How much do you enjoy paying your monthly utility bill?
Probably not much at all!
Thankfully, as technology and construction methods keep improving, new homes are becoming more energy efficient, and existing homes are receiving efficient upgrades.
In the United States, one of the leading agencies for home energy efficiency is the Energy Star Program.
Homes with Energy Star certification are designed to save energy, and they often see 30% energy efficiency savings compared to a standard home!
Whether you are building a new home, renovating your existing home, or wanting to make some upgrades, you can have a more efficient home that saves money and the environment!
In this article, we will look at the benefits of an efficient home, why Energy Star certification is important, and how you can have a more efficient home, whether you are building a new home or remodeling your current one.
Let’s get started on our path to energy savings!
Table of Contents:
- Benefits of an Energy Efficient Home
- What Is Energy Star Certification?
- 9 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Benefits of an Energy Efficient Home
With talk and concerns of climate change and global warming, the term “energy efficiency” gets used a lot.
Most people know conserving energy is good, but few people know all the benefits of energy efficiency or actually have efficient habits.
It’s kind of like dieting – we know it’s good for us, but few people actually do it.
If you want to know why your home’s energy efficiency matters, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are eight benefits of an efficient home.
Making homes energy efficient is one of the best ways a family can do their part in helping the environment.
Over 600,000 new homes were built each year in the United States in the last several years. Imagine if each new home was Energy Star certified and using around 30% less energy than the standard home!
If your family wants to do your part in helping the environment by saving greenhouse gas emissions, an energy efficient home is a great place to start!
Better Home Comfort
While an efficient home supports the environment, it also helps you stay comfortable physically!
An essential part of an efficient home is proper insulation, windows, and doors. Using quality building supplies increases your comfort by eliminating drafts, leaky windows, cold or hot spots, etc.
Homes built or remodeled to decrease energy usage typically require less maintenance.
When installed correctly, building supplies geared for energy efficiency are more reliable and take less long-term maintenance.
For example, installing an efficient roof reduces the temperature fluctuation in the attic or upper floor of a home, resulting in less humidity, mold, and ice dams on the roof.
This is the benefit we all like – saving money!
According to Energy Star, the typical US household spends over $2,000 annually on utility bills. Imagine cutting this number down by 30% – that would save the average family $600 a year.
Over a home’s lifetime, this equates to thousands of dollars!
Helps Grid Efficiency
While using less energy saves money and helps the environment, it also helps the power grid’s efficiency.
Many brownouts and other problems occur during large spikes of power, and a typical peak is the 4-7 PM range when families return home and make supper, do the laundry, and turn up the heat or air conditioning.
Banks often look more favorably on efficient homes, particularly when Energy Star certified.
Some banks offer an Energy Efficient Mortgage, which makes it easier to qualify for a loan to purchase or build an Energy Star compliant home.
Better Resale Value
Picture two nearly identical homes in a cul-de-sac. One is an energy efficient home with Energy Star certification, and the other is a typical home with standard building materials.
Which house will probably sell quicker? Which is worth more money on the market?
Remember – energy efficiency is not only valuable to you as the current owner, but it also passes the value to future owners.
Peace of Mind
An efficient home allows you to relax and have peace of mind knowing you are saving energy, money, and maintenance, all while having better resale value.
Also, if your home is Energy Star certified, you can know everything has been built and designed with the latest technology, construction methods, and supplies.
At Design Tech Homes, we know energy efficiency is important for every homeowner.
Not only are we the only custom home builder in Texas to be 100% Energy Star certified, but we also take the next step by having a 3rd party inspector examine each home.
What Is Energy Star Certification?
The Energy Star program is a government program focused on “energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.”
Being under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the program works hard to make sure both homeowners and businesses have the tools required to be energy-conscious and wise.
Since its beginning in 1992, Energy Star estimates it has helped Americans save over 3 billion tons of metric greenhouse gases – equivalent to the annual emissions of over 600 million cars!
How does the Energy Star program achieve these energy savings?
First, it works with local utilities. Over 700 utilities partner with Energy Star, meaning that 95% of Americans can be involved through their local utility.
These programs often include things like low-flow showerheads, retrofitting old lights for LED’s, installing smart thermostats, and other upgrades in the home or business.
Second, it certifies efficient products such as appliances and light bulbs. In 2017 alone, Americans purchased over 300 million Energy Star certified appliances!
View the full list of Energy Star products here, and make sure you look for their certification sticker the next time you purchase something for your home.
And third, Energy Star offers online tools for homes and businesses.
One of their most popular online tools is their Portfolio Manager, which allows companies to measure and track their energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
So what is the Energy Star certification for a home?
While a home may have various Energy Star appliances and light bulbs, these do not mean the home is certified.
To build a certified home, a contractor has to go through a rigorous set of steps and certifications, including having a home inspected by Energy Star.
