Did you know that heating and air conditioning can make up for half of your total energy bill? That’s a lot of money and a lot of energy use. If your heating and air aren’t working properly they can’t effectively use that energy and that costs you money and sends more greenhouse gases into the environment. Below we will list a few ways you can keep your energy bill low and your heating and air systems running smoothly and efficiently.
Use the seasons to your advantage and limit your use of heating and AC. Close your blinds in the summer to keep the sun from working against your air conditioning and open the curtains in the winter time to have the sun help your heating.
Consider if your thermostat has a feature that can be set on a timer so you can limit the use of your heating and air conditioner when no one is in the house or at night. These seem like simple things but they can reduce your costs significantly when done regularly.
Don’t forget to do regular maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently. Simple things like changing you air filters can make a huge impact on how well your heating and air conditioning runs. Have a professional come at least once a year to check for any problems you may miss and ensure everything is OK.
Your contractor should measure the voltage of your motors and tighten electrical connections. They should also check for drainage that may cause water damage to your home. These regular check ups also ensure your systems are running properly and safely.
Sealing Ducts and Leaks
Ducts are responsible for distributing the air around your home. However, about 20 percent of air is lost through leaks and poorly connected ducts. This means you’ll be pumping up the AC to no affect and losing money in the process.
Sealing leaks that are visible in the attack, crawl space, or basement of your home is as easy as buying a sealant or tape meant for insulating your ducts. Check for and seal any visible leaks or poor connections. If you prefer to stay away from dirty attics or crawl spaces a contractor can easily do this for you as well.
Insulating your home can save you up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill and make your home comfortable all year long. The attic is an ideal place to add insulation to your home and when done correctly can save the most money and energy. Also consider your windows and doors.
Heating and cooling can easily escape through old doors and windows making your system inefficient. Have a contractor look at these places in your home and see if they can help insulate your home so it can run comfortably.
These are just a few examples of ways you can make your home more energy efficient thus saving your wallet and giving a little help to the environment. Find a contractor like Empire HVAC that can look at your home and determine the best route for your house. Different systems have different needs and a professional can tell you everything your house needs to keep you comfortable, regardless of weather conditions.
Fiberglass insulation was first put on the market in 1938, and in all the years since, no alternative has really challenged its preeminent position as the most effective choice for insulation on both commercial and residential construction projects. Fiberglass insulation improves a structure’s energy efficiency, reduces heating and cooling costs, and makes occupants more comfortable. These are just a few of the advantages that make it the insulator of choice, even in the latest eco-friendly projects. Below are additional benefits of fiberglass insulation:
1) Moisture Resistance
Fiberglass insulation does not absorb or retain water according to www.cyclonebuildings.com who utilise it in some instances. It can still be contaminated or compromised by moisture; insulation that has gotten wet needs to be inspected and dried to ensure that it does not lose its insulating properties.
Wet insulation can be successfully re-installed and deliver its full R-value as intended by the manufacturer so long as installers confirm that the insulation and the area around it in the structure have not been compromised by water.
In order to provide full insulating value, fiberglass insulation requires a vapor barrier. When properly selected and installed, a vapor barrier catches condensation before it can penetrate the building envelope and reach the insulation. The vapor barrier’s perm rating must be appropriate to the structure and the local climate, and it must be sealed into place with a proper adhesive so that it does not leak.
2) Fire Resistance
Fiberglass insulation is inherently non-combustible because the materials from which it is made – sand and/or recycled glass – are non-combustible themselves. Fiberglass insulation does not need to be treated with chemicals to make it fire-resistant, and it does not become any more combustible as it ages.
In many areas, local building codes even allow the use of fiberglass insulation as an effective fire stop in wall assemblies made of wood or steel.
3) Sound Dampening
Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound, and this means it reduces sound transmission through walls, ceilings, floors, and HVAC ducts where it is used. As a general rule of thumb, one inch of fiberglass insulation increases the sound transmission class, or STC, of a building assembly by three or even four points. Additional inches of fiberglass insulation each add two more points to the STC rating.
4) Use Of Recycled Materials
The manufacture of fiberglass insulation has come to rely on incorporating a significant amount of recycled material. Between 1992 and 2000, insulation manufacturers used over 8 billion pounds (3.6 billion kg) of recycled glass from pre and post-consumer sources. Using this material productively saved millions of cubic feet in landfill space.
The total amount of recycled material used in fiberglass insulation varies from brand to brand and product to product, but some products are made with as much as 80 percent recycled glass. Fiberglass insulation also requires the use of silica sand, which is an abundant and naturally-renewing resource.
