The term ‘Energy Efficient Home’ is often widely used as something that every homeowner should strive to obtain. But what exactly does it mean? And if you have an Energy Efficient Home in Alaska, is it the exact same thing as being in Scottsdale? The truth is that different geographic locations require different elements to create a home that is energy efficient and comfortable. As such, when you ask what is an energy efficient home, the truth is that it depends on where you live.
To keep things simple and practical for those who live in the Phoenix metro area, the goal is this: keeping a home as energy efficient as possible – while still maintaining comfort all year long.
Three Steps to Keeping an Energy Efficient Home
Step #1 – Make Sure to Have an Energy Audit Performed
The first step in making any home truly energy efficient is to discover areas inside your particular home that could be improved. This is often accomplished during an energy audit performed by a professional home energy technician. Energy Audits can truly be an eye-opening experience for any homeowner. They are designed to analyze every aspect of your home that will impact energy consumption including:
- Inspecting windows, ductwork and insulation for leaks, cracks or obstructions that cause a home to lose heat or cold
- Inspecting and testing the efficiency of major appliances, HVAC systems and ventilation
- Analyzing the location of the home and discovering inside areas inside that absorb more energy than they should
Step #2 – Consider Installing Energy Star® Appliances
Another important step for making an Arizona home energy efficient is to install Energy Star® rated major appliances as soon as possible. Energy Star® rated appliances have been proven to use up to 25% less energy than standard appliances. And with energy consumption rates increasing each year, taking the proactive measure to install Energy Star® rated appliances can significantly reduce the total amount of monthly energy you use.
Step #3 – Develop a Strategic Plan When Building a New Home
If you’re in the process or considering building a new home, there are several things you can do to make the home as energy efficient as possible including:
- Work with your builder on home placement: a great way to save money on energy consumption is to first determine a smart course of action as to where the home should sit on the lot. There are many ways to ‘naturally’ heat or cool a home based on the location of primary walls, windows and doors in association to where the sun rises or sets each day.
- Consider installing energy efficient roofing and insulation: living in the Phoenix metro area is all about keeping air consistent inside the home. And the best way to do this is to ensure the home has exceptional insulation. Spray foam is by far the best method to seal the building from drafts, leaks, and gaps using a high insulating and expanding foam.
- Window replacement is a great way to increase energy efficiency: Upgrade your drafty, old single pane windows. Today’s Low-E and Low-E2 windows are far superior to products made even in the last few years. And, the window frames are made with thermal breaks and highly insulated glass.
- Work with the builder to install custom, energy efficient HVAC systems: Another proactive step to ensure you have a truly energy efficient home in the Scottsdale area is to install a highly energy efficient home heating and cooling system. Some of these units include all-in-one HVAC systems, new heat pump systems or even solar powered heating units. Another basic option is to choose an electronic programmable thermostat, and understand the peak energy hours of your power company. This is a very inexpensive way to quickly save money.
The bottom line; to determine what is an energy efficient home requires you to determine what’s best for your individual location. Homes in the city require different needs than mountain-based homes, and vice-versa. However, regardless of where your home is located, the best way to build an energy efficient home is to openly discuss this with your builder or any home remodeling expert that has experience in creating energy efficient homes. Always ask questions to experts in order to get solid answers.