An energy efficient house will no doubt save you a lot of money on the long and short term, so if you have decided to build your own energy saving home then you have a great project on mind. Now the next step is to start planning the most effectively as possible to build your house easily and without complications.
Before you do plan your energy saving house you should examine the energy efficiency of you area and architecture that can be envisioned. The local architectural vernacular can help, as it details the available resources used locally. The architecture suggested reflects the historical and cultural traditions and blends into the environment, so that your house can be well-integrated with your area and respect the environment.
You will have to find out what kind of construction to opt for considering the weather conditions and climate and choose the most energy efficient. The sun is of course one of the main elements to consider as is your type of climate. You will have to decide if you want to harness the energy from suns rays to a maximum or avoid them because you live in a hot climate. Then you can orient your house according to your needs. If you live in a northern climate, your windows should face the south in order to take full advantage of the suns warmth.
Space is nice to have, but too much living space means you have to heat up a large surface, therefore plan your house with just enough surface area to be comfortable in. Keep in mind the bigger your house the more energy you will need to heat, cool and light it.
If you are building a house in town, such as a duplex, try to avoid walls facing the exterior. All walls that are shared with another apartment or house will be protected from the external elements. You will consequently have less temperature loss from inside your house.
Insulation is fundamental. Spending extra on better isolation will pay off on the short term. Make sure you use the right kind of insulation in the walls around your windows, such as foam board insulating sheathing, for it will work to control the moisture and as an insulator. Remember to effectively circulate the air in your household to avoid condensation and keep the warm or cold air circulating throughout the house.
Choose windows that are of good quality, such as double or triple glazed windows, or with argon fill gas and even those coated with a low emission protection.
All your mechanical appliances should be energy-efficient, including air conditioner, water heater or furnace. Here again, it is best to spend a little more and have good equipment that will help you save energy and pay back the initial costs of the purchase. Other appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and washing machines should be energy-efficient too.
The better you install the position of your windows to gather as much light as possible, the less electricity you will be spending on light. Try and get as much natural light source in areas such as the kitchen and living room, where families spend the largest amount of time in.