DE­SIGN­ING FOR EN­ERGY EF­FI­CIENCY

Timber Home Living - - Product Guide -

En­ergy ef­fi­cient de­sign be­gins with the ba­sics. Here, we share three easy ways to kick-off your ef­fi­cient plan. LO­CA­TION

Cer­tain homes have be­come as­so­ci­ated with var­i­ous re­gions over time, such as the salt­box homes of New Eng­land or the ranch homes of the Mid­west — and with good rea­son. Many of th­ese homes were built specif­i­cally to han­dle the con­di­tions present in that par­tic­u­lar cli­mate. This cli­mate-spe­cific home de­sign — be it win­dow shad­ing from a hot south­ern sun or a steep roof for snow runoff — pro­vides a solid base for to­day’s en­ergy ef­fi­cient fo­cus with­out cost­ing ex­tra. To achieve the right de­sign for your lo­ca­tion, work with an ar­chi­tect who is fa­mil­iar with cli­mate-spe­cific de­sign or ask­ing crit­i­cal ques­tions dur­ing the de­sign phase to en­sure an en­vi­ron­men­tally suit­able home.

ORI­EN­TA­TION

Sure, you want your home to cap­ture the best views. But proper ori­en­ta­tion to take ad­van­tage of the sun for pas­siveso­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties is also a must for any en­ergy ef­fi­cient home. A few good rules of thumb: Avoid west-fac­ing slopes in south­ern cli­mates, be­cause your af­ter­noon sun is re­ally go­ing to heat your house. North­ern clime dwellers, on the other hand, should be con­scious of the di­rec­tion of harsh win­ter winds, per­haps ne­ces­si­tat­ing a south-fac­ing slope. Haven’t bought your prop­erty yet? Con­sider what type of ori­en­ta­tion your po­ten­tial par­cel will af­ford you be­fore mak­ing your pur­chase.

FOOT­PRINT

De­creased square footage is def­i­nitely a fac­tor in dis­turb­ing less of the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment and con­sum­ing fewer ma­te­ri­als, thereby cre­at­ing a more eco-friendly struc­ture. How­ever, you can re­gain some of that square footage by build­ing up­ward in­stead of out. Twos­tory homes not only disturb less land and use less en­ergy to build, they’re also typ­i­cally less ex­pen­sive to build be­cause no ad­di­tional foun­da­tion is needed.

Cre­ative plan­ning can best uti­lize cost-sav­ing heat­ing and cool­ing tech­niques that two-story homes of­fer. Such plans pro­vide a nar­rower foot­print than one-level homes, al­low­ing more sun­light to in­fil­trate a greater num­ber of ar­eas in the home. Zone heat­ing also may be more re­al­is­tic by group­ing to­gether fre­quently used spa­ces in one area rather than across the home. An­other op­tion: plac­ing less-used spa­ces, which re­quire less heat­ing and cool­ing, on the north­ern side of the home to cap­ture more so­lar ben­e­fits in fre­quent hot spots on the south­ern end.

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