Questions to Ask When Building a New – Energy-Efficient – Home
We’re always sharing new ways to make your current home more energy efficient – but what about when you’re building a new one? It’s your home, so why not make it energy efficient, too? Here are six important questions to ask when building from the ground up, so your home can be energy efficient from the start.
In what direction will my home face?
The first step in building your home starts with the land itself. During this stage, ask your builder how your home will be positioned on its plot of land. It’s important to remember that homes are more energy efficient when oriented north-south. If your lot supports it, you’ll minimize the amount of sunlight your house gets in the summertime, while maximizing sunlight during the winter. So, you’ll reduce your usage without having to constantly recool your home. Because energy savings start from the ground up – literally.
How well will my home retain cool air in the Texas summer?
It’s important to ask this question to understand your home’s building envelope. The building envelope is made up of the foundation, walls, roofing, windows, doors and insulation. A tight envelope may minimize air leaks, holding the cool air in, and the heat and humidity out. With a cool, dry home, you can save energy without overworking your cooling system. Added bonus: a tighter barrier can help prevent rot, mold and mildew, too, keeping your home’s foundation strong for years.
Which building material is the best insulator?
Most builders will offer a few options for your home’s structural materials. This is an important decision because the materials you choose for the walls, floors and roof can determine your home’s energy efficiency. Materials with low heat conductivity are great insulators. Thick materials such as concrete, brick and tile should do the trick, as they keep the unwanted heat out and the cool air in. So, ask about your options, and your energy efficiency will truly be fundamental.
What are my options for paint color?
If you have an option, choose lighter paint hues, as lighter colors reflect light, whereas dark colors absorb it. So, you can actually reduce heat with a lighter shade of paint. Even more important is the color of your roof. Light-colored tile and metal can reflect up to 75% of sunlight, potentially reducing cooling costs significantly. But, if you have your heart set on a dark-colored roof, try a metal coating to boost reflectance.
How should I landscape?
It’s hard to focus on the yard before the interior is complete, but landscaping is an important factor in energy efficiency. Even with strategically placed windows, sunlight can still get through, heating the interior and greatly affecting the cooling process inside. Consider planting trees and shrubs around sunny windows to reduce the demand for cooling. By utilizing those natural resources outside, you’ll keep it nice and cool inside.
How can I save inside?
Yep, building an energy-efficient home means savings inside, too. For floors with cooling in mind, try ceramic tile or concrete. They don’t trap heat or moisture like carpets do, so they’ll keep your home cool and reduce the amount of energy needed to do so.
And now that you have an energy-efficient home built from the ground up, keep it going. Gexa Energy’s 100% renewable energy residential plans use wind and solar energy to power your home. Choose a plan backed by renewable energy at no additional cost to bring your energy efficiency to the next level. Gexa provides renewable energy plans through the purchase and retirement of renewable energy credits, or RECs, from Texas wind and solar farms, matching the amount of electricity its customers use. And with a home that’s fundamentally energy efficient, it only makes sense to have an energy plan that does the same.