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The Exterior And Interior Features Your Home Has To Have

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Building your own home can be exciting yet stressful. There are tons of decisions to be made and a budget to consider. One of the most important decisions a homeowner can make will be to design a home that is energy efficient. Planning your home with these energy saving features takes advantage of the most recent building technology and must be installed while the home is being built. Most importantly, you are helping to protect the environment while saving yourself money.
EXTERIOR FEATURES
Advanced House Framing
According to toptenreviews.com, advanced house framing is a new technique which uses less wood and more insulation. "According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using advanced framing can lower material costs by $500 to $1,000 for a 1,200- to 2,400-square-foot house. It can also cut labor costs by three to five percent and annual heating and cooling costs by up to five percent."
Cool Roofs
These roofs are especially designed for homes in warmer climates where the air conditioning is used most of the year. The roofing material is made from a reflective material built into the the shingles, or tiles. These roofs are designed to reflect sunlight and lower roof temperatures.
Exterior doors and Windows
Exterior doors come with energy performance ratings. This score will let you know how well the door keeps heat or air conditioning inside. Energy efficient windows are a smart investment on the part of a homeowner. According to Department of Energy studies, new energy efficient windows can save the average homeowner between 10% and 40% on their energy bill. Low emissive (Low-E) windows keep heat inside while facilitating daylight to pass through. Not only that, but they allow A/C units to operate more efficiently, and can prevent fading of fabrics, floor coverings and furniture from sunlight.
Skylights
Surprisingly, skylights can improve a home's heating, lighting, and ventilation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that skylights be no larger than 5% of the floor area in rooms with several windows, and no more than 15% of the floor area in rooms with minimal windows.
Exterior Paint
A home's paint color can have an impact upon heating and cooling. A lighter color will help keep your home cooler, while a darker color will help your home retain heat.
Air Management
Tight construction which minimizes air leaks can help decrease heating and air conditioning costs by 15 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Properly sealed ductwork inside prevents air leaks and condensation, and tight airways leading outside can reduce energy bills. All joints where walls, floors and roofs come together need to be properly sealed. Weather stripping around doors and windows reduces air flow and prevents dust from coming inside.
INTERIOR
Water Heating
According to The U.S. Energy Information Administration in a 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, water heating can account for almost 20 percent of a home's total energy use. Consider an energy-efficient water heater with thicker side walls with higher insulation values.
Insulation
Insulation helps keep a home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The R-value of insulation tells you how well it will resist heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the better the heat resistance. Homes may have a combination of insulation types packed into ceiling, wall and floor cavities such as blown and batt insulation. Some types of insulation are specifically designed for certain areas or certain types of homes.
Flooring
Choosing the correct type of flooring can impact your energy costs. Rugs and carpet can trap heat, keeping your home warmer in the winter. Choosing the correct flooring will help keep your home warmer or cooler, depending on your needs.
Fans
Installing fans in your home can help save on air conditioning costs. Ceiling fans come in a large selection of colors, styles, and shapes, and can add to the decor of your home without looking out of place. Ceiling fans can also be dialed to help keep warm air from rising but circulating closer to the living spaces.
Appliances and Fixtures
When purchasing appliances and fixtures, check out each's Energy star rating. High Energy-star ratings on an item indicates its energy savings.
According to energystar.gov, Products can earn the ENERGY STAR label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements set forth in ENERGY STAR product specifications.
‚ÄčEPA establishes these specifications based on the following set of key guiding principles:
  • Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide
  • Certified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency
  • If the certified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time
  • Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer
  • Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing
  • Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers
Programmable Thermostats
A programmable thermostat will allow a homeowner to save heating and cooling costs by allow them to set the thermostat to adjust for changes in temperature, especially during the day when the home may be empty. It can be set to increase or lower the temperature before the arrival of the homeowners, thereby making the home more comfortable.
Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs have revolutionized energy-efficient lighting. LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents. They are durable, cool (do not heat up), mercury free, and more efficient than regular light bulbs. The are more cost effective when calculating the replacement factor of regular light bulbs.
CFL bulbs are four times as efficient and last ten times longer than regular light bulbs. They are less expensive, reduce water and air pollution, provide high quality light and are more versatile than regular incandescents.
Induction Cooking Stove
Induction cooking stoves can reduce energy use by up to 60% over other cooking stoves by using an electromagnetic mechanism to convert electric current into heat energy with less energy being consumed.

Planning for an energy-efficient home while in the design stage of home building will reap rewards in energy savings. By taking the time to research those features which will save you money over the course of the years you live in your home, you are taking advantage of all the technological advances being made in home construction.

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