Energy-efficient homes are a greener, and more cost-effective, way to live.
These sustainable homes use passive design to reduce their environmental impact. With the use of new smart technology and renewable building materials, energy-efficient homes reduce energy consumption and lower energy costs.
Using eco-friendly design principles, they not only reduce carbon emissions but also give homeowners the opportunity to save on energy bills and improve the value of their property.
The market for eco-friendly homes is growing, with green renovations and sustainable building practices becoming increasingly popular as people look to ways to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.
What Is an Energy-Efficient House?
Energy-efficient homes are built with the purpose of reducing unnecessary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously offering homeowners a more comfortable and cost-effective way to live.
The reduction of non-renewable energy sources increases reliance on renewable energy sources to sustain a home. This means the home’s water, electricity, and thermal heating is sustained by solar, wind and geothermal generators as well as smart passive design features including building orientation, insulation, shading, and ventilation.
Using greener technology to heat and cool improves the internal temperatures of a home with minimal (and sometimes no) costs year-round.
The Rise of Green Renovations and Sustainable Building
More people are looking for ways to keep their energy usage and costs down and improve their environmental impact. This has seen a rise in home improvement loans being taken out to cover the cost of green renovations.
In fact, according to RateSetter research, “37% of borrowers took out green loans for energy-efficient upgrades”.
These renovations often cover energy-efficient home improvements such as introducing energy-efficient lighting, alternative power sources such as solar generators and panels, as well as renewable building materials.
For many borrowers using their loans for green renovations, reducing energy bills is their main goal.
An energy-efficient property is designed to save approximately 75% of the entire energy used in a non-passive (traditional) home.
In fact, energy-efficient homes can save households $1,000 or more per year on energy bills, depending on the efficiency of the building and added features such as rooftop solar.
Investing in an Energy-Efficient Home for the Future
One of the best times to consider investing in an energy-efficient home is when buying, building or renovating.
If you choose to build or renovate your home, special attention needs to be made in sourcing renewable building materials and solar technology.
Utilizing passive design features such as solar design, roof and wall insulation, energy-efficient appliances & fixtures and renewable materials such as timber can increase the comfort of your home, reduce your energy bills and increase your property’s value. In fact, many studies have shown that homes with green labels sell for a premium of 4-10%.
Whether you’re buying or building an energy-efficient home, there are some key things to look out for in order for it to work for you and give you the energy cost savings you need. These include:
- Proper house orientation to maximize energy efficiency
- Ceiling and wall insulation
- Sealed wall and window cavities
- Underfloor insulation
- Double glazing
- External shading
- Cross ventilation systems
- Concrete floors or brick walls to regulate internal temperatures
- Window shutters and plants to provide shade and cooling
- Split system, reverse cycle air conditioning and heating systems with high energy ratings
- Appliances with good energy ratings. Appliances such as fridges and washing machines can account for up to 30% of home energy use.
- Energy-efficient fixtures such as LED lighting, motion sensors, and home automation systems.
Related: 7 Ways to Establish Your Investments as Energy-Efficient Properties
Efficient upgrades such as the above can help homeowners to establish effective financial and energy efficiencies in their homes. In fact, most homeowners see a reduction in their energy bills within the first year of upgrades.
The future of energy-efficient housing will see even smarter homes that will bring more levels of functionality, convenience, and efficiency for the homeowner.
Forecasters believe that energy-efficient homes in the future will feature automated windows that will adjust themselves depending on the current weather conditions and position of the sun. Improved home insulation is also a feature to look out for which will bring increased energy savings and comfort to homeowners.
For anyone looking to invest in either purchasing or building an energy-efficient home, now is the time to start. A new or improved home with smart features and passive design can bring increased savings and enhanced comfort to homeowners.
The future of energy-efficient homes will see an improvement in existing green design features, and also a rise in homeowners and potential buyers looking for energy-rated homes.
As more people are funding green renovations and making their existing homes more efficient, there is now an even greater temptation to reap the benefits of reduced energy bills and energy consumption.
This article has been contributed by Luke Fitzpatrick.