Buying a home that's exactly what you're looking for isn't easy. You might find something that gets pretty close, but there are probably still some changes that you want to make in some way. If you're determined to have the perfect home that suits your needs, you might prefer to consider the option of designing and building your own home. This is an especially good idea if you have dreams of an energy-efficient home with low running costs and a green outlook. Retrofitting an older home to be more efficient can be tricky, but building a new home allows you to use all of the latest tactics to use less energy.
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You can also ensure you build your home in a sustainable way, using the best materials and methods. But what do you need to include in your energy-efficient home?
Keep the Design Simple (and Small)
The more complicated the design of your home is, the more it will cost to build. Not only that, but it could also be less energy-efficient if you make the design more complicated. Keeping it simple will help you to save a lot of money and make it easier to keep your new home green. It's also a good idea to try and keep it small so that there is less space that needs to be heated or cooled, and fewer spaces that require lighting or other utilities. A house that's essentially a box might not look as exciting, but it can serve its purpose as a green home.
Look at Energy-efficient Standards
There are some energy-efficient design standards that can be useful for you to look at when you're designing and building your home. For example, the Passivhaus standard focuses on building homes that need to use as little energy as possible. The idea is that the house is designed to maintain the same temperature all year so that you don't have to switch between heating and cooling, both of which use a lot of energy. By using the right materials and design choices, you can ensure the building stays comfortable and healthy while using a lot less energy.
Choose Efficient Windows and Doors
The windows and doors you choose for your home make a big difference to how efficient it is. When it comes to windows, both the window frames and the glazing are important. Vinyl windows are often seen as one of the best home windows when it comes to energy efficiency. They are highly efficient and exceed many of the minimum building standards for windows. You will also want to consider double glazing or even triple glazing to help improve insulation, which will help to keep the property at the right temperature at all times.
Focus on Insulation
Good insulation is a must for a home that doesn't have high energy requirements. There are multiple ways to insulate your home, which you can consider when you're designing it. In addition to the windows and doors, you can consider how to insulate walls, floors, and the roof to prevent energy from being lost to a leaky home. Of course, when you plan your insulation, you also need to think about ventilation. Your home needs to be insulated, but it also needs good ventilation to help control moisture levels and allow fresh air into the building. You need to think about insulation and ventilation together.
Pick the Right Heating and Cooling Options
Which heating and cooling options should you consider if you want to build a green home? The answer might depend on where you live and what resources are available to you. If you want a sustainable home, you probably want to consider renewable energy options to maintain the temperature in the property. You might consider options that make use of solar energy or perhaps even wind energy. Some green homes use heat pumps to extract heat from the ground or air for an efficient way to heat them. There are different possibilities for you to explore and find the best heating and cooling options for your new home.
It's also a good idea to think about energy storage when you're planning your option for heating and cooling, and other energy needs. It's not always easy to get a consistent and predictable level of energy when using renewable sources. So it makes sense to store any excess energy and use it when there is less being collected from the source. There are various options for batteries and energy storage products that can help you with this.
Use the Right Materials
The use of materials in your home will make a difference if you want to make it more efficient. The materials you choose can help it to maintain the right temperature with less help with heating or cooling systems. For example, many homes in hotter climates will typically make use of tiles that help the properties to remain cool during high temperatures. Being thoughtful about the materials that you use will also help you to stick to a budget and ensure you can build your new home in a sustainable way.
Think About Orientation
Even the issue of which way your home is facing can make a difference if you want to build a home that's as efficient as possible. When your home is oriented to give you plenty of light and heat when you need it most, it reduces your need for energy. It will determine how much sunlight your home gets and can help to increase the efficiency of your glazing. It will make a difference not just at different times of the day but also at different points in the year, so it's worth thinking about which spaces you use most and when.
Make a List of Priorities
When you're thinking about the different ways to make your home more energy efficient, it's important to know your priorities. You might know that you want it to be a green home, but you also have to consider what exactly that means to you. When you make a list of your priorities, it can help you and your architect to make the best choices for the final design of your home. It's difficult to do everything at once, especially if you're on a budget, so it helps to know which factors matter most.
Think About Your Lifestyle
Another thing to consider is your lifestyle and how you see yourself living in your new home. Thinking about this will also help you to make better decisions about the design of your home. You can think about how you see yourself living in different rooms and the requirements you have to maintain the lifestyle you want. It's important to marry these things with your requirements for saving energy and living in a sustainable way. Everybody has different wants and needs when it comes to living in their home.
Check for Financial Help
If you are planning on building a new home with sustainability in mind, you could find that there is some financial help available. There are often various grants and schemes that will help you to pay for a green home, including options for installing energy-efficient heating and cooling or renewable energy systems. It's definitely worth checking to see if anything like this is available to you if you want to keep your build on a budget.
Designing and building an energy-efficient home can be a fun challenge, and it will also help you to save energy and money over time. There are lots of ways to do it that will help you achieve your goals.
This is a contributed post.
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