an excellent conductor by which hot and cold air move quickly in and out of homes, meaning your heating and cooling units have to work much harder to keep you comfortable. To help keep that air where you want it, consider using energy efficient blinds on your windows, and replace your windows with energy-efficient ones. Also look for "Low-E" windows, which often have double panes with argon or krypton gas between the panes. This gas barrier helps reduce conductivity without affecting the view.
Aluminum frames do not rank especially high as an energy efficient option because they are heat conductors—the flow of energy is not as regulated as with other framing products. They are quite cost effective and it doesn’t take much to maintain them. Vinylframes (also called PVC, uPVC and PVCu), are more energy efficient than aluminum frames while popular for its low cost, low maintenance, resistance to moisture. Wood frames are energy efficient, though they will cost you quite a few pennies at the outset and in regular maintenance costs. They are relatively easy to repair if broken, and you can ensure a sustainable product by purchasing from a certified supplier.
Ductwork sealed with mastic, a concrete-based paste painted over joints to prevent air leakage or with foam insulation.
Air conditioning systems with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) of 15, exceeding the code minimum of 12.
With houses being so tight it is recommended to provide a outside (fresh) air intake.
Fresh Air Ventilation System
Dual-flush toilet that uses 0.8 gallon flushes for liquid or light waste, 1.6 gallons for solid waste. Manufacturer Kohler says the toilet can save up to 2,000 gallons of water per year.
While residents leave the heat off in their homes when they leave for vacation, the same cannot be said for hot water in most households. It seems only logical to leave the hot water off when it is not needed.
This is the logic behind the "tankless" or "instant" water heater, which provides on-demand and instantaneous hot water at an efficient and less costly rate. And though the intangible savings of fossil fuel pollution and water waste are not immediately apparent, the fact that energy and water are such indelible aspects of a home’s eco-footprint means that the water heater is an ideal target for those aiming to conserve.
Tankless heaters not only save several square feet of storage space—there’s also no stand-by energy losses and no sitting water. Typical tankless water heaters can be about 35 percent more energy efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters for a home that uses about 40 gallons of hot water a day.
Depending on the extent of their use, tankless heaters can yield energy savings of up to 50 percent if they are installed in a strategic and advantageous manner. Since approximately 15 percent of the total energy expenditure of typical households goes to heating water, the benefits can be far-reaching.