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  • Terell Brown, MBA

Why It's Important to Use Energy Efficient Building Materials

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

If you have the chance to build your own home from the ground up, you are lucky for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that you have the opportunity to select every detail of your home. Have you ever lived in a home where you loved almost everything, but wished the kitchen cabinets were different? Or the living room was a little bigger? When you build your own home, you have the chance to design everything yourself. You also have the opportunity to make it as energy efficient as possible. Although energy efficient homes have become more popular, they tend to be overlooked mainly because a lot of people don’t know much about them.


While energy efficient homes might seem expensive up front, they end up saving you money over time by reducing energy use and cutting monthly energy payments. Energy efficient homes are also more comfortable when it comes to climate and increases the resale value should you ever choose to sell.


Years ago, when energy efficient homes first began being built, it was difficult and costly. Fortunately, technological advancements in building materials and construction techniques have made the building process of an energy efficient home less challenging and way more affordable to the average homeowner. We have some materials and considerations that will help you build your dream energy efficient home.


Site Location


While we would love to say any home can run off solar power, this is not true. If you are planning to build a solar-powered home, the south side of the house should have an unobstructed view of the sun. It might be easy to look at the site location and see that the home is covered in sun at the moment, but how will it look ten years from now? Are there trees that will grow over time and block the sun? Will there be a home or other development built in the surrounding area that will prevent access to the rays? Most people do not know the answer to these critical questions, which is where the help of a professional comes in.


Thermal Mass Materials


Thermal mass materials are an essential design element for any energy-efficient form. This type of material is dense and heavy, which works to absorb and store significant amounts of heat. It also is a good heat conductor which allows heat to flow in and out and has a dark or textured surface which helps it absorb and re-radiate heat. Your home builder must use thermal mass materials to help absorb and store heat energy. Some materials with a high thermal mass include water, stone, brick, and concrete. Your builder should stay clear of steel, wood, and carpeting, which have a low thermal mass.


Continuous Insulation


Another essential design component of an energy efficient home is continuous insulation. The purpose of continuous insulation is to stop thermal bridging, which is a section of a wall that allows heat and energy to flow through it at a higher rate than the surrounding area. Continuous insulation also prevents and stops air leakage, which will save homeowners money and energy when it comes to ventilation costs and cooling expenses. According to ASHRAE 90.1, an energy efficient home cannot be built without continuous insulation.

If you are looking for a rapidly renewable, sustainable resource that is an alternative for cabinetry and floor wood, you should also consider bamboo plywood. Bamboo plywood adds a touch of elegance to any home, and it is all natural and harmless to the environment. Another plus is that it is as easy to work with as hardwood and laminates.


Low-E Windows


Who doesn’t like great windows? They provide natural light and make spaces seem more open. Unfortunately, people have started to cover up windows more to reduce energy costs when there are windows out there like Low-E Windows. These allow you to enjoy everything a window has to offer while still reducing energy costs.


These windows have been around since the 1980s, but it wasn’t until recent advancement that they have begun to gain traction in home building. The coating on Low-E Windows acts as an insulator that prevents heat from escaping to the outdoors. In the warmer seasons, these windows will direct sunlight away, which will allow you to maintain cooler temperatures when it is hot out.


The most obvious benefit of these Low-E Windows is the tremendous amount of money you will continuously save on energy bills. They will also save you money in construction costs, and you will see a higher return on investment. Additionally, these windows prevent air leakage, resist condensation, and offset solar heat gains. Whether you are building your home from the ground up or remodeling a house, these windows are an excellent investment.

As you can see, there are many benefits to an energy efficient home, and they are the path for the future. If you are unfamiliar with energy efficient homes or home building at all, this is where the help of a professional works to your advantage.


At Garrison for Veterans, we want to help people build energy efficient homes with the right materials. Energy efficient homes remain uncharted waters for many people, and we would like to answer all the questions you may have and inform you of things you may not know to ask. Garrison for Veterans develops smart, high-tech buildings with a sustainable footprint. We can help you turn your dreams into reality. For more information about energy-efficient homes or how we can help you, contact us today.

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