Is energy efficiency a priority to you? As we become more aware of environmental issues and more committed to reducing our impact and consumption – not to mention our monthly utility bills! – the demand for energy efficient homes is growing. What energy efficient features should you be looking for?
Top Energy Efficient Home Features
Look for these critical energy efficient features when buying/building a home:
Optimal Design and Layout
It is not enough to use energy efficient materials or appliances (though this is important). A high-performance home is designed and built, from the ground up, to ensure optimal efficiency. It starts with carefully considering the layout and use of space. Size does play a role – larger homes require more raw materials and have more opportunities for air transfer. However, it is not the biggest factor. In fact, while homes have grown in size during the past generation, they have remained as efficient.
Arguably more important, then, is the design and layout. Look for floor plans that allow air to circulate optimally, making it easier (and less expensive) to heat and cool your home.
Be sure to view our floor plans. Synergy Homes offers a variety of designs to meet your unique needs.
Many people associate insulation with warmth. It makes sense: Folks in cold climates need a very high R-value to stay comfortable during the long, cold winters. But insulation also makes our homes cooler in the summer – and they can be very long, hot, and humid in the Sunshine State! Insulation prevents air transfer, keeping your warm air in during the winter and your cooled air in during the summer.
In Florida, standard homes are constructed with R-30 blown and batt fiberglass insulation. This is in line with recommendations from the Department of Energy (DOE) for our area. However, bulky fiberglass settles and loses R-value over time. In a few years, you will start feeling the difference – both in your inside temperature and your energy bills.
A better option for those with greater efficiency – and their budget – in mind is advanced spray foam insulation. Synergy Homes uses R-20 Icynene spray foam. Yes, the R-value is lower but spray foam operates differently from fiberglass. It is far denser, offers greater protection, and does not lose R-value over time. This means you will get better insulative quality – now and into the future.
Florida’s Hurricane and Energy Efficient Features: Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are a crucial part of the thermal envelope (i.e. this is any structure that separates indoor air from the outdoor air. It includes insulation, foundation, roof, exterior walls, as well as doors and windows). The first step is selecting products that will perform up to the highest standards. For example, we install double pane hurricane impact vinyl windows. Standard new builds use single-pane hurricane-impact aluminum or non-impact windows with aluminum shutters. These do not have the durability of vinyl, and they are not nearly as efficient.
The orientation is also important. As mentioned, a high-performance house goes beyond the products and materials. They are intentionally and strategically designed. To this end, the direction your windows face can help you manage temperature and light naturally. For example, the North and East sides tend to be cooler and deliver less light. They’re great for kitchens, which generate heat. South and West sides usually get a lot of direct light, making them ideal for living spaces. When you opt for high-quality windows that are properly insulated, they will minimize air transfer, keeping your home comfortable year-round.
Energy Star Certified Appliances
Appliances are an integral part of an overall energy efficient design. If every new appliance bought in the US this year was Energy Star certified, we’d cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 215,000 cars and save over $360 million in energy costs. When it comes to individual households, we can save hundreds of dollars – not to mention reducing our consumption of fossil fuels and water. Synergy Homes’ models come equipped with the latest Energy Star rated appliances, helping you achieve your goals every single day, with every single chore!
Energy Star Inspections
We cannot emphasize enough that in order to be truly energy efficient, a home needs to be more than the sum of its parts. It’s more than advanced insulation, windows, and appliances. Instead, they all work together to maximize results. To this end, Gold and Platinum Series homes are inspected by a certified Energy Rater. They look at everything – exterior walls, roofs, ceilings, attics, foundations, crawlspaces, windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, etc.
Each home is assigned a rating, and this indicates how efficient it is, as well as how much you can expect to pay in terms of monthly utility and energy bills. We are confident that every inspection will deliver the reassurance – and savings – homeowners need. The Gold and Platinum Series are up to 75% more efficient than existing homes and up to 50% more efficient than average new builds. This is a remarkable step forward in the world of energy-conscious homes.
Ready to come home? Contact Synergy Homes to discuss your needs.