There may not be a country as influential as America today, even when it has succumbed to the virus more than any other country on the planet. But when it comes to energy wastage, the Land of the Brave is also top of the list. The amount of energy wasted by Americans is through the roof. As statistics show the U.S. economy wastes as much as 86 percent of the energy flowing through it. That translates to $130 billion spent yearly on wasted energy.
Of course, you can save a lot if you put effort into it. Take note that almost half of the energy usage in American homes comes from heating and cooling. Added to that, 33 percent of energy use goes to lighting and those other appliances. And the rest goes to water heating and refrigeration. Knowing how you spend your home energy is a good first step to a modern energy-efficient abode.
The trick to getting energy-efficient is to examine everything that will affect your precious abode’s energy efficiency. To save your energy bills big time you need to do a paradigm shift so to speak. Opening your mind to modern ways of design is a good start to ensure you don’t waste precious dollars needlessly. Here’s the lowdown to get you started.
Get Proper Site Orientation
The biggest energy available to us daily is the sun. It’s important therefore that we make the most of the sun’s light through the seasons. And to do that, you need proper site orientation to maximize the sun’s energy all through the day.
For instance, if you’re living in Australia or any of the countries located in the Southern Hemisphere, your precious abode should be facing south-north. That way, you minimize direct sunlight in the heat of summer while maximizing it during the cold of winter.
So you should orient your rooms to make the most of the sun. Take note that north-facing rooms will be under the heat of the sun mostly all throughout the day. So such a set-up is ideal for your precious abode’s major living spaces: dining room, living room. South-facing rooms would have far lesser sun so these rooms would be best for the least used room: bathrooms and garages.
Mind the Thermal Mass of Materials
Thermal mass can work in your favor. Thermal mass, by definition, is the ability of any material to store absorbed heat. The higher the thermal mass of a material, the better for your home. As it slows the heat transfer rate, a high thermal mass material is beneficial to your property.
This is why floors made of insulated concrete will easily absorb the coolness in the air when night comes, storing it in the process. And when daylight comes, these floors should remain cool, creating a more livable home for you in the process. Other high thermal mass materials are brick, stone, and water. On the other hand, wood and steel are low thermal mass materials. Thus, if you’re serious about building an energy-efficient home, you need to ditch wood and steel in favor of concrete.
Factor Efficient Heating
As mentioned, heating can eat as much as 48% of a home’s energy. Using more efficient heating systems should lower your monthly energy bill. One of the most efficient is state-of-the-art hydronic heating systems as popularized by underfloor heating.
Many use gas boilers that can go as high as 95% in terms of energy efficiency. Even better you can maximize solar power to make it even more efficient. By installing solar panels to power your boilers and the whole house you’re bound to have substantial energy use cuts monthly.
Have Air/Moisture Barrier
Heat escaping from your interior to the outside is energy lost. This happens when your home’s airtightness is weak. Have a home inspector go through your precious abode. Or you can also make the most of a thermal camera to do things yourself. Check for heat signatures that stand out.
Additionally, check for molds as these can affect your indoor air quality (IAQ). Proper insulation is key to lowering your property’s heat loss. And that’s why a thermal scan should be revealing.
Install Cool Roofing
Last but not least is the roof above your head. A cool roof is your secret weapon to keep your attic cool even during summer and your real estate as energy-efficient as possible.
This is where high thermal mass materials (e.g., asphalt shingles) can be counterproductive. They are bound to absorb the rays of the sun and pass it to your property’s interior. On the other hand, a cool roof will only bounce and reflect sunlight. Using clay or ceramic shingles would be a wise move. Moreover, solar panels will not only cool your roof but also give you a more dependable source of energy.