The Energy Efficient Home – Traits, Features, and Design Techniques

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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At some point in the future, all homes will be designed with energy efficiency in mind. However, you can always design your own energy-efficient home. If you’re after ultra-efficient home design, you will need a design that combines state-of-the-art energy-efficient construction with renewable energy systems like solar water heating and solar electricity.

Currently, it is easier to incorporate things like passive solar cooling and heating and use energy-efficient landscaping strategies and on-site renewable energy systems.

Let’s explore the traits, features, and design techniques of an energy-efficient home in more detail so you can start contemplating how to build or find a property that is as energy efficient as possible. 

What Is An Energy Efficient Home?

An energy-efficient home is a dwelling that has been designed, constructed, and equipped to minimize its energy consumption and environmental impact. It is designed to reduce the energy required to keep the house comfortable, which helps lower the cost of energy bills.

An energy-efficient home

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An energy-efficient home incorporates various features and technologies that work together to reduce energy consumption. These features include high-efficiency insulation, energy-efficient windows, and doors, low-energy lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient appliances.

Energy-efficient homes are also designed to use natural light and ventilation and to maximize the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power. They often use water-saving features such as low-flow faucets and showerheads and may incorporate rainwater harvesting systems.

Why Should I Make My Home Energy Efficient?

There are several reasons why you should make your home energy-efficient:

1. Cost savings

Making your home energy-efficient can significantly reduce your energy bills, saving you money in the long run. By reducing the energy your home uses, you can also reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable environment.

2. Increased comfort

By reducing drafts and improving insulation, you can create a more comfortable living environment in your home. This can also help to reduce noise pollution and create a more peaceful atmosphere.

3. Improved air quality

A more energy-efficient home can also improve indoor air quality and reduce the pollutants and allergens entering your home. The process is beneficial for people with allergies or respiratory issues.

4. Increased home value

Energy-efficient homes are in high demand and have a higher resale value than less efficient homes. Investing in energy-efficient upgrades can pay off in the long run.

5. Environmental benefits

Reducing energy usage can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. The process impacts the environment positively and helps mitigate the effects of climate change.

How To Make Your Home Energy Sufficient In 8 Simple Ways

1. Solar Power

It is important to include efficient solar solutions for water heating and lighting.

solar powered house

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The average home with just one or two solar panels can generate enough electricity to run independently and, therefore, not need electricity from a provider.

Indeed, even in cloudy conditions, solar panels can more than adequately provide electricity and heat to your home.

Furthermore, you may be able to get a government grant to install solar panels.

2. Insulation

Proper insulation is crucial for a home’s energy efficiency, especially in the walls and attic.

If your home doesn’t have insulation, it’s easy to add insulation to your attic to prevent heat from escaping as it rises, and you can add insulation to the walls by blowing it into wall cavities.

Insulated house

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You could even consider a house wrap to protect from moisture and air that could otherwise leak through the gaps and cracks of the doors, windows, and other areas.

But if you’re designing and building your home from scratch, you’ll want to consider using an interlocking wall system, like insulated concrete forms.

Made from hollow concrete blocks specially designed to act as their form of insulation, insulated concrete blocks are excellent for cutting down on energy waste.

The blocks link together to form a solid wall system with no gaps, making them airtight.

If you build a home with insulated concrete blocks, your home can become very energy efficient, and you’ll be able to save loads on your energy bills.

3. Efficient landscaping

 Energy Efficient Landscape Design

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Efficient landscaping can help to reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling by providing shade in the summer and allowing sunlight in the winter. You can then include solar panels and maximize the use of electric energy, thus saving electricity bills.

4. Smart Tech

You can better maintain your home’s energy efficiency using smart tech and smart appliances.

For instance, when using a smart thermostat or air conditioning, you can monitor and adjust levels to reduce energy use, even when not at home.

Smart Homes

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And should you experience a problem or failure, you can always get issues fixed quickly by contacting national HVAC services. When you install smart tech in your home, you not only get to make your home more energy efficient. You also get to reduce your energy costs.

So, consider things like smart thermostats, smart lighting, and appliances like smart refrigerators and dryers.

5. Water Heaters

Did you know that, on average, water heaters account for 19% of a home’s energy consumption? If you want your water heater to be more energy efficient, go with a tankless water heater, which only heats water when needed, unlike traditional water heaters that store and heat large volumes of water.

6. Install Energy-efficient windows

Replace old windows with energy-efficient ones to keep the heat in during winter and keep it out during summer. Windows with low-emissivity coatings and multiple panes can help improve energy efficiency.

7. Practice Efficient lighting

Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs to significantly reduce energy consumption. LED lights use up to 75% less energy. They also last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

8. Use Efficient appliances

Upgrading old appliances with energy-efficient models can help reduce energy consumption. Look for electric appliances with an Energy Star rating, indicating they are more energy-efficient than standard models.

