Building an energy-efficient home takes some forethought and some initial
up-front costs, but the planning and the investment will pay off with
healthier living conditions and monetary savings in the future.
A good place to begin your planning is with the National Association of Home
Builders Web site, at www.NAHB.org. It can provide extensive information
on recent developments in energy efficient building, and contact information
for their local chapters, which are often able to provide specific
information about maximizing energy efficiency for situations unique to your
area. This is important because variations in temperature and precipitation
affect the choice of building materials and methods of construction.
Once you have some specifics about building materials you should also
consider the lighting in your home. Positioning your home to take advantage
of the most daylight, along with installing windows and skylights can
decrease your electric bills. Of course, that decrease can be offset by
astronomical heating costs if you choose to install windows and doors that
don't protect against heat loss. Installing good quality windows and doors
is an important factor in saving energy. Look for foam-insulated doors that
are pre-hung at the factory in order to provide a tight seal once they are
installed. You can prevent heat-loss and protect your home from moisture
with double-, or even triple-hung windows. These are expensive purchases,
to be sure, but the cost-benefit is well worth it during cold winter months,
or hot summer days. In addition, protecting your home from moisture is a
smart move because of the damage moisture can do to wallboard and carpeting.
Carpeting moisture promotes the growth of mold. While mold can cause
physical damage to your home, it can also be very damaging to your lungs and
sinuses if you breathe it in day after day.
Properly installing good quality windows and doors is one way to minimize
air leaks in or out of your home. Another is to insulate any part of your
home that could leak air outside of the house. This includes electrical
outlets, light switches and exhaust fans. Simply fill the spaces around
these areas with spray foam insulation, which expands to fill those spaces.
This should be done in addition to a high quality insulation installed in
crawl spaces, between walls and around venting ducts. You should also use
mastic sealing inside vent ducts when the ducts are installed. This is a
sealant inside of the duct can prevent air from escaping the ducts when
traditional taping in the ductwork begins to rot.
Building an energy efficient home is now more possible than ever.
Information, creative ideas and energy-saving products abound. Using these
ideas to make your home comfortable and energy efficient not only helps your
bottom line, but also our community's environmental bottom line.
Sources used in this article include Steven Gramins, HomeStyles.com and the
National Association of Home Builders, www.NAHB.org.