With a 3rd party inspector looking at every house we build to ensure it meets Energy Star compliance, you know your home is fully certified when you choose Design Tech Homes!
9 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Whether you are looking at building a new home or remodeling your current home, you can make your home more efficient by carefully choosing the right materials and having a trusted contractor install them.
Here are nine energy efficient features we include in every custom Design Tech Home that we build, and you can also include these in your next home build or remodel.
Seal All Air Leaks
Having efficient and high-quality building materials and supplies is important, but it is critical to ensure that proper insulation and caulking are installed to stop and seal all potential air leaks.
A good example of this occurs when you install new windows in your home.
The installation might go perfectly, but if you don’t properly seal and insulate the new windows, you may feel some drafts during windy or cooler weather.
Properly insulating the walls, attic, basement, and flooring with high-efficient insulation is one of the best ways to help your home conserve energy.
Quality insulation affects a house in many ways, such as reducing air leaks and drafts, reducing heat gain in the summer, keeping it warmer in the winter, and reducing the overall energy needed to maintain comfortable living temperatures.
Energy Star Appliances
Having efficient appliances is one of the easiest upgrades to make in any home.
It doesn’t matter how new or old your home is, if you incorporate Energy Star appliances, you are immediately making your home more efficient and reducing your energy usage!
When you are shopping for new appliances, make sure you choose appliances with the Energy Star certification. If you are unsure if a certain appliance is certified, ask a salesperson at the store or look at the appliance’s manual.
Efficient HVAC Systems
HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) play a critical role in both the home’s comfort and fresh air movement.
Cooling a home during the warm summer months is usually one of the home’s highest uses of energy, particularly in Southern states. In Northern states, keeping a home warm during the winter months requires a lot of energy.
HVAC systems are also one of the critical pieces of equipment in giving a home proper airflow, including an effective air filtration system that reduces dust and odors.
While HVAC systems do require significant energy to run properly, they can also be Energy Star certified, and many high-efficient models are available.
Other parts of the HVAC system are also critical to its efficiency.
Having air ducts properly designed, installed, and insulated is critical to maintaining an HVAC’s efficiency. Keeping proper refrigerant levels, and using eco-friendly refrigerants, also helps maintain an efficient HVAC system.
At Design Tech Homes, we take this a step further by conducting duct tests and blower door tests on our newly built custom homes. This ensures the ductwork, windows, doors, and overall house insulation is functioning correctly.
High-performance Windows & Doors
With today’s advanced technology, drafty and leaking windows and doors can be a thing of the past!
Energy efficient windows and doors have modern features such as protective coatings and double-paned frames. Their materials are also more durable and require less maintenance.
These features all combine to reflect heat radiation during the summer and retain heat during the winter.
New windows also typically block damaging ultraviolet sunlight that discolors carpet, furniture, and other home decor.
Having low-flow plumbing fixtures is critical to reducing the amount of water the average home uses.
The most commonly used low-flow fixtures include faucets and showerheads with low-flow aerators and toilets designed to reduce water use.
Water-conserving fixtures are a standard part of the water conservation homes we build at Design Tech Homes.
High-efficient Hot Water Heating
We all want hot water for baths, showers, laundry, washing dishes, etc. The problem is many water heaters are inefficient and use excess gas, propane, or electricity to heat the water.
Thankfully, there are many high-efficient water heaters on the market today, including many with Energy Star certification.
Controlling moisture, whether it is from outdoor precipitation or a bathroom shower, are vital to reduce water damage and control mold.
Using water-resistive barrier material, such as Tyvek House Wrap ™, helps prevent moisture from entering the home.
For indoor bathrooms and sinks, moisture and mold resistant material is essential, such as Jetbacker ™.
3rd Party Inspections
Having a third party inspect your home provides several benefits.
First, it is always good to have someone other than the homeowner or builder look over the project. A third party sees and finds things that were missed.
Second, a third-party inspector points out areas to be improved. This is especially valuable if your home is already built, and you are looking for ways to make it more efficient.
And finally, a third-party inspector provides an unbiased assessment of your home. This is why we use licensed third parties to inspect every home that we build at Design Tech Homes.
Making your home more efficient is something any homeowner can do!
It doesn’t matter if you are building a new custom home or remodeling your existing home – choosing energy efficient parts and installing them correctly reduces your home’s energy use and helps the environment.
If you live in the Southern Texas area and want to build a custom home that is Energy Star certified, then contact the team at Design Tech Homes today.
As the only custom home builder in San Antonio and Houston that is Energy Star Certified, we help our client’s dreams come true with fully customized and efficient homes.
We ensure your home is truly energy efficient by using the latest technology and construction methods in building your home.
We also have a certified 3rd party inspect every home we build, so you enjoy peace of mind knowing everything is working properly in your new home and your new home is Energy Star compliant!
Contact our team today to start your journey towards a new custom home!