By Matt Strahl
From cabinets to countertops, those building new homes have plenty of decisions to make. Some of those decisions go beyond the surface, affecting how comfortable you’ll be in your new home – and could lower your long-term energy use, saving money on utility bills. If you plan to build a new home, here are some energy efficiency upgrades that can add up to savings:
The things you don’t see matter the most: You may not see them, but double-stud walls, insulated concrete forms, spray foam and caulk are all high-performance components of an energy efficient home. Because you’re stuck with your walls for the life of the home, getting their performance optimized pays dividends year after year in energy savings. Thicker, well insulated and air sealed walls not only reduce your heating and cooling costs; they can make the home feel more comfortable.
Heat pumps: What can’t they do in a new home? Bigger homes can benefit from the top-of-the-line efficiency of geothermal heat pumps to heat and cool a new home. Cold climate heat pumps are a new spin on traditional air source heat pumps that keep on pumping in sub-zero temperatures. Heat pump water heaters are a great addition to a new basement, providing affordable hot water and the bonus of free dehumidification in the summer.
Wired to go: Constructing a new home is the perfect time to consider future possibilities. Would you ever add solar panels? Drive an electric vehicle? Solar panels and EV chargers require unique set-ups that can be more costly to add to a home later. By adding wiring as the home is constructed, you can more easily add solar panels or an EV later (and it could make your home appealing should you decide to sell).
Building a new home can be an exciting process but there’s a lot to consider. By planning for energy efficiency upgrades, you can help lower your home’s long-term energy costs and stay comfortable for many years to come.
MATT STRAHL is the energy advisor at NineStar Connect in Greenfield, Indiana.