Sustainable homes that are highly energy-efficient are getting a lot of attention and a growing number of homeowners are opting for them.
If you have been thinking of doing the same, these following design trends will make your home truly sustainable.
Why is energy-efficiency important?
There are several reasons why energy efficiency should be one of your first concerns when it comes to your home.
First of all, you have probably noticed the difference between a well-insulated and a poorly insulated home. The level of comfort is not the same, especially in the cold months.
Moreover, it will reflect on your energy and heating bill – you’ll have to pay more every month, which is a significant difference when you think of annual expenses.
Thirdly, energy efficiency can reduce emissions dramatically, thus helping the environment and promoting climate change mitigation.
So, consider using one of these trends in your own household and reap the benefits.
1. The site and room orientation
When building a home from a scratch, it would be smart to use proper site orientation. More precisely, the north-south orientation will minimize the amount of sunlight during the hot months (reducing your cooling needs), while it maximizes the amount of sunlight during the winter (reducing your heating bill).
South-facing rooms will get a lot of sunlight most of the day, making them perfect for living rooms and dining rooms. East-facing rooms have sufficient sunlight in the morning, while the afternoon temperature is cooler there, which is great for a kitchen and the bedrooms. On the other hand, west-facing rooms are the wrong ones to be the kitchen or any of the bedrooms. As the north-facing rooms have the least sunlight throughout the day, bathrooms, laundries, and garages are the best choices for them.
2. High thermal mass materials
These materials are usually used in walls and slab foundations. They have the potential to absorb and keep heat energy, helping to stabilize the temperature inside your home. Water, brick, stone and concrete are the most common high thermal mass materials. On the other hand, wood, steel, and carpeting materials don’t have the same feature, so you should use them as little as possible.
3. Appropriate doors and windows
It’s necessary to get high quality doors and windows which would ensure that the heat doesn’t slip away through the cracks or that cold from the outside finds its way into the house.
Pay attention to the type of doors and windows you select because they will hugely affect your bills. Also, consider which windows don’t have to be open. It will allow you to install continuous windows, which are more energy-efficient than sliding windows.
4. Cool roof
This type of roof protects the home against solar heat gain, keeping the attic and the whole house cool. If you use traditional roofing material like asphalt shingles, they will soak up the heat and trap it inside your home. A cool roof, on the other hand, is made of low thermal mass material, such as slate, tiles, and clay. These are reflective materials and they block the sun rays.
In case you have a flat roof, you could even consider a green roof. It can be as simple as a green area, or a complex endeavor such as a garden. A green roof will reduce your energy bills but will also prolong the life expectancy of your roof.
5. Power of the sun
Being able to generate your own electricity or get hot water from the sun would be a huge benefit for you. PV or solar thermal systems can even allow you to sell your excess electricity to the grid. Some of the systems will soon be able to store your excess energy for later use.
You need to calculate the return of investment, which is not an easy thing with the constant market changes. The cost of solar installation is high but so would be your cost savings.
6. Lighting tricks
Lighting is an important factor in improving the energy efficiency of your home. You may love fluorescent lights but LED lights are far more economical. They will save you hundreds of dollars before they need to be replaced (which is between 10 and 20 years).
7. The heating system
Heating bills make about 50% of the overall bills of a household. You should opt for the most efficient one to see the positive results as soon as the following month after the installment. Consider the addition of controls, for example, weather compensators and thermostats. They provide autonomous control of the heating system, optimizing it.
Choose your options very carefully – that may be the most important piece of advice. Keep your budget in mind and do the necessary calculations to identify which sustainable home trends you can afford right now and which would bring you more benefits. In time, try to add other energy-efficient installments and slowly turn your home into a completely sustainable household.