The imperative factor in an energy efficient house design is how well a home is insulated and sealed to prevent open pockets of air. With some diligence and a little money spent in the design of your eco-friendly home you can cover this facet of building to save money and energy in the long run.
There are many different insulation materials that you can choose from, some of them have a subtle green footprint which is important when building an eco-friendly home. Air krete is one of the most environmentally friendly insulation materials. It has a negligible impact on the environment in manufacturing, is safe for home air quality and fire and mould resistant.
Energy efficient living requires an air barrier to block air flow from entering and exiting the home. This could mean a continuous layer of polyethylene, an extra layer of drywall, or a layer of rigid foam insulation with edges and joints carefully sealed.
Another essential component of energy efficient designs is to have high quality windows, as they can act as insulation themselves. Currently windows can be coated with low-emissivity coatings, which block longer-wavelength heat from escaping, retarding the release of heat through windows. Also low-conductivity gases can be used to seal small spaces between panes of glass.
If a home is well insulated it shouldn’t need an expensive heating system to keep it warm in the cold weather. Hydronic heating is an eco friendly option and so is radian-floor heating if a simple energy efficient furnace is not enough to keep you cozy.
The same concept for heating applies to cooling an eco friendly house. Therefore if the house is insulated and designed well, opening windows at night and closing them during the day whilst blocking the sunlight and shade of trees will do most of the cooling. If you still need an air conditioner you should look for one with a seasonal energy efficient rating of at least 14. Another option is installing a whole-house fan on the top floor, turning it on during the night, and leaving the windows on the ground floor open.