What Makes a Home Energy Efficient?

You’ve probably heard of an energy efficient home or energy efficient house plan, but what exactly makes these homes energy efficient? Energy efficiency boils down to a home that, compared to others, has lower energy costs. Below we will talk about some of the ways this is made possible.

Thermal envelope

The thermal envelope of your home is everything that helps shield your living space from the outdoors. This can mean direct shielding via walls, doors, windows, and a roof, but also more indirect shielding of outdoor temperature, like insulation, weather-stripping, and caulking. These save you money by controlling the climate in your home to make you comfortable and making it so that you don’t have to constantly be using a fan, air conditioner, heater, or furnace. Also, if possible, try to insulate your foundational walls as well as you would your other exterior walls.

Heating and cooling systems

Efficient heating and cooling systems use energy in the most efficient way possible. Because of this, heat recovery ventilators (HRV) and energy recovery ventilators (ERV) have become quite popular. These systems improve your home’s air quality and reduce heating and cooling costs at the same time.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Investing in ENERGY STAR-approved energy efficient appliances is another way to increase your home’s energy efficiency. This includes water heaters, dishwashers, and washers and dryers for laundry. Making the initial investment in an energy efficient appliance will save you money in the long term.

Building vs. Buying

When it comes to actually making an energy efficient home, you must consider whether you will be building a house that is energy efficient or purchasing a house and attempting to retrofit it to your desires. This largely depends on how much money you have at the time. If you can reasonably build a home that is energy efficient, then go for it. If you can’t afford to build an entire home, retrofitting an existing home might be the option for you–though you should research how much it will cost.