How To Design & Build Them In

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We always incorporate energy-efficiency-techniques in the Plan-IT and Build-IT phases of our-home-improvements. When you save a little energy here, save a little energy there, it all adds up. Saving energy in your home-improvements, puts more money back in your pocket for even more improvements.

This is the one-and-only opportunity you get to implement these energy-saving Plan-IT and Build-IT techniques into your home improvements 24/7/365...take advantage. Energy costs are going up daily. It's time to decide; do you want to become a slave to energy costs, or control them?

Being a smart home owner, you will decide to save as much energy in your home as's just the right thing to do for so many reasons. Enjoy these energy saving guidelines, and the money they help you save.

Designing and Remodeling a Home

Before you design a new home or remodel an existing one, you should consider investing in its energy efficiency. You'll save energy and money in the long run. It's also a good time to invest in a renewable energy system that will provide your home with electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling.

If you'd like to design an energy-efficient home, no matter what type of design, you should use what's called the whole-house systems approach.

If you're remodeling a home, conduct an energy assessment to help you determine what energy efficiency improvements should and can be made to your home.

Learn how to optimize energy efficiency with the following home designs and construction techniques:

Advanced House (Wall) Framing Techniques

Reduce lumber use and waste—improving energy efficiency—in the construction of a traditional wood-framed house.

Advanced house framing, sometimes called Optimum Value Engineering (OVE), refers to a variety of techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated in the construction of a wood-framed house. These techniques also improve a home's energy efficiency.

Advanced framing techniques create a structurally sound home with lower material and labor costs than a conventionally framed house. Additional construction cost savings result from reduced waste disposal, which also helps the environment.

Advanced framing actually replaces lumber with insulation material and maximizes the wall that's insulated, which improves the whole-wall thermal resistance or R-value.

Cross Section of Advanced Framing Techniques at energy-efficiency-techniques

Depending on the builder, advanced framing techniques can be constructed individually or as a complete package. Fully implementing advanced framing techniques can result in:

•Materials cost savings of about $500 or $1000 (for a 1,200- and 2,400-square-foot house, respectively)

•Labor cost savings of between 3% and 5%

•Annual heating and cooling cost savings of up to 5%.

It might be difficult to find a builder in your area who's experienced with this type of construction. Some training may be required, and a builder's initial use of these techniques may slow down construction.

When designing an energy-efficient home, you should consider using the whole-house systems approach if you aren't already.

Energy-efficiency-techniques were top of mind when we added our kitchen addition. We designed and built these techniques into every aspect of our new space. Our bills prove the really work. We have seen a reduction in our energy bills by 50%!

A Whole House Systems Approach

Designing and constructing an energy-efficient house requires careful planning and attention to details. A whole-house systems approach can help you and your architect develop a successful strategy for incorporating energy efficiency into your home's design.

A whole-house systems approach considers the interaction between you, your building site, your climate, and these other elements or components of your home:

•Appliances and home electronics

•Insulation and air sealing

•Lighting and daylighting

•Space heating and cooling

•Water heating

•Windows, doors, and skylights

Builders and designers who use this approach recognize that the features of one component in the house can greatly affect other components, which ultimately affects the overall energy efficiency of the house.

These are some benefits of using a whole-house systems approach:

•Increased comfort

•Reduced noise

•A healthier and safer indoor environment

•Improved building durability

You can use the whole-house systems approach with any home design. Using this approach, you also might consider designing a home that generates its own electricity.

•Cool Roofs Reflect more light and absorb less heat from the sun's rays to keep your home cooler.

•Earth-sheltered Homes

Incorporate earth into their structure and design for durability and energy efficiency.

•Log Homes

Use wooden logs to provide structure and insulation.

•Manufactured Homes

Feature energy-efficient options for new homes and improvements for older homes.

•Passive Solar Homes

Take advantage of climatic conditions, especially the sun, for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

•Straw Bale Homes

Use straw bales to provide all or part of their structure and insulation.

•Ultra-Efficient Homes

Use both energy efficiency and renewable energy sources to offset or mitigate a home's energy use.

You should also explore your options for financing an energy-efficient home or improvements.

We continue to provide our readers with more energy-efficiency-techniques to save as much energy in their homes as possible. Come back soon as we continue to expand this section.

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