Fiberglass insulation remains a highly competitive and attractive insulation option, even when considered according to environmentally-friendly “green” priorities. In the decades it has been used, it has proven time and again to be a reliable and effective material.
Whether you are a custom home builder, or you are designing your own custom home, it’s worth your while to know about eco-friendly construction materials. Eco-friendly construction materials are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people are realizing the importance of creating a more sustainable world.
Eco-friendly construction materials are a great way to minimize the negative environmental impact that building a home may have. Additionally, homes that are constructed with sustainable building materials are increasing in popularity because of the vast amount of benefits that they have to offer.
An expert from a custom home builder in New Jersey pointed out, “There are a variety of benefits of using sustainable materials when building a home; the most notable is that green materials ultimately save the homeowner money down the line; in addition to the amount of waste that they [green materials] eliminate.”
Sustainable construction materials save homeowners money because they typically keep a house more insulated; cutting down on the use of heating and air conditioning systems, therefore using less electricity, gas, and oil. Below are some environmentally friendly construction materials to consider including in a custom home design.
Eco-Friendly Construction Materials to Include in Your Custom Home Design
Eco-friendly construction materials should not only be sustainable, but they should also not cause any negative effects on the environment. Typical construction materials are detrimental to the environment because of the harsh chemicals they produce; directly causing air pollution. Or, they are detrimental because they use resources that are limited. Here are some safe alternatives to typical construction materials:
Hemp concrete is a biocomposite material which is made up of hemp and a lime-based binder. Hemp concrete is a great alternative to regular concrete because it’s biodegradable and more sustainable.
Not only does hemp concrete act as an insulator and moisture regulator, but it is also extremely durable and will last just as long as regular concrete. Hemp concrete is a great sustainable material to include in your custom home design and will keep both cool and warm air, reducing the need to run heating and cooling systems, therefore also conserving energy.
Sheep’s wool is a great construction material because it can be regrown quickly and the sheep are not harmed in the process. Sheep’s wool can be used for its insulating benefits in ceilings, attics, and walls. In fact, sheep’s wool is a great insulator for both thermal and acoustic insulation purposes.
Though sheep’s wool is slightly more expensive than other insulation options, the longevity of this insulator is much longer and will reduce electricity bills significantly by keeping cool and warm air in.
Rather than using new steel during construction-which uses natural resources during production – consider using recycled steel. Recycled steel will produce less amount of waste in the environment, and will prevent the use of resources that are necessary to create steel. Steel is relevant in the construction process, especially for beams that will hold up the house, therefore it’s practical to choose steel that is kind to the environment.
Bamboo is an eco-friendly material that can be used for a number of different things. Some of the main benefits that bamboo has to offer include:
A durable surface
Strength to support other materials upon construction
It grows quickly, so is a very sustainable option
Bamboo can be used for both flooring and walls of a home and has a long lifespan, meaning, walls and floors that are designed with bamboo will not have to be replaced often, creating less waste in the environment.
Similar to bamboo, cork is a fast-growing material and is harvested from a living tree, so no trees need to be cut down in order to produce this material. Cork is most commonly used for flooring because of its resilience and durability. However, cork is another insulation option too because it is impermeable, meaning water will not make its way into it; it’s also soundproof.
Cork, if left uncoated, is naturally fire-resistant so it will not produce toxins if it is burned after replacing it with new cork later down the road.
Make Environmentally Informed Choices in Your Home
If you are a home builder or if you are simply a homeowner that wants to assist in the building process, it’s’ important to know how to make environmentally informed choices when it comes to custom home building. These eco-friendly materials will not only benefit the environment, but they will also positively impact the homeowner. Keep these sustainable and green materials in mind as you begin your custom home design.
There is a huge spotlight on the construction industry when it comes to green initiatives – and rightly so. After all, this is one of the biggest contributors to all of the sustainable problems that the world faces. However, this increased focus does prompt some problems. It can make some people believe that going green in the home is out of the question – and is only going to be achieved through some really costly implementations.
Granted, there are some major infrastructure projects you can invest in if you are building a home, with solar power and ground source heat pumps tending to grab the headlines. At the same time, there are smaller wins – and these shouldn’t be underestimated, such as solid wood flooring. In fact, if everyone was to invest in these, we’d suggest that the typical carbon footprint across cities such as San Diego would drop substantially.
Taking this into account, let’s now take a look at some of the quick, green wins you can succeed with as you bid to make your next home more sustainable.
It starts with the placement of your windows
As we work with our architect in the initial design phase of our project, many of us are more concerned about the size of our bedrooms and so on.
A common afterthought is the placement of windows. Sure, some people might think about this as they consider natural light implications – but it’s time to think bigger.
