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4 Key Factors for Designing an Energy Efficient House

While until the recent past energy was treated as a fixed cost, a bill to pay at the end of each month, it has nowadays become the epicenter of an evolving reality, where the preservence and protection of the environment take center stage and create a fertile ground for building, constructing and redesigning energy efficient houses.

Any house, or building in general, regardless of when it was built, can be energy efficient. Older constructions can be upgrated and improve their energy saving levels, while new constructions can follow standards, which will allow them to be more cost-effective and kinder to environment by lowering the energy consumption and shrinking their carbon footprint.

Germany, France, Sweden and Switzerland were the first countries to introduce the construction of energy efficient houses back in the 90’s. It all began when mechanical engineers and construction experts started to link the energy losses of buildings to poor thermal insulation, irregular shapes, poor positioning and lack of efficient water and energy use, which resulted in environmental pollution due to high energy consumption. 

Nowadays, in most countries of the world the requirements to increase the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce the carbon emissions in the construction industry have become one of the most important objects of state regulation.

With the technology and knowledge available today, there are 4 key factors to implement and integrate into the design and build stages of your house to make it truly energy efficient.

“We are strong supporters of energy efficiency. The question is: what is the most appropriate way of doing it?”

Ed Davey

Energy efficient design: “Passive” and “Active” Houses

When researching energy efficient homebuilding methods, it is possible you have come across the term “Passive House”.  It is a house building method, originating in Germany during the 90’s, which provides the effect of “thermos” due to its closed heating system and recuperative ventilation. The house, therefore, emits little heat and provides a stable (and comfortable to live in) temperature in the house throughout the year minimizing the building’s reliance on energy consumption.

“Active house” is the next step in the development of “passive house”, as it can produce on its own all the electricity and hot water it needs for the needs of its tenants. Solar panels, tankless water heaters, and even solar power stations, are installed in order to convert the solar energy and heat of the earth into hot water ready for domestic use. 

Insulation & Air-tightness

Regardless of the building method you choose to follow, it is important to ensure a high level of air-tightness by properly insulating your space. Both internal and external insulation have as main objective to reduce energy consumption and total energy demand for heating or cooling by increasing the thermal resistance of the building. 

Thus, insulation and air-tightness provide a stable indoor climate, enhanced comfort and a healthier and more relaxing environment to live in, which requires less energy to maintain.

Natural Lighting & Orientation

When beginning to design an energy efficient house, always rely on building orientation and solar design.

Natural lighting provides better economic and energy consumption in building energy. Therefore, the orientation of the building relative to the sun path has to be taken into consideration as it will determine how much sunlight the house will receive.

Windows, skylights and glass-paneled doors are crucial components, in order to benefit from both the sun’s light and heat. 

Energy efficient lighting & appliances

Another factor of energy consumption are the appliances and lighting devices used in the house. Therefore, once you have considered its design and plan, it is important to put some equally serious thought into the equipment, which will serve you on a daily basis. 

Replace lighting fixtures and bulbs with more energy efficient and eco-friendly ones, such as the LED lights. Additionally, when it comes to the choice of devices opt for those with the lowest electricity consumption and make sure that you upgrade any old or outdated equipment , whose technology may no longer be up to the “green” standards.

“What we need to do is really improve energy efficiency standards, develop in full scale renewable and alternative energy and use the one resource we have in abundance, our creativity.”

Lois Capps

The benefits of an energy efficient house are multiple and they can easily be translated into lower energy consumption and costs, better environment, and comfortable living, for those who live within it and to the community-at-large.

At ANICON. we design and construct energy efficient houses with an enhanced focus on better design and quality construction practices and we are at your disposal to discuss the needs of your building project over an hour of free consultation with our specialists.

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