Before you design a new home or remodel an existing one, consider investing in energy efficiency. You'll save energy and money, and your home will be more comfortable and durable. The planning process is also a good time to look into a renewable energy system that can provide electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling. You may also want to explore your options for financing an energy-efficient home.
In an existing house, the first step is to conduct a home energy audit to find out how your home uses energy and determine the best ways to cut energy use and costs.
Whole-House Systems Approach
If you plan to design and build a new home or do an extensive remodel on an existing house, optimizing home energy efficiency requires a whole-house systems approach to ensure that you and your team of building professionals consider all the variables, details, and interactions that affect energy use in your home. In addition to occupant behavior, site conditions, and climate, these include:
- Appliances and home electronics
- Insulation and air sealing
- Lighting and daylighting
- Space heating and cooling
- Water heating
- Windows, doors, and skylights
Before making upgrades, you may also want to work with an energy auditor to use the Home Energy Score, which provides a rating of your home's current efficiency, as well as a list of improvements and potential savings.