There are a lot more options available today in regards to energy efficient homes. Breakthroughs in energy efficient windows and doors, appliances, and building materials go a long way to making homes more efficient and sustainable. The layout of the house can have a big impact on how energy-efficient it is, as well. Below, we’ll discuss some of the design features to consider when planning for an energy-efficient home.
Just the home’s orientation on the lot can make a big difference. For example, it makes sense to locate the kitchen in the coldest corner of the house (usually the northeast corner), since the kitchen produces heat. That will help balance the temperature levels with the rest of the home. In addition, if you are able to put windows on the east wall of the kitchen, morning sunlight could bring a little warmth and brightness in the early hours. Having large windows on the southern side of the house can allow for the low angled winter sun to warm the home. Incorporating an overhang or using awnings can prevent the high summer sun from making things too hot.
Home plans that use a compact footprint can be much more energy efficient. Smaller homes use less energy to both heat and cool, and are often more affordable to build, as well as maintain.
Take advantage of passive heating opportunities. Having a large, well-placed window on the south side of the home is only half of the equation. Using natural materials to store that passive heat, such as stone tiles and brickwork can help keep the room warm once the sun has left.