Important Design Considerations for Energy Efficient Homes

Important Design Considerations for Energy Efficient Homes

Exerpt from:  DOE Building America Best Practices Series: Volume 4 – Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in the Mixed-Humid Climate

Mixed-Humid Design Features

Diagram of an energy-efficient house designA. Efficient Windows: help to control and reduce ultraviolet light that can fade carpets and furniture, helping to keep your belongings looking like new and keeping window areas cooler and more comfortable to sit near. Window flashing protects against water leaks.

B. Compact and Tightly Sealed Duct Runs: shorter runs mean less to go wrong and fewer air leaks to put air where it is intended to go, with fewer contaminants like humidity and dust from attics or crawlspaces. Leaky ducts are a major contributor to mold problems. Return air paths ensure balanced air pressure for less drafts and more balanced temperatures throughout the house. Put ducts in conditioned space,
if possible.

C. Right-Sized and High-Efficiency HVAC Equipment: costs less to install than bigger equipment, saves energy, and is designed to comfortably handle heating and cooling loads. (more…)

Pre-qualified Home Plans

Pre-qualified home plans are blueprints designed to earn the ENERGY STAR® name, and incorporate energy-efficient practices and Energy Star Programspecifications to meet the rigorous ENERGY STAR guidelines set by the EPA.

To qualify, a plan is independently reviewed and verified by a team of professionals, an architect or engineer and a HERS rater, to include energy-saving features and construction practices that will result in a home that is at least 20–30 percent more energy efficient than a standard home. (more…)

Green Building – Advanced Framing

Advanced Framing

Advanced framing is a key component of green building and value engineering.

There are a variety of advanced framing techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated throughout the construction of a wood-framed house.

These techniques include:
  • Designing homes on 2-foot modules to make the best use of common sheet good sizes and reduce waste and labor.
  • Spacing wall studs up to 24 inches on-center.
  • Spacing floor joists and roof rafters up to 24 inches on-center.
  • Using two-stud corner framing and inexpensive drywall clips or scrap lumber for drywall backing instead of studs.
  • Eliminating headers in non-load-bearing walls.
  • Using in-line framing in which floor, wall, and roof framing members are vertically in line with one another and loads are transferred directly downward.
  • Using single lumber headers and top plates when appropriate. (more…)

Green Building

Green building is the process of being environmentally-responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycleGreen building from siting to design: construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation (more…)