How to Build an Energy-Efficient Home - And Keep It That Way!
Eco-friendly homes are the future. Nobody wants to waste money on an inefficiently designed home and the vast majority of us do not want to deliberately cause damage to the environment. Aside from building comfortable, sustainable homes, energy-efficient buildings are known to be better for the environment. They also save money, especially in the long run.
While the word “energy-efficient” is thrown around a lot when it comes to real estate, how can you make sure your home is eco-friendly? What should you consider if you’re building a property? How can you maintain an energy-efficient home? Let’s find out.
Building an Energy-Efficient Home
If you are building a property yourself, you have a fantastic opportunity to create your home as energy-efficient as you would like. However, this might mean thinking outside the box, or even deviating from the norm. So, what should you consider before you get started? Ideally, take the time to include eco-friendly options in your planning stage.
There are a variety of benefits to using a timber frame. First of all, timber is a renewable building material. However, this doesn’t mean that you should use just any kind of timber. In some areas, forests are being razed for timber, which is not eco-friendly at all. Check that your timber comes from a sustainably managed timber forest.
Additionally, timber locks in carbon, instead of allowing it to be released into the atmosphere. It also balances design flexibility with good thermal performance. This makes timber easily one of the most eco-friendly options available.
Window Glazing and Draft Seals
Cutting corners on glazed and sealed windows is no good in the long run. Properly glazed homes lose considerably less heat, keeping your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In turn, this means that you waste less energy heating or cooling your home.
Use Locally Sourced Materials
Locally sourced materials are the best way to cut right down on shipping emissions and costs. It also means you can be sure your materials are coming from a sustainable, respectable source. Of course, buying locally isn’t always practical or even possible. However, why not see if you can add local materials during your planning stage?
While solar panels can be initially expensive, they have a great payoff in the long run. Solar panels generate energy to be used by the homeowner and their family and can cut back your energy costs. Additionally, solar power is clean, sustainable, and renewable - a very eco-friendly choice.
Proper Wall and Loft Insulation
Properly insulating your home prevents energy wastage. Just as heat can slip out from poorly-glazed windows or drafty rooms, bad insulation will cost you more in heating and electricity costs in the long run. Proper insulation is important regardless of the size or type of home you live in.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of energy-efficient modifications you could make! Take some time to do research, and you might come up with some new ideas.
Maintaining an Energy-Efficient Home
Once you’ve got your property well insulated and fully draft-proof, does that mean you’ve done your job? Not quite. Even in an energy-efficient property, careless maintenance habits can lead to wasted energy. Here are a few things you can do on an almost daily basis to keep your house running efficiently.
Turn Down the Thermostat
Even turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees can make a noticeable impact on your heating bill. However, properly glazed windows, good insulation, and draft-free rooms will help your home to stay warm without needing to crank up the thermostat.
Maintain or Update Your Boiler
Shockingly, inefficient boilers can leave you with an expensive energy bill. Aside from racking up the costs, inefficient boilers also mean that more carbon is making its way into the open. Newer boilers are more energy-efficient and could get you some significant savings. You might not realize how much money (and energy!) your old boiler was costing you - until you get a new one.
Use Energy-Saving Light Bulbs (and turn off the lights!)
Energy-saving light bulbs tend to last longer, as well as being a more eco-friendly option. As well as replacing your light bulbs, remember to switch off lights when you aren’t using them! This might seem like simple common sense, but most of us really do forget. While occasionally leaving a light on in the kitchen overnight probably won’t break the bank, making a habit of leaving on the lights will soon start costing you money - and wasting energy.
Use Energy-Efficient Space Heaters instead of Central Heating
You might find it more efficient to use a space heater to only warm up one room in the house, instead of using your central heating. This can be a handy trick if you’re alone in the house. There’s no point heating up the spare bedroom if you’re sitting downstairs watching TV. Finding a reliable, energy-efficient space heater may be cheaper in the long run.
Should You Get Renovation Help?
Finding your perfect home is exciting, yet nerve-wracking. If you’re searching for a new property, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Additionally, many “energy-efficient” benefits of a property may not be eco-friendly at all or simply make no difference.
Whether you’re building or buying, you might want to think about enlisting some help. Richard Fung, a top home builder in London, Ontario, says building a new home means so much more than laying bricks and mortar. Finding a good builder could be the difference between an easy and hassle-free build versus not getting what you want and having more hassle than necessary.
It’s always good to do thorough research before taking on contractors. You may even want to search up previous clients and read any reviews on the company’s website. However, a good builder can turn your dream home into a reality.
Do the Little Energy Efficiency Things Really Matter?
It can be easy to get caught up in the big elements of energy efficiency. Solar panels, new boilers, and proper insulation are all crucial to an efficient, well-run home.
However, make sure not to neglect the seemingly insignificant things. Energy efficiency and possible environmental damage is something that most of us are beginning to concern more and more. While it’s vital to think about the big things, don’t forget that the small things you do - not wasting water or energy, switching off lights, recycling, avoiding plastics and non-biodegradable materials - all of this makes a difference.
Small things count. Whether for good or bad, the little things you do add up make a big difference. So, let’s keep track of those little things and strive to maintain optimal energy efficiency at every stage.
If you want additional home energy information, check out this detailed winter energy saving tips article to help maximize your savings during the coldest season.
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