One of the most beneficial features of our Green Homes is energy efficiency. The cost of energy efficiency features in our homes is more than offset by the monthly energy savings. Not only that, but properly designed and integrated climates inside our homes provide the ultimate comfort.
Energy Efficiency Features in Our Green Homes
“One in Energy New Home Program”
Many builders, including us, have switched to this program in lieu of Energy Star. The new program will meet or exceed most of the Energy Star requirements we’ve been using over the past few years including third party inspections and blower door tests. Homes are independently inspected and tested for specific performance. Using the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) we can model the home’s energy performance and estimate its annual energy consumption. A HERS score of 100 is how a code-built home should perform. A HERS score of 50 should use 50% less energy than a code-built home. Our homes average a HERS score of 60-65 which translates to 35%-40% in energy savings. Most older homes will have a HERS score far in excess of 100.
Argon Filled Low-E Dual Pane Vinyl Windows
Windows are the weak link in a home’s thermal barrier. These windows insulate against heat transfer much better than standard windows and block out much of the harmful UV light that damages interior finishes.
R-44 Cellulose Attic Insulation
R-44 is about the maximum insulation thickness that makes sense in our climate. After that, diminishing returns sets in. Fiberglass will quickly loose it’s R-value as attic temperatures decrease in winter due to cold air convection. Because cellulose is much denser, it is much less prone to cold air convection, thus keeping its stated R-value in cold weather much better than fiberglass.
Increases the walls insulation value by over 35%. Fewer studs means more square footage covered with insulation and less thermal bridging through studs. 2×6 walls on 2’ centers use fewer board feet of lumber and are actually stronger than 2×4 walls on 16” centers. Insulation R value is 21 vs. 13 on 2×4 walls.
Net and Blow Wall Insulation
Wall cavities are rarely exactly 16” on center meaning that the rolled batt insulation frequently leaves uninsulated gaps. Net and blow insulation fills these gaps much better when properly installed.
A surprising amount of heat is lost or gained through the foundation. Insulating not only reduces this loss, but also helps to protect from frost heaving, a common occurrence in foundation failures.
Frame and Attic Seal
Thick insulation is not very effective if a house leaks a lot of air. An air barrier is created between the conditioned space of the house and the outside using sheathing, tapes, caulks, sealants and expanding foam prior to and after sheetrock. Energy Star minimum standard for air tightness is .35 ACHn (air changes per hour, natural). In blower door tests, our homes frequently perform 50% better than the Energy Star minimum.
HVAC Duct Seal
Even brand new homes can leak 20%-25% of the air in the ducts into the attic. This is highly inefficient and can introduce dusty contaminants from the attic into the home. All of our air handling equipment is sealed with mastics and special tapes to bring down our duct leakage to no more than 6%.
16 SEER AC and 95% Efficient Furnace
We use American Standard equipment which is the best you can get. Code built homes have 14 SEER AC and 80% furnaces. Heating and cooling account for 50% of a home’s energy consumption and 40% of the energy consumed in the United States.
R-8 Insulated Ducts
100% more insulation than R-4 ducts. This is a big deal when ducts are run in the attic as they are in Oklahoma.
98% Efficient Navien Tankless Water Heater
Navien is the most efficient tankless water heater on the market and also has the best warranty. It uses clean burning, abundant natural gas and you’ll never run out of hot water.
Energy Star Qualified Ceiling Fans
These fans typically use 50% less energy than a non-qualified fan saving around $15/year per fan. It all adds up.
Energy Star Qualified Dishwasher
These dishwashers typically save up to $40 or more per year on energy and save up to 1300 gallons of water per year over non-qualified models.
LED and Compact Flourescent Light Bulbs
These bulbs pay for themselves. They can use 75% less energy and generate 75% less heat than a comparable incandescent bulb, reducing the load on the air conditioner. They can also last up to 6 times longer than incandescents resulting in a savings of over $40 per bulb over its lifetime.
California corners and ladder “T’s” allow exterior corners and wall junctions to be insulated. They also consume less lumber which saves you money.
Used in place of OSB on the roof decking, this product reflects up to 97% of the sun’s radiant heat resulting in attics that are up to 30 degrees cooler in the summer. It will also help hold heat in during the winter. It will help reduce energy bills and help the HVAC system perform better and last longer.
These balance the air pressure between rooms creating a more comfortable and efficient operating HVAC system.