Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tips for Building an Energy Efficient Home for Less

#5 Square house. Houses lose heat through the exterior doors walls and ceilings (and through the floors in the case of mobile homes), so it only makes sense that by reducing the surface area of the building that heating costs will be reduced as well. Although a geodesic dome offers the least amount of surface area per square foot of usable floor space, square building are much cheaper to build and are generally more functional and aesthetically pleasing.

The trouble with square buildings is they often look plain and boxlike. Often house designers will add bay windows, turrets and dormers to give a home an individual touch. Not only do these attributes cost big money to install but these also add large amounts of surface area without significantly increasing the amount of usable interior floor space. The best way to fancy up an everyday is to attach unheated structures such as porches, decks and vestibules.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Building an Energy Efficient Home for Less

Energy efficiency is a “hot” topic these days from the global warming alarmists predicting major catastrophes unless we can control fossil emissions to the consistently elevated cost of natural gas and electricity that seem to squeeze the last penny of our monthly paychecks. Although the solution seems easy enough: start building energy efficient homes, the reality is that many conservation techniques such a solar panels, geothermal and hyper insulation seem to add enormous expenditures to the already sky rocketing price of constructing a new home. Fortunately there is an answer to not only simultaneously reducing the cost of house construction and home heating bills, but actually increase the quality of life for those living in these new buildings.

The house in the featured in this article is located 120 km north of Edmonton, is 5500 square feet in size, uses less than $250 of natural gas per year to heat (averaged over the last 8 years) yet only cost $186,000 ($35 per square foot) to build. What may be surprising to some, is that each design feature used to improve energy efficiency, also reduced the cost of construction. Although there are approximately 35 design elements that make this particular house so energy efficient; listed over the next couple of weeks are the five aspects that were the biggest contributors to energy efficiency.

If you are interested in seeing all 35 design features, you can purchase my book "Designing and Landscaping the Family Home" or attend my course "Building an Energy Efficient for Less" held at the University of Alberta Extension at the Devonian Botanic Gardens. Details on both at my website.