A Custom Home Builder and Architect who are well versed in Smart Design
Your first step to building a energy efficient custom home is vetting a home builder and/or architect that has knowledge and experience building Smart homes. You can normally get a general understanding of this when first meeting with a future builder. If they have experience with energy efficient building, they will like discuss the below topics to consider. Maximizing a homes efficiency takes many steps and decisions that contribute to the overall design of the house. We will touch on the most important factors to take into consideration when building or outfitting an existing home to ensure it is energy efficient. It may seem like a daunting task, but small steps and simple material choices make a huge difference when it comes to the design and efficiency of your home.
If you want to learn more about our Luxury Home building and see our past projects, head to our Luxury Home & Cottage page.
Window Placement and Treatments
The first steps in designing a Smart Home from the ground up comes during the design phase. Working with a custom home builder and architect that understand the importance of window placement. The passive use of heat from the sun can go a long ways in heating your home during the cold months. A skilled architect will understand where to strategically place windows in order to maximize passive heat from the sun.
However important heating a home in an energy efficient way is, keeping it cool in the summer months is equally important. This is where window treatments come into play. There are countless products that can be used to keep the heat out during the summer months. The designs of these products have significantly advanced in the last decade, as Smart Home design has grown in popularity. There are different automation options and also the traditional manual window treatments. The range of styles, prices and features is vast. Choosing ones that suit your homes interior and your lifestyle needs should be an easy process and will make the world of a difference!
Windows and Doors
Choosing windows and doors that are energy efficient is a crucial step in ensuring your whole home is efficient. Heat and air loss are huge contributing factors to the overuse of energy in your home. Not only will this make your home more secure, hold heat and cool air better, but will also lower your monthly costs significantly. Most windows and doors on the market now have some sort of energy efficiency built into them. There are higher rated ones that are more expensive, but it is an investment that is worth making in the long run, if possible.
The windows and doors themselves make a huge difference, but the installation of them is very important as well. Making windows and doors air tight and ensuring that they are appropriately insulated on every side is the final step to creating a more efficient home. If the product isn’t installed properly, then it is prevented from positively impacting your homes efficiency to its full potential.
Insulation and Weather Proofing
During the building process of a custom home, the insulation, roof & wall sheathing, and weather proofing is the most important step in building an efficient home envelope. The home builder you choose will likely have a company that they have used in the past and will recommend for things like insulation and sheathing. Trusted trades ensure that they have experience, expertise and the product is high quality.
We often recommend Huber ZIP Systems for our clients. It provides unparalleled weather proofing, insulation and an air tight home envelope. There are other manufactures on the market that offer similar products. These strategic steps taken during the building process will pay off tenfold during your time living in your home. Below is a home that we recently built during the installation of ZIP Systems. It seals the homes exterior, ensuring that the interior is weather proofed, insulated and air tight.
Spray foam insulation is the more efficient option to go with if you are looking to optimize your homes energy envelope. This type of insulation provides air tight seals and fills in small cracks, holes or any other area that could potentially let heat or cool air out.
If you are interested in learning more about Huber ZIP systems, you can read more here.
Heating and Cooling Systems
Moving to the interior of your home, a significant step towards creating a energy efficient home is choosing the right heating and cooling systems. In Canada, we see colder weather for the majority of the year. Heating systems are critical to the overall efficiency of your home. Systems like geothermal heat pumps have grown significantly in popularity, making them more affordable and accessible over the years. In the colder months, geothermal heat pumps uses the warmth from the ground collected by the sun, condenses it and heats your home with this energy.
Geothermal heat pumps can also be used in the warmer summer months to dump the heat from your home into the earth. It is essentially reversing the process of what it does to heat your home during the winter months. Systems like geothermal heat pumps and standard split heat pumps are much more efficient in comparison to gas furnaces and boiler systems. Speak to your custom home builder/contractor to go over all the possible options for your home.
Radiant floor heating is another way that you can warm your home during the cold months more efficiently. There are a few different types of in floor heating that can be explored when designing your home. The most efficient system that we recommend to homeowners looking for a Smart Home design is water under floor heating. It is the most effective if you are doing it throughout your whole home. In smaller, most specific spaces like kitchens or bathrooms electric in floor heating is also a great option. Different systems will seem more appealing depending on the homeowners needs and wants.
If you’re interested in learning more about Geothermal Heat Pumps, you can read about them here.