There are so many options, systems, and gadgets available that are designed to improve the energy efficiency of a home. The best opportunity to make the greatest strides to that goal is during the building process.
An energy efficient home is a result of planning and design. The home will provide higher levels of comfort and performance while delivering a noticeable cost savings. As well, the energy efficient house will sell for 8% more, on average. It makes sense to build a home with energy efficient systems and features. You don't have to go overboard by trying to add every option and feature on the market to achieve a well-performing, energy efficient home. The topics discussed below are a great starting point and, installed properly, will produce excellent results that will last for many years.
Exterior Of The Home
During the framing process, there are a couple of very important, long-last items that can be applied to control the air flow from outside to in and control moisture. Water membrane house wrap or a similar product is a material that wraps completely around the outside of the house to create a barrier between the outside air and the house. House wrap protects the framing in the walls by allowing moisture vapor to escape while preventing air and moisture. Installed correctly, with the top piece overlapping the lower pieces, the joints and penetrations taped, and edges at door and windows taped, this material will perform for many years at a very high level. Prior to covering the exterior with siding, brick, stone or other materials, it's a great idea to have the house wrap inspected by a professional to insure proper installation. House wrap is an important part of the energy efficiency plan and is difficult to access after the finish is installed.
Sill sealer is an unfaced Styrofoam product which serves as a 3/16' gasket between the sill plate (bottom plate) and the slab or floor. Sill sealer is closed cell foam and unaffected by water or dirt. For the cost to install, a sill sealer is a must-have when building a home.
Interior Of The Home
Insulation, the most well-known and obvious of the energy efficiency tools, is a system designed to mitigate temperature transfer from outside to in. There are many options including spray foam insulation, blown fiberglass, blown cellulose, and Styrofoam. The most common insulation used in the Houston area is fiberglass batts in the walls and blown fiberglass in the attic. Builders use variations of these insulation methods based on their experiences and opinions and in some cases, even create a hybrid, or combination of different materials to achieve their goals. Ask you builder which methods will be used in your home and research and compare. Upon completion of the installation, have the frame and insulation inspected by a energy efficiency rater to insure proper installation.
Polyseal has become a fundamental part of air sealing a house properly. Polyseal is the process of applying spray foam insulation where the sill plate meets the slab or floor, in all outside corners, and a bead along to lower top plate where the ceiling meets attic area. In addition to these areas, all penetrations from the outside should be sealed as well as any penetrations from the first floor to second. The space between all doors and windows should be filled with poly.
Typically, this process is completed by the insulation provider. There are polyseal specialists for hire and this is an opportunity to take your air sealing to the next level. The R-value goals should be determined during the planning stages of a home. Using the correct materials, installing them properly, and having the insulation inspected by a qualified inspector will lower energy costs from the day you move in. A good insulation installation will yield high-performance, comfort, and a significant savings on your energy use.
Windows And Doors
All windows and doors are not created equal. It is important that the windows used in your home are high-
efficiency windows with features that include Low-E, double-glazed, and a special coating on the glass to reflect heat. Window technology is changing daily and it gets difficult to keep up. Energy Star is a great source for information and updates to the window efficiency ratings. All windows need to be installed properly and the opening for the window needs to be filled with polyseal.
Windows and doors provide an opportunity to step up the efficiency and performance of your home. An emphasis should be placed on quality and efficiency with regards to both.
Appliances can have a profound impact on the overall efficiency of your home. Select appliances that perform the tasks you will use them for but that are Energy Star certified. You can identify them by the two purchase prices on the appliance. One is the purchase price and the second is the cost of operating the product. Check with Energy Star for the full list of benefits of an Energy Star certified appliance.
The water heater is the second highest source of energy use in the home. Special attention should be used to choose the best system for your home. Tankless hot water heating units provide excellent performance by heating only the water that you need and save space. Take a look at this option for a high efficiency performer. Standard water heater tanks con be very efficient as well. Look the the Energy Star label and compare the cost of use tags found on Energy Star labelled water heaters. These tags will help you find the correct energy efficient application for your home.
High efficiency heating and air conditioning system and equipment is one of the best ways to save on energy costs. About half of your monthly energy bill is being used to condition the air in the home and heat the temperature where you want it. That being said, it makes good sense to use high efficiency, quality equipment. There is a science to designing a system that is effective and efficient. Professional heating and air specialists are a great source of information as there are several factors that go into designing a system for a specific house. Allow those professionals to guide you through this installation.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers three certifications that are of interest with regard to efficiency, conservation, and comfort of your home.
1) Energy Star provides credible, unbiased information so consumers can make well-informed decisions. They provide cost effective approaches to energy management with the goal of saving energy in your home. The products labeled with Energy Star label has been tested and proven to use less energy and perform on a high level. Energy Star certified houses are at least 10% more efficient than houses built to code and offer better comfort, performance, and quality.
2) WaterSense label identifies products that use at least 20% less water, save energy, and offer at least the same performance as other products. It becomes important when you consider how many fixtures in your house apply to this efficiency standard. Toilets, shower heads, faucets, and irrigation controllers are all part of the WaterSense program and should be a part of your efficiency plan.
3) Clean air is important to everyone. Indoor airPlus is an EPA labeling program requiring builders to use practices and products which minimize exposure to pollutants and contaminants. Building on the Energy Star requirements, Indoor airPlus requires a thorough list of specs to provide comprehensive indoor air quality protections in new homes.
Moisture control through better roof, wall, and foundation drainage, radon-resistant construction techniques, pest control, cleaner air, better ventilation, and materials with fewer chemicals are some of the benefits of the Indoor airPlus building practices.
CRV Homes is one of very few builders in Houston area who is committed to building all of their homes up to the EPA standards for energy efficiency, water conservation and air purity.
Building a custom home that is efficient, performs on a very high level, and requires minimal maintenance is possible through smart home technologies that are available and evolving today. Ask you builder about each of these opportunities to be responsible, environmentally friendly, and build your dream home. Call CRV Homes today.
If you are planning to build a custom home and surfing the web for search terms like “custom home builder Houston”, go ahead and surf on over to “http://crvhomes.com”. CRV Homes is a “Build on your lot Houston” home builder. CRV Homes is often touted as one of the “best home builders in Houston” and knows the importance of excellent customer service. CRV Homes has high ethical and professional standards, and are committed to providing their customers with exceptional services and quality products. Addition. The team at CRV Homes knows it is exciting to build a new home so their professionals keep you updated on progress via phone, text, email, and even photos - every step of the way!
CRV Homes is a responsible builder and environmentally friendly!