Choosing fixtures, flooring, and paint colors is fun for homeowners because you get to see your custom home style start to come together. Choosing features that make your home energy efficient doesn’t get as much attention as the style elements, but these two priorities can often overlap.
The windows you’ll look through every day, the appliances that you’ll use to prepare meals, the air you breathe, and your comfort are all elements of energy-efficient home building that will affect your family’s health, your energy bills, and how much you’ll enjoy your home well into the future.
Building an Energy-Efficient Home in Houston in 2023
Making your home energy efficient requires careful consideration when it comes to how your home is constructed, what materials and appliances you choose, and incorporating eco-friendly features. All of these elements contribute to how your home will perform over the next several years. Here are the most important tips for building an energy-efficient home:
1. A Tight Envelope
A home’s envelope is anything that separates the inside of the home from the outside, including the windows, doors, the roof, floors, and walls. A tight envelope keeps the home comfortable without using excess energy by reducing air and moisture leaks. Proper insulation, multi-pane energy-efficient windows, and effectively sealed doors and windows will lend to an energy-efficient home.
During your interviews, ask potential home builders and architects how they ensure a tight envelope during the design and construction processes. This will also inform you if these are the right professionals for your energy-efficient custom home project.
2. Low E Windows
The glass panes of Low E, or low emittance, windows are coated with a microscopic non-toxic coating to improve energy efficiency. The Low E layer reflects UV rays, which are a major contributor to heat transmittance. When combined with multiple panes of glass, the Low E layer, in addition to the pockets of gasses between the layers of glass, allows all of the natural light with none of the harmful rays or heat.
Low E windows cut the amount of heating and cooling you’ll demand from your HVAC system, saving unnecessary utility costs and reducing greenhouse gasses.
Reducing UV rays will also save your furniture, rugs, and drapes from fading. In rooms where you get the most natural light, Low E windows can save you from unnecessary upholstery bills and keep furniture waste out of landfills. Add these savings to what you’ll save on energy and the windows pay for themselves over time.
3. Energy-Efficient Mechanical Systems
A continuous source of filtered air and moisture control will optimize your home’s performance, as well as efficient, cost-effective heating and cooling systems. Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems are superior, as they expel air from your house while recovering the heat and returning it to the interior along with fresh air. Ask your architect or home builder more about these systems and which is the best option for your custom home.
4. Lighting and Energy-Efficient Appliances
Building your home by letting in as much natural light as possible is a great way to reduce the amount of energy your home will have to use to light your home artificially. Skylights in the bathroom, kitchen, and dressing room bring in lots of light in rooms that may not have enough wall access for windows and also maintain needed privacy. In the living room, incorporate expansive windows with automatic blinds that are programmed to let in light during the day and automatically provide privacy at night.
When you do have to use artificial lighting, use LED bulbs. They contain no mercury and are long-lasting, only using 15% of the energy of conventional bulbs. They also come in a variety of types and colors and they’re compatible with dimmer switches.
Energy-efficient models of everyday appliances are available across the home. Tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR refrigerators, ranges, and washers and dryers are easy to find and are even made by high-end appliance companies nowadays. You’ll save on energy costs, improve your indoor air quality, and won’t have to compromise on performance or style.
Your Energy-Efficient Home Builder in Houston
What’s the first thing to consider when building an energy-efficient home? The home builder you choose for your custom home project.
Not every custom home builder has the knowledge and experience needed to deliver a truly energy-efficient home. Southern Green Builders works with architects that value energy efficiency, superb quality, and impeccable design. Whether you’re just beginning to imagine your custom home or are in need of an energy-efficiency update to your existing home, contact Southern Green Builders to schedule a consultation today.