Consumers in North America are gearing up for the 2005/2006 winter season as we write this report and most are gearing up to pay higher energy bills over the next season. heating than in previous years. Recent increases in energy costs for all types of energy, including gasoline, fuel oil, electricity and natural gas, are prompting many consumers to think about how they heat up their energy bills. home and save money. In our discussion, we will use the term "energy" to refer to all forms of fuel used in our homes.
Energy conservation begins with the design and construction of a new home and leads to your daily lifestyle. Consumers who have the most success in reducing their energy bills have made energy conservation a way of life, while enjoying their new homes in comfort.
Many homeowners have the potential to reduce their heating bills by up to 50% or more. They can achieve these savings through a logical and well-planned approach that begins with the design of the house, proper construction techniques, well insulated windows, doors and walls, and daily, monthly and yearly operational techniques.
Consumers who have designed and insulated their homes taking into account the energy saving will be able to maximize their savings if they make energy conservation a part of their lives daily. The common goals of living in a comfortable home and managing your energy consumption can easily be achieved by following a few simple rules.
Systemic Approach to Energy Savings
Our homes are truly a complex environment that needs to be managed to ensure that we live comfortably, that we have enough fresh air while controlling our energy consumption. Essentially, a well planned home will consider the amount of energy coming from energy sources such as our heating system as well as solar heating or energy losses caused by the cold, the losses. heat through windows, doors, walls and floors. as well as the reduction of heat when we use air conditioning systems in hot climates.
In winter, we are concerned about the cost of heating our homes and the loss of heat on the outside by the escape of cold air into our homes. The summer brings the opposite when we have to cool our homes and manage the cooling during the hot summer days. In both cases, solar heat plays a role in the equation as well as to the extent that our homes are well closed. Consumers living in colder climates will be more concerned about heating costs in winter while consumers living in southern parts of the continent will worry about the cost of air conditioning.
Taking a systemic approach to managing your energy costs is one way to maximize your savings and make a positive contribution to the environment by reducing energy consumption. Energy conservation and home design begin with the orientation of your home to maximize the heating of your home by natural solar heating in colder climates and avoiding solar heating in climates hot. Then, consumers can enjoy natural shade or adding trees to provide shade on hot summer days and also serve as windbreaks to reduce the impact of the trees. cooling effects that wind can have on the amount of energy used.
Once you have considered these elements, consumers should use the latest techniques to design their homes with high insulation values in walls, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and appliances. energy efficient. For example, your air conditioner should be energy efficient and placed in the shade as much as possible to maximize its efficiency. The selection of fluorescent lighting, taking advantage of natural lighting are additional elements to take into account in the design of your new home. Check out our Home Energy Checklist for more details on the steps you can take to reduce your energy costs at the design stage of your home.
Consumers may also want to invest in an energy audit of their home design before accepting the final design. A relatively inexpensive audit can sometimes save thousands of dollars in energy costs over the life of their home.
Our Home Energy Checklist
We have drawn up a home energy checklist taking into account both the new buyer and the new buyer . you save energy, which means money in your pocket during the design as well as after your move to your new home. The energy saving can be divided into four areas: the design of the house; Choice of appliances and lighting, energy conservation – A way of life. This comprehensive approach to systems and lifestyle is really focused on maximizing your energy savings.
You may have the most energy – efficient home, even if you leave the windows on when you heat the house or let it cool down, your energy saving initiatives will not go away. energy will not be as emotional as you might have thought.
With this in mind, our energy savings checklist applies to the design phase as well as your relocation to your new home. Even consumers who have been home for a few years will find this checklist helpful in managing their energy consumption.
Most designers and architects are up-to-date on energy conservation techniques, but they are also designed to meet the needs of their customers and the priorities of their designs. Many consumers will consider home energy management as an afterthought when it is too late to incorporate the concepts of energy savings into the design of their new home. As you and your designer or architect discuss your plans and goals for your new home, always insist that energy management and comfort are very important elements of the final design. that you are looking for.
