Home Green Home: Energy Efficient House Plans

Energy efficient house plans were given a serious thought during the gigantic oil crisis of the mid 1970s. It is during this crunch that the price of gasoline rose by more than 56% to hit the 74.9 cents a gallon mark.

Apart from energy efficiency, designers of green houses put great emphasis on durability, cost, comfort and maintenance of the final structure. Credit: Jeremy Levine

Energy efficiency interventions in home construction are usually implemented under the following three categories:

  • The control of heat loss and heat gain by using improved windows and door designs, vapor barriers, insulation, sealing and caulking
  • The use of free and renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar.
  • Optimum use of procured energy sources such as heat pumps, HVAC systems and hot water systems.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency interventions in home construction are usually implemented under the following three categories:

  • The control of heat loss and heat gain by using improved windows and door designs, vapor barriers, insulation, sealing and caulking.
  • The use of free and renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar.
  •  Optimum use of procured energy sources such as heat pumps, HVAC systems and hot water systems.

The energy efficiency capacity of modular homes has been of particular interest to proponents of energy efficient building practices. This is primarily because energy efficiency is synonymous with modular homes.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), modular homes are increasingly gaining popularity all across the country as more and more Americans take it upon themselves to reduce the national carbon foot print and save the planet in their own small way.

The Energy Star Homes

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a federal program—the Energy Star Initiative in conjunction with the Department of Energy (DOE) that seeks to promote the adoption of improved energy efficiency standards during the construction of new homes.

According to the DOE, new owners of Energy Star houses stand to realize energy savings in the region of 30% or more if they adopt energy efficient house plans from the very beginning. The same can be achieved during the renovation of an existing building.

According to the United States Department of Energy, the construction of an energy efficient house should incorporate both passive and active elements. A solar water heater makes for a good example of an active element. Passive elements on the other hand may include the roof overhang design which plays a critical role in the exclusion of the hot summer sun and the letting in of the-much-needed sun rays during winter and the home orientation on the lot with respect to the sun.

Advances in wall construction and materials have seen the development of cost-effective exterior walls that do not compromise the structural integrity of the house. Credit: Jeremy Levine

Advances in Techniques and Materials

Advanced framing techniques eliminate the use of unnecessary wood and replace the wood with additional insulation. Reduced energy costs can also be realized through a well-designed roof. The use of raised heel trusses instead of rafters provides enough room for insulation which translates to extensive energy savings.

Advances in wall construction and materials have seen the development of cost-effective exterior walls that do not compromise the structural integrity of the house. This wall performs far much better than the standard insulated two by six wall. The latest heating and cooling equipment are an integral part of energy efficient house plans.

These systems are capable of reducing the annual energy cost by an impressive 50 to 70% when properly installed. They include geothermal heat pumps, night flush cooling systems, air-to-water heat pumps and radiant floor heating. Apart from energy efficiency, reputable contractors of green houses lay great emphasis on durability, cost, comfort and maintenance of the final structure.


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  1. The house plans offers a unique variety of professionally designed home plans with floor plans by accredited home designers.

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