Building practices that make sure your savings go beyond your appliances

Energy efficiency is becoming more and more important to homeowners, and we’ve done an increasing amount of projects where energy efficient and sustainable building practices are just as important to our customer as the design. In this piece, we’d like to run through the benefits of remodeling your space with energy efficiency in mind.

What are the new standards?

One of the most widely adopted standards for LEED qualifying homes is the use of 2×6 exterior studs or 1-inch rigid insulation.

Since normal wall studs are 2×4, this will increase the cost of any home remodeling project. That said, it will generally only be a nominal expense. For example, a simple 60 foot x 30 foot ranch home would only end up paying a few thousand more and easily make that back in energy bills over the years.

The Whole-House Systems Approach

Trying to piece together energy efficient aspects of the home separately can be hard when it’s done little bit by little bit. If you’re only doing one wall at a time, your savings will be harder to assess, and the cost will end up being higher in the end as the savings won’t really have taken effect yet.

The Whole-House Systems Approach looks at the project as being all interconnected (which it is) and plans the work accordingly. This helps ensure that you start seeing savings as soon as your project is complete.

Doing this on your own, or with an inexperienced builder, could end up backfiring. Designers and builders have to keep in mind site conditions, local climate, age and type of appliances, insulation (mentioned above), lighting, HVAC, windows, and doors. That’s why the Department of Energy recommends “hiring an experienced design build team” and insisting that “they use a whole-house systems approach.”

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Finding Your Design-Build Team

The Whole-House Systems Approach is an actual, defined process, not just a school of thought, and that’s why it’s important to find a team that has specific experience working with the system. With all of the details and different aspects of ensuring the overall energy efficiency of the home, designers and builders new to the process often overlook important details.

Wherever you live, you can find specialized architecture firms and construction companies. Oftentimes, when you divvy up the work between two teams it costs the homeowner a bit more in the end, but if your area doesn’t have a design-build firm with the experience you’re looking for, it’d be best to bite the bullet and hire two companies. Chances are that if they are both specialized and work in the same area, they’ve worked together before.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, the team here at Airoom is an exception because our designers are Certified Green Professionals, as well as certified by the EPA and Energy Star. Airoom’s build teams are also experienced in green and energy efficient building practices, and ensure that nothing gets missed in the process.

So while we’re not exclusively a green building company, our team has the same training and certifications, and you save on the up-charge that many specialized firms charge for those qualifications.

Summary

It’s easy to save money with energy efficient design and build practices when you work with a team that has the necessary experience. Always ask if they’re familiar with the Whole-House Systems Approach, and check their industry certifications. From there, sit back and watch your new home become an even stronger asset.

 

 If you’re in the Chicagoland area and want to learn more, send an email to [email protected] and one of our designers will be in touch.