The biggest benefit of buying a home built to your specifications is that you can choose what you want to prioritize. And if you want to save money during your time owning and living in the home, you should choose to prioritize the energy efficiency of your home. The decisions you make now, during the building process, will affect how much it costs to live in your new home every year, so it's worth spending a little more on energy efficient materials and designs now to keep your cost of living down later. Take a look at some of the best ways to ensure that you have an energy efficient home.
When a home is already built, it's often simpler to just replace the existing insulation with the same material, or with something similar, instead of choosing new, greener insulation. However, when you're building a new home, you have the freedom to install whichever type of insulation is best for you right from the start.
There are many types of insulation, and almost all of them purport to be the greenest and most energy efficient. You can choose from materials you're probably already familiar with, like fiberglass or foam insulation, or less common alternatives, like sheep's wool and denim. But if you really want to go all out, look into the option of aerogel insulation.
Aerogels were originally developed by NASA. They're made of silica gel in which the water has been removed and replaced with air. When it comes to their value as an insulating material, they're hard to beat – they have an R-value more than R-10 per inch. By comparison, the R-value of closed-cell spray foam is only about R-6.5 per inch.
When choosing a roof, one of your first goals should be to choose a material that's long-lasting. Roofs are expensive, and you don't want to have to replace yours any time soon. However, a second goal should be to choose a roof that's energy efficient. Much depends on the climate of the area that you're building your home in.
If you live in a generally warm, sunny climate, consider a metal roof. The metal will reflect the sun's rays, keeping the temperature down both on your roof and inside your home during the hottest times of the year, greatly reducing your cooling costs. However, if you're in a cold climate, you need a material that is insulated enough to keep heat from escaping through the roof during the cold season, lowering your heating bills. You also need a sturdy material – wintery conditions are especially punishing on your roof, and will shorten the lifespan of materials like asphalt shingles. Cement tiles and slate are both sturdy materials that can help keep the heat in and stand up to harsh winter weather. Metal also works in cold climates, but only if you ensure that it's well insulated.
Don't miss the chance to create the optimum energy efficient landscaping design. Careful planning of your grounds can result in energy saving for years to come. For example, if you plant deciduous trees on the south side of your home, they'll provide shade in the summer, keeping your home cooler, but also allow the sun to reach your walls and windows in the winter, reducing your heating costs. A six to eight foot tree will start providing shade in its first year, so you won't have to wait long to start seeing a benefit if you plan correctly.
It's not just the trees and plants nearest your home that can provide energy benefits, either. Shading a sidewalk with a hedge or planting shrubs along the walkway can cool the air before it gets near your home. Don't underestimate how energy efficient a good landscaping design can be.
Making energy efficiency your priority when planning your custom-built home can make living in your home affordable for years to come. Be sure to discuss energy efficient building strategies with your builders from a company like Cornerstone Contracting as you plan your new home.