Between rising energy costs and concerns about the environment, most homebuyers today place a high premium on energy efficiency when considering a home. Older structures are often more difficult to keep warm or cool, and retrofitting these with energy efficient options can be challenging or cost-prohibitive. These days, most local building codes require builders to achieve minimum standards of energy efficiency when building new homes, but even these standards aren’t typically enough to satisfy today’s buyers. This is why Lowder New Homes strives not only to meet these codes but to exceed them with an array of energy efficient options in every home — plus the opportunity to upgrade.
If low energy bills and reduced environmental impact are important to you, here are five important energy-efficient features you should consider for your new construction home.
1. High-Grade Insulation
Even with today’s advances in energy efficient technology, there’s still no better substitute for energy efficiency than a well-insulated home. We’re not just talking about applying insulation in the attic; you need to insulate the walls, as well. Insulation systems are assigned an “R-value” to measure the amount of energy saved, with high R-values indicating even temperatures throughout the home with minimal loss of heat or cooling. For best results, insulate walls to an R-value of 15 or higher, and attics to an R-value of 38 or greater.
2. Energy-Efficient Windows
The next line of defense in improving efficiency is the windows of your home. Even with proper insulation, hot air can escape through the windows in winter, and cool air in the summer. When buying a new construction home, look for a builder who installs “low-E” windows (meaning “low emissivity”), which are designed to minimize the amount of heat that can pass through. While you’re at it, be sure your exterior doors are equipped with weather stripping to keep air from escaping.
3. HVAC Systems with a High SEER Rating
For most households, at least half or more of their energy costs can be attributed to their heating and air conditioning systems. The more efficiently your HVAC runs, the less energy it takes to heat and cool your home. Building codes currently require new HVAC systems to have a minimum SEER rating of 13 (“SEER” stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). However, a SEER rating of 15 or greater will make your energy dollars stretch much farther.
4. Energy Star Appliances
The next place to look for energy savings is in your home appliances (most notably, your refrigerator, oven/stove, dishwasher, washer/dryer, etc.). Appliances carrying the Energy Star symbol have been rated for low energy consumption. Make sure your builders install Energy Star appliances in your home, and be sure to ask about upgraded appliance packages for even more savings.
5. Smart Home Technology
Equipping your home with so-called “smart home” technology might seem like more of a luxury or a technological convenience, but in fact, this technology can help you save a lot on your energy bills. For example, zoned heating/cooling combined with programmable thermostats can be directed to send heat and cool air into specific rooms only when they are being used, thus reducing waste. Having the ability to control and program heating, cooling, lighting and appliance use from a smartphone or tablet can greatly reduce unnecessary energy consumption.
Lowder New Homes places a high priority on energy efficiency solutions that meet and exceed modern building standards. To learn more about energy efficient solutions for your new home, call us today at 334-270-6789.