Most people are familiar with the term “energy efficient,” but few grasp what it actually means. Several different classifications of energy efficiency exist, and any property owner considering energy efficient home building should know the differences among them.
The United States government awards “Energy Star” certification to buildings that meet specific criteria. Any building built to code must meet specific energy efficiency criteria for safety reasons, but structures that offer higher levels of energy efficiency may qualify for Energy Star certification.
You have likely seen the blue Energy Star logo on various appliances and other products; this symbol indicates the device or product meets Energy Star criteria. This symbol usually means 10% or greater energy efficiency than an equivalent home built to code. However, Energy Star certification requires maintaining a 20% average efficiency higher than code standard.
As building codes update, Energy Star certification requirements fluctuate. While seeking Energy Star certification is a great way to ensure a home is energy efficient, an official stamp of approval does not necessarily mean you’ve chosen the best option for energy efficiency.
An airtight home does not allow drafts to enter the house, nor does it allow air to escape. While this type of energy efficiency offers lower-than-average utility bills and overall lower heating and cooling costs, airtight homes typically require regular introductions of fresh air inside to keep interior air quality comfortable. There is no official recognition for airtight homes, and this type of energy efficiency is really only suitable for small living spaces like apartments or multi-residence structures.
Another unofficially recognized type of energy efficiency is zero net energy, a designation that describes a home capable of producing as much energy as it consumes during the course of one year. A zero net energy home typically requires an airtight design and solar panels. The solar panels generate and store energy, effectively replacing the energy used within the home.
Ideally, every homeowner should strive for a zero net energy home. This type of energy efficiency ensures you basically pay nothing to keep your home running year after year; the credits you receive from the power company will likely cancel out any bills you accrue, and your choice to install solar panels means clean, reliable energy that benefits the environment.
Anyone considering a new home construction should determine the ideal energy efficiency for the structure but look for opportunities to enhance the building’s efficiency even further. Any investment made in making a home more energy efficient will ultimately pay for itself in energy savings, and preserving energy is a responsible choice that benefits everyone.
Do you have a specific energy efficient design for your custom home in mind? Premier Builders is ready to work with you to incorporate these green methods. We would love to hear from you. Contact us to setup an appointment today. Call (419) 794-5958 or visit www.nwohomebuilders.com/contact.