Whether building or buying new, it is important to consider the efficiency of the home. One of the considerations most people overlook when considering efficiency is whether the investment made in upgrading insulation, windows, HVAC and other items will be lucrative.
Some items, like spray-foam insulation, will have hidden costs and drawbacks that may be overlooked. There is no doubt that open-cell or closed-cell spray-foam is a superior product, compared to others, from the standpoint of its insulation properties. However, beyond the cost increase of the insulation itself, there are framing material and labor costs that should be accounted for due to the requirements of foam insulation. Special HVAC air handlers and furnace costs must be included, and are required, with foam insulation.
2×6 walls with cellulose insulation or BIBS (blow in blanket system) can be a good compromise between standard insulation practices and spray-foam. Radius barrier roof decking is also extremely impactful, especially in relation to its cost.
Here’s a helpful article by Bob Villa.
The article link listed below gives advice about choosing windows to improve energy savings in your home. New or replacement windows can eventually pay for the expenditure through lower heating and cooling costs. Choose windows by their energy performance ratings and plan for windows in the total home design when building to plan for overhangs that could help with energy savings.
To make present windows more energy efficient if you are not going to spend the dollars to replace, install storm windows where you can, update the caulking and weather proofing and consider window coverings that can reduce heat losts and gains.
Homeowners should consider several factors when maintaining their current heating and cooling systems:
- Change air filters regularly
- Tune up your equipment yearly which should include checking thermometer settings, tightening connections, lubricating all moving parts, checking and inspecting the condensation drain as well as checking and cleaning condensers and checking the controls
- Install a programmable thermostat
For new units, consider an Energy Star qualified unit installed by a professional. Your builder’s relationships should be protecting your interests for high energy efficiency.
Visit https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_hvac for more information.
All homeowners should make sure they understand the full scope of cost involved for any upgrade or new build related to efficiency. This will give the customer the knowledge they need to decide if expenditures will pay off