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How to build an energy-efficient house?

Most people think that to save money they have to build a smaller house or use cheaper materials. However, the truth is that the real savings can be seen in the long term and you can take action from the very beginning.

Throughout the useful life of a home, there are many expenses from month to month, quarter to quarter, that you will have to pay. These include the cost of heating, air conditioning, water consumption, and electricity. The main problem with conventional houses is that they are built without taking energy efficiency into consideration.

There are several reasons why you should think about building an energy-efficient house. For example, you will save money as you use less energy and you will also be helping the environment as you will minimize power consumption.

In this article, we invite you to discover 5 key elements that will allow you to know how to design or choose an energy-efficient house.

Strategic orientation

Designing and/or choosing a good orientation is key to start with for an energy efficient home. The house should follow a northern orientation in the southern hemispheres and a southern orientation in the northern hemisphere.

It is also important to take into account the weather of the place where you are going to live. Based on that, you must decide on a suitable size for the windows and see if you can take advantage of existing trees or other resources to keep the house cooler by shading.

Also, the design strategy for optimal orientation of the house will depend on the land and its size. You must not forget to establish where the main facade of the house will be as it should be optimal.

Thermal insulation

It is important to use materials with high thermal resistance in the home. Building materials need to have good thermal insulation as this is key to avoid energy losses.

Thermal resistance is the ability of a material to establish a barrier to the passage of heat from inside and outside the house. This material will naturally assist with indoor temperature retention.

Keep in mind that all materials are thermal insulators and have some degree of resistance to the passage of heat. However, some material has a higher resistance and thus thermal insulation. For example, fibrous or porous materials have traditionally been used, such as mineral wool, extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, and polyurethane foam, among others.

Remember that having good thermal insulation implies a significant saving of money via reduced heating/cooling/energy costs in the short, medium, and long term.

Worker building an energy efficient house

Energy-self sufficiency

A big problem related to the energy consumption in residential houses is that they are typically powered by non-renewable fossil fuel energy sources. Many of these sources are in the process of running out.

Consequently, the price of these energy sources is increasing and will continue to do so. The solution is to build self-sufficient houses that depend less on external, non-renewable energy sources.

Alternatively, if this is not possible for you yet, try to invest in energy-efficient elements. For example, when choosing the appliances for your home you can choose energy-efficient ones.

On average, home appliances like clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers, air conditioners, and humidifiers will account for 20% of your household power bill.

This is why you need to know how to choose energy-efficient appliances, especially for air conditioners, as they are the ones that may consume the most amount electricity. However, this does depend on your geographic area and weather conditions.

Natural and controlled ventilation

Natural ventilation is a passive cooling strategy that is highly recommended, especially for climates with moderately controlled temperatures. Meanwhile, if you live in a place with extremely hot or extremely cold temperature, you will need to use heaters and/or air conditioners to ensure you don’t suffer or perish due to extreme temperatures.

Natural ventilation is effectively the strategic location of openings, such as doors or windows, that allows the circulation of the air with the interior spaces of a building.

To achieve maximum control and avoid heat losses, it is important to have airtight windows of very good quality. It can be recommended to have double or even triple glass if the subsequent impact on house energy efficiency is significant.

Remember that while very good quality windows represent a considerable investment, it is an expense usually worth paying because the long-term benefits are typically greater. Just think about this; about 18% of energy is lost through doors, windows, and thermal bridges, a product of poor quality and inefficiency of these elements.

Ecological Lighting

You can use LED lighting all over your house to save energy consumption. LED lighting has a lot of versatility and lets you create all kind of environments. Also, LED bulbs are not as expensive as they were before. Nowadays you can find LED bulbs near the price of incandescent bulbs.

Also keep in mind that with the installation of LED bulbs in the home, significant savings are achieved in the electricity bill, since they consume much less energy than traditional lighting systems. Even less than so-called energy-saving light bulbs, which use the same principles as fluorescent tubes.

Bioclimatic Design

Bioclimatic design

A bioclimatic design is focused on achieving thermal and acoustic efficiency in a building. This means that you will be able to live in a comfortable environment, but with minimal energy consumption. One of the key factors to consider in building an energy-efficient home with a bioclimatic design is climate.

This strategy seeks, through the use of materials in walls, ceilings and floors, to passively regulate the heat that is transmitted from the outside to the inside of the house. Keep in mind that the interior climate also depends on the air that enters and leaves through windows and on the sunlight that falls directly on walls, rooves, and windows.

Remember, if you are thinking about building a house, make it energy-efficient and enjoy all the benefits that come along with it. For energy-efficient air conditioning and lighting, please don’t hesitate to contact us to assist.