Creating an Energy Efficient Home

How to turn your house into an energy efficient home using various design techniques.

eco home

Some of the measures we take to create an energy efficient home are a little more obvious than others. Insulation, carpets, and heating systems are among the most well-known components of a house that we know can be changed to make our homes more eco-friendly. However, some of the more structural design elements of a home can also be greened up to bring your bills down and keep your carbon footprint to a minimum.

How to turn your house into an Energy Efficient Home

Skylights

Many of us find, especially in older houses, that even at the sunniest times of the year our electricity bills remain sky high. This is often due to the simple problem of not getting enough natural light and having to rely on electric lights to compensate. Skylights are wonderful for turning any house into an energy efficient home by allowing natural light into the rooms when you need it most, reducing the reliance upon electricity. Skylights can be installed at any time and without much structural alteration. If you are not in the position to be moving windows around, then getting skylights installed is the perfect choice.

Windows

It is something that most people might not even think about, but the position of your windows can have a great impact upon the amount you spend on your heating bills throughout the year. Having a lot of windows on the side of your house where the sun sets is likely to make your home far too warm during the summer and far too cold during the winter. This can often lead to needing air conditioning or heating to be on, using up electricity and increasing bills and emissions. If you are unable to change the location of the windows in your home, then investing in some good window coverings is a great way of keeping energy bills down.

Whole-House Approach

The whole-house approach really applies to those who are building from scratch, but elements of the approach can be adopted by anyone looking to improve their energy efficient home.

Focus on all aspects, including:

- The material your house is made from

-The size, structure, and shape of your home

- The eaves and roof materials

- Windows, skylights, and doors

- Air sealing and insulation

- Heating systems

- Lighting, including using natural light to your best advantage

- Appliances and electronics

Ask an architect or designer about the ways you can create an energy efficient home, taking all of the above into consideration. This approach will cut bills drastically, but may cost a lot of money if renovating an older property. It may be easier to build a new eco-friendly home from the ground up.

Image: Roger Cornfoot

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