Designing a new home really begins with site selection and the orientation of your home on the property. Depending on the climate, consumers will want to direct their homes on the property to manage the amount of solar heating to which the house will be exposed. A common theme throughout this report is to steer your house so that the sun can heat the house naturally in winter, while minimizing the effects of solar heating during hot summer days. Adding trees or shrubs to provide shade and take advantage of natural landforms to provide shelter from promising winds is the first step in managing your costs energy.
The construction of the foundation for houses varies greatly across the continent. In some places, an underground basement is mandatory, while in other places, a concrete slab is standard. In both cases, insulation is a key element to maintain comfortable living conditions while reducing your energy costs. Insulation can be added under the concrete slab and all basement walls must be properly sealed and insulated to at least R20. All exposed hot water pipes can also be insulated.
The walls should be insulated to at least R20, while attics should be insulated to a level of R40. The floors on the crawl spaces will be warmer and you will lose less energy if the floors are also insulated. Many customers choose wall-mounted carpeting for extra insulation and warmth, however if you prefer ceramic, marble or hardwood floors, area rugs can be used as decoration and provide a warm surface for walking. Ceiling fans are another inexpensive way to distribute naturally heated air.
Consumers can choose energy-rated windows and doors with triple glazed windows and insulated steel doors. The addition of a storm gate on the outside increases the level of insulation and energy savings you can achieve. During the winter, consumers will enjoy the warmth of the sun's rays through the windows, while in the summer months, the windows can be covered to reduce the effects of the sun. The selection of window covers, while meeting the aesthetic requirements, can also support energy saving concepts.
Selecting fluorescent lighting fixtures and taking natural lighting into consideration can significantly reduce your lighting costs. Incorporate timers, motion sensors, photo cells at appropriate places in your home to help manage your lighting needs as well as energy consumption.
The design of the bathroom as well as all areas where the water used must incorporate flow restrictors to minimize the use of cold and hot water.
Everyone loves having a fireplace in their house. A fireplace can generate a huge loss of energy if it is not handled properly and designed with energy conservation in mind. Natural wood fireplaces have the lowest efficiency, while sealed gas fireplaces can be very efficient, while providing the atmosphere that many consumers are looking for.
The selection and use of your devices can have a significant impact on your energy costs. Old appliances can be energy hungry, while new appliances should be chosen based on their energy rating. The selection of a furnace, an air conditioner and a high efficiency water heater is a first step. Consider buying new devices instead of moving your devices from your last home. The electronic ignition of gas appliances, the use of the shade for your air conditioner and the use of a digital thermostat that allows a timed control of the indoor temperature of your home are all elements of the energy design of your home.
A final comment on the new design of the house is in order. Consumers may also want to hold an energy audit of their home before accepting the final design. The suggestions of an expert will often pay the cost of the audit in terms of energy savings.
Energy Conservation – A Way of Life
Consumers who spend time and money designing and building an energy-efficient home may be disappointed with savings that they realize if they do not practice conservation energy in their daily lives. For example, you may have paid for a well insulated home, sealed all cracks, used caulking where you installed and installed the best windows and doors. If you leave the windows open, forget to turn off the thermostat during cold winter days when you're not home or when you ride the thermostat on hot days, you might not realize the savings you hoped for. By leaving the lights on, appliances running on partial loads, such as dishwashers, etc., can also increase your energy consumption beyond what you expected.
Our Household Energy Checklist covers many items that homeowners may consider as a way to take advantage of all the energy savings of their home to further reduce their energy consumption. By making this approach a part of your lifestyle, you will ensure that your energy savings continue after you move into your new home and have lived there for a while.
Many people are also concerned about the impact of conservation energy on their comfort and can be promised to implement some energy saving concepts. We would politely emphasize that replacing an incandescent light with a fluorescent light will not only save you energy, but also provide you with a more comfortable light in your home. Filling the dishwasher or washer before using them does not require any extra effort and allows you to save energy at the same time. There are many examples of this type that will reduce your energy consumption and will not affect your comfort. In fact, plugging leaks and designing ceiling fans in the home can positively improve the aesthetics and reduce drafts.
Review our home energy checklist and apply the items that impact your situation. You will be amazed at how much you can save by following a few simple steps!