Let’s not forget that as well as allowing rooms to heat naturally, windows are something that lets warm air escape. It means that their position is crucial, and treating them as an afterthought is asking for a completely inefficient dwelling.
Never forget insulation
In some ways, we were almost tempted not to include this next point. After all, insulation is an old classic when it comes to energy efficiency. It is something that has been suggested for years, mainly because it is incredibly cheap to implement whilst also being very effective.
Of course, it’s always easier to install insulation during the early phases of a project. Try and remember to focus on the roof and walls; this is where most of your heat is lost and is where you can make the biggest difference.
It’s not just about energy; think water as well
A lot of today’s guide has looked at energy, and rightly so. We are also going to dip into a point about water consumption, though.
This is something that often gets forgotten about, but the benefits are substantial. A lot of older, traditional bathroom fittings are anything but efficient – they deliver water at a ridiculous rate, and ultimately waste it.
If you turn to modern-day solutions, you’ll find that you can save gallons every year. Suffice to say, this isn’t just going to benefit your environment, but your pocket as well.
Your roof is crucial
Finally, if there was just one area of your next home to concentrate on, your roof should be up there as a priority. Nowadays, there are all sorts of materials that can help your plight. For example, for those of you who reside in hot countries, you can turn to roofs with reflective paint to deal with the heat somewhat. Green roofs are another solution which are surging in popularity but in truth, the list could go on.
Heat loss is a big problem to homeowners. It comes with various issues including a skyrocketing energy bill. Most of the heat is lost through the windows and doors. Luckily, there are some ideas that can help you improve insulation and lessen loss of heat. When choosing fixtures, timber doors and windows are a wonderful option for their amazing insulating properties. Additionally, here are 5 tips to avoid heat loss from your home.
Thick close fitting curtains and blinds will keep warm air inside your home. The curtains and blinds hit the colder window class and cools it down plus lessening draught. Consider installing a pelmet above your curtain rail to enhance thermal insulation more.
Blinds offer tremendous versatility and boost insulation in your home. These leave a smaller gap between slats where less heat escapes from. you can open the curtain and blinds to let the sun enter and close them in the night to lessen heat loss. Installing curtains is a wonderful idea to enhance the security of your home. These windows have hook shaped locks embedded in the window frame leaving them untouchable.
Choose an appropriate glass type
There are various kinds of glass offering different thermal efficiency. Luckily, modern double glazed windows have low emissivity coating. This means they can reflect heat back into your home. Therefore, they are a wonderful option because they offer better thermal insulation compared to plain glass with no coating.
Opt for double glazed windows
You should consider double glazed timber windows and doors in Melbourne to prevent heat loss. Single glazed options lose about 20 percent of the heat in your home. double glazed options have a gap between the panes of glass full of gas such as argon, xenon, and krypton, which is a poor conductor of heat. This helps to lessen chances of heat loss. A reliable company should offer slimmer glazing units for a contemporary and elegant appeal.
Use warm edge spacer bars
A perimeter spacer bar sits between 2 panes of glass holding them apart in double glazing. Spacer bars have desiccant for absorbing moisture that might be in the unit. It is made of aluminium for its high conductivity and ability to lose heat fast.
Keeping your home well insulated is a wonderful option.
Warm space bars made of pre desiccated structural foam help enhance the temperature in the internal edge of glass by up to 65 percent. This is better than the use of aluminium spacers. Additionally, warm spacer bars reduce noise by about 10 percent to keep your home quieter and warmer.
Consider draught proofing
These windows allow the breeze to move at acute angles along your house. Therefore, with curtains windows, you will catch side breezes inside your house.It is a wonderful idea to consider modern windows and door but you have to realise that there is a chance of your home getting draughty with time. Consider installing draught proofing to enjoy more energy efficiency, sound proofing, and no chance of draught in your interior.
Mind your style
Choosing the right colour for curtains windows is a personal decision. Therefore, always ensure to choose a colour that effortlessly reflects your style. Luckily, wooden windows offer a wide range of colour options. It is very important to consider the design you are seeking to achieve. Crisp white is a wonderful option if you want a simple but timeless appeal on your home
There are various consideration when choosing the best windows for your home. Keeping your home well insulated is a wonderful option. It comes with a variety of benefits including enhancing the appeal of your home, lowering energy bills, increasing comfort in your interior, and making your home more attractive to prospective buyers. A wonderful trick is to opt for double glazed timber windows that help lessen heat loss.
