Sunday, March 3, 2024

Energy Efficiency In New Build Homes Is Fueling a New Green Revolution

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More than ever, new homes are being built with the environment and energy efficiency in mind. And that means modern design, great insulation and new technology that makes the whole process easier.

With mortgage rates up over seven percent — even if they had plans to move, homeowners are staying put. That means new home buyers are often looking at new home builds rather than older homes. There are upsides to purchasing a new build home, especially when mortgage rates are so high. New homes require less immediate maintenance than older homes.

And as sustainability is top of mind for a growing segment of the population, they’re often embracing ways to reduce energy consumption. These factors can keep expenses down in order to make those higher mortgage payments.

how to cool your home
Photo courtesy Collov Home Design

Not only is it good for the buyer, but energy efficient homes are good for the environment, too, as they consume fewer resources and are generally built using sustainable materials, meaning that the impact on the environment is minimal.

New homes are often built to cover all facets of sustainability, from water conservation to waste reduction and green landscaping practices. Even your garden (or green roof!) can be a haven for wildlife and a huge asset to local biodiversity.

So, if you’re in the market for a new home that is environmentally friendly, here are some things to look out for.

Energy-efficient appliances

A modern home is made up of hundreds of appliances. From the kitchen to the living room and to the home office, our life wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t turn the kettle on in the morning or join a meeting from the other side of the world.

Kitchen
Photo courtesy Bluewater Sweden

One way to increase the efficiency of your home is to purchase appliances that use energy efficiently. Look out for Energy Star-rated products and you will soon see a significant decrease in your utility bills and your overall carbon footprint.

Sustainable building materials

New homes are prioritizing sustainable materials like never before. While houses used to be made out of brick or stone, these days houses are being made from anything from bamboo to recycled steel and reclaimed wood.

Of course, these materials would be deemed somewhat useless without insulation, and with rising gas prices comes the need to conserve heat. Low-impact insulation not only keeps the house warm and reduces utility bills, but also minimises your carbon footprint.

solar panels on house
Photo Courtesy Vivint Solar

You’ll want to ensure the home has double or triple-glazed windows with low-E (low-emissivity) coatings and argon gas fills. These windows reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, contributing significantly to energy savings. And when it comes to heating and cooling, kook for high-efficiency HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Check the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating for air conditioners and the AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating for furnaces. Higher ratings indicate more efficient units.

Emerging technologies and innovations

Nnew technologies and innovations are entering the market at a rapid pace and many are designed to make your life easier and your energy bills easier to swallow. Smart devices are seeing a huge surge of popularity. Features such as self-regulation and the ability to switch on and off without human intervention is what is making certain products really popular.

Nest thermostat
Courtesy Nest

Other technology brings in even higher yields to the sustainability of your home. Renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, are also growing in popularity and providing homeowners with a reliable source of energy with no cost to the environment. Yes, the costs of the panels themselves are sizeable, but the long-term savings are enormous.

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