Frequently Asked Questions On Energy-Efficient Homes

1. What is the most energy-efficient home?

The most energy-efficient home is designed to minimize energy consumption while still meeting the needs of its occupants. A highly energy-efficient home will have excellent insulation, high-performance windows and doors, and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. It will also use efficient lighting and appliances and renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power.

The specific design and construction techniques used to create an energy-efficient home depend on factors such as the climate, building codes, and the homeowner’s budget and preferences. Some common strategies include using passive solar design principles, such as orienting the home to maximize solar gain, using natural ventilation and daylighting, and incorporating thermal mass to help regulate indoor temperatures.

2. What are energy-efficient examples?

There are many examples of energy-efficient solutions that can help reduce energy consumption and lower your carbon footprint. Here are some examples:

  1. LED light bulbs: LED bulbs are highly energy-efficient and can save up to 80% of energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.
  2. Energy Star appliances: Energy Star-certified appliances are designed to be highly energy-efficient and can help reduce your energy bills.
  3. Programmable thermostats: Programmable thermostats can help you manage your heating and cooling system and reduce energy consumption by automatically adjusting the temperature when you are away or asleep.
  4. Insulation: Proper insulation keeps your home warm in the winter. It reduces the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  5. Solar panels: Solar panels can help generate renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  6. Energy-efficient windows: Energy-efficient windows are designed to reduce heat loss and gain, keeping your home comfortable and reducing energy bills.
  7. Electric vehicles are a clean and efficient alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars, reducing emissions and saving energy.
  8. Passive solar design: Passive solar design utilizes natural sunlight and heat to keep homes warm in the winter, reducing the need for energy-intensive heating and cooling systems.

3. How can I be efficient at home?

There are many ways to be more energy efficient at home, which can help reduce your energy bills and lessen your environmental impact. Implementing these practices can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying a more comfortable and sustainable home. Here are some tips:

  1. Use LED light bulbs: LED light bulbs are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They last up to 25 times longer.
  2. Turn electronics and lights off when not in use: Be sure to turn off lights, TVs, computers, and other electronics when you’re not using them to save energy.
  3. Use a programmable thermostat: Programmable thermostats help you save energy by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping.
  4. Seal air leaks: Seal air leaks around windows, doors, and other areas to prevent heat from escaping in the winter and cool air from escaping in the summer.
  5. Use energy-efficient appliances: Buy appliances with the Energy Star label. The label indicates that they meet energy efficiency rules the US Environmental Protection Agency set.
  6. Insulate your home: Proper insulation keeps homes warm in the winter, which reduces heating and cooling costs.
  7. Use natural light by utilizing open curtains and blinds that bring in natural light during the day, which can reduce the need for artificial lighting.
  8. Use energy-efficient showerheads and faucets: Low-flow showerheads and faucets reduce water usage and save energy.
  9. Plant trees: Planting trees around your home can help provide shade in the summer, reducing the need for air conditioning.

4. What are the main factors that influence the energy efficiency of a house?

The energy efficiency of a house can be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

1. Insulation

Proper insulation helps to prevent heat transfer between the inside and outside of the house, which reduces the energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature.

2. Windows

Energy-efficient windows can help reduce heat loss in the winter, improving a house’s overall energy efficiency.

3. HVAC system

A well-maintained and efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can help to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.

4. Lighting

Energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs, helps to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.

5. Appliances

Energy-efficient gadgets, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers, can help to reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills.

6. Renewable energy sources

Renewable energy sources, like solar panels or wind turbines, can help reduce the energy a house requires from the grid.

7. Orientation and design

The orientation and design of a house can affect its energy efficiency. For example, a house properly oriented to take advantage of passive solar heating can require less energy for heating in the winter.

8. Behaviour of occupants

The occupants’ behavior can also affect a house’s energy efficiency. For example, turning off lights and appliances when not in use, using natural ventilation instead of air conditioning, and keeping doors and windows closed can all help to reduce energy consumption.

5. What is energy efficiency, and why is it important?

Energy efficiency refers to using less energy to accomplish the same task. It involves designing and operating systems, devices, and processes that use energy more efficiently and reduce wastage.

Energy efficiency is important for several reasons:

1. Cost savings

By using energy more efficiently, we can reduce our energy bills and save money. This is especially important for businesses that use large amounts of energy, as energy costs can make up a significant portion of their operating expenses.

2. Environmental benefits

Energy efficiency reduces the energy needed to power our homes, businesses, and industries. This, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps mitigate climate change’s impacts.

3. Energy security

Energy efficiency reduces our dependence on imported energy and increases our energy security. By using energy more efficiently, we can reduce our reliance on foreign energy sources and become more self-sufficient.

4. Improved comfort and productivity

Energy-efficient buildings and appliances provide better comfort and productivity for occupants. They also reduce the noise and vibration associated with energy use.

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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