Green building concepts have come a long way. As architects, designers, and builders gain access to better tools that help push the limits of construction energy efficiency; we see longer strides made towards more mainstream adoption of green building standards. One such standard that is coming of age is passive houses. The concept of passive houses was first mooted in the early eighties when the idea of green building was still in its infancy. Today, the concept is well entrenched with over 25,000 houses and buildings across the world qualifying as passive houses.
We recently caught up with Toyin-Ann Yerifor, an architectural consultant focused on exploring new and innovative ways to design with reduced impact on the environment to explain what passive houses are and their benefits. She holds an MSc in Architecture (AEES) from the University of East London, an MBA from the University of Northampton and an MSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the Université Grenoble Alpes.
What is a Passive House?
First, what is a passive house? Toyin-Ann explains: A passive house is any building that adheres to rigorous energy efficiency standards. The term passive comes from the fact that the building’s energy efficiency comes from its passive structures, which include the roof, walls, windows, doors, and floor. By radically improving the building’s insulation and energy conservation features, it is possible to reduce its heating requirements by up to ninety percent. As such, passive housing as a standard is focused on helping reduce the energy requirements of buildings through insulation, and by extension, their overall energy footprint.
When you reduce a building’s energy footprint, says Toyin-Ann, several benefits accrue, including environmental, health, and cost efficiency benefits.
Environmental Benefits of Passive Houses
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “energy efficiency is the first fuel of a sustainable global energy system. It can mitigate climate change, improve energy security, and grow economies while delivering environmental and social benefits.” Passive houses deliver on this mandate superbly, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. One of the biggest challenges traditional buildings face is energy loss. When a building easily loses energy in the form of heat, it takes burning more fuel to heat the building. When this happens, overall energy consumption goes up, which is bad for the environment because a major portion of heat generation comes from burning fossil fuels. When buildings are radically energy efficient, on the other hand, less energy is required, and so fewer fossil fuels need to be burned.
While this is the macro view of the environmental benefits of passive houses, are there any micro benefits of investing in this technology? Here are two, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. First, think of the air quality that comes with less energy consumption. In homes that rely on furnaces, doing away with the furnace improves the air quality in and around the home significantly. Second, sound pollution is eliminated if you no longer need to use a furnace, HVAC units around the home, or any other heat generation and management devices. Essentially, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor, passive houses reduce the need to burden the environment. Through radical energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, passive house buildings become a part of the environment and not just an addition to it.
Health and Comfort Benefits
When most people hear about passive houses, they imagine living in a sealed paper bag. That thought can be quite disheartening because issues of quality of air, air adequacy, and comfort come to mind. Although the idea behind passive houses is energy efficiency through a tightly sealed envelope (building), this does not mean health and comfort are compromised. Take air quality, for instance. Most people consider opening a window the best way to guarantee air quality in a room. Now, passive houses rely on closed windows to ensure no heat escapes, which presents a dilemma. Passive houses address this dilemma well, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor.
Although you can open a window in a passive house, even if you do not, the heat recovery ventilation system ensures there is enough quality air circulating the house. Regarding comfort, passive houses maintain a comfortable temperature regulated by the passive heat sources in the house like appliances, body heat, and lighting. Also, they tend not to have cold spots or hot spots, which is often the case with traditionally heated homes. Through rigorous design standards afforded by tools such as the Passive House Planning Package, homes built on the passive house standard adhere to comfort standards as rigorous as the energy efficiency standards stipulated.
Cost Efficiency Benefits
Cost efficiency is at the heart of the passive house concept. When a building is exceptionally well insulated, it can use as little as 10 percent of its regular heating energy requirements. This, of course, also significantly reduces the costs associated with heating the building. So, how does the passive house concept achieve such a radical reduction in energy needs? The answer is insulation, says Toyin-Ann Yerifor. Passive houses rely on extensive insulation to gain this level of energy efficiency. Why is insulation so effective?
Traditional buildings lose a lot of heat through the roof, walls, floor, doors, and, most of all, windows. With a passive house, each of these structures is carefully designed and built to ensure close to zero loss of heat. When you look at the thermal scan of a passive house next to a traditional house, you’ll notice the passive house is almost entirely blue, meaning there’s close to no energy loss. The other building is close to all red, meaning it is losing a lot of energy. This level of energy conservation and efficiency is what leads to the massive energy savings that make passive houses so cost-efficient.
Passive houses are a concept that is yet to hit mainstream construction. However, this does not mean it is impractical to build passive houses. What it does point to is the need for better awareness of the concept. Toyin-Ann Yerifor recommends anyone interested in the concept to visit a passive house showcase home to experience its benefits firsthand. She says this is the only way to understand and internalize this breakthrough energy efficiency concept.
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