“When building your home or renovating you have an excellent opportunity to make it energy efficient and save up to 40% on your energy costs.

Building your energy efficient home

When building from the ground up you can take the opportunity to select the orientation of your house, wall and ceiling insulation, hot water systems, lighting, heating and cooling and energy efficient appliances. This is not only great for the environment but also for saving money on your power bills.

Planning

Planning your home is important and most people put in a great deal of thought into the room sizes, layout, paint colors and the over all look of the house. At this stage it is also important to make your building choices energy efficient. This starts with the use of energy efficient building materials with good thermal mas like stone, brick, Hebel (light weight concrete). These type of the materials fall into two main parts:

- absorb heat during the winter days and then release it back into the home during the cooler nights.

- The material blocks the summer heat and releases it back into the environment during the cooler night prevent it heating the inside of the home.

Other considerations would be thermally designed windows which reflect heat and UV rays helping to block thermal transference outside to inside and inside to outside. Thus keeping the heat out during summer and the heat in during winter.

Renovating and Building

If you are renovating there are many energy efficient products to choose from that will make your home become energy efficient.

Cooling your home during the hot summer months can be expensive without energy efficient design and building products. However, today there are efficient inverter air conditioners and ceiling and wall insulation which cut costs and improve the efficiency of the cooling appliances. One of the largest problems with older homes is that they leak energy. The cool air leaks out and the hot air flows in during hot days. Thus the air conditioner continues to pump cool air in to because the temperature continues to raise. The reverse is also true during winter heat is continually lost to the outside environment.

Insulation

Insulation comes in in a few main forms – ceiling, walls and under floor. Of these the most important one in the ceiling insulation and this is also the the easiest to install into the home. When building a new home, ceiling and wall insulation are added to part of the energy efficiency of the building. However ceiling insulation can be added at any time and wall insulation can be added when renovating allows.

Lighting

Lighting your home is changing as the average home uses about $100 per year is lighting alone. Older lighting using the traditional light bulb is being changed by compact fluorescent light globes that use a lot less energy and last longer than old light globes. Using these type of globes will reduce the average home lighting  costs by up to 50%. However another change is on the ways and is better than compact fluorescent globes - LED lights. These types of lights will reduce energy costs by a further 25% and the globes last longer.

Hot Water

Solar heated hot water is an excellent choice for the energy efficient house and this can still be heated by electricity or gas when the sun is not shining. Also the new heat exchanger hot water systems are very energy efficient . This type uses a heat exchanger to take heat from the air and heat the hot water (this works similar to a air conditioner). For the both of these options the climate must be taken into account for the product to work efficiently.

Solar Power

Solar Power has always been expensive however with government rebates it is now easier to make this choice. Solar panels are mounted on the roof of the building and can even replace the roofing material. When the energy is captured by the panels it runs through an inverter which turns it into power that can be used in your home deleting or reducing your energy costs. There are two main systems — battery and grid connected. Battery solar systems store the power in batteries to be used when needed. Grid connected feeds power into the grid running your power meter backwards and then runs forwards again as you need to use the power.

Using energy efficient products not only saves money but will make your home more comfortable and place less load on the family budget. Make sure you plan to install energy efficient items and products into your home as you build or renovate.