Building an energy-efficient home might sound like something you read about in the glossy pages of magazines that showcase only the homes of the rich and famous. Important terms like energy efficiency and eco-friendly need to come up in conversations between designers and builders far more often than they are at the moment – and don’t fret, you don’t need to be a celeb to afford to take those terms seriously.
Energy efficiency doesn’t mean that you have to live off the grid either, embracing a life of fire-warmed beans and 30-second showers. All it means is that you need to pay close attention to the amount of energy your household consumes, and then cut back or convert to renewable sources where possible.
The bottom line is that for mankind to undo some of the atrocities of the past, we have to make sacrifices and learn to live differently – which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Being responsible with your energy choices should be empowering, after all – if not us, then who?
Below are eight tips for building an energy-efficient home without breaking the bank:
Straight off the bat, if you think that energy efficiency is all about saving money – you’re in the wrong place, both in terms of this article and in terms of your headspace. While it is true that the more renewable power you use, the less it will cost to run – but it’s not the be-all and end-all of why we need sustainable homes.
Plan your build carefully and meticulously, retrofitting energy-efficient systems and appliances isn’t impossible but it can be a bit of a mission. Decide what you want to achieve and centre your building plans around those goals.
One of the biggest things many people don’t seem to get about energy-saving initiatives is that they aren’t meant to be a workaround for traditional methods. Reducing your wasted energy consumption is vital. Every household on this planet needs to take a long and hard look at where and how they waste energy, particularly energy sourced in an old-fashioned way.
For this to work you need to commit yourself and your family toward a goal that benefits the greater good. Use energy more efficiently and in smarter ways, and then commit to a sustainable goal plan that you can strive to achieve.
For example, don’t commit to halving your electricity usage – instead, commit to reducing it by 25% within three months. That is achievable if you are dedicated to the cause.
The initial costs of building a home that is mindful around energy consumption will not come cheap, but it is more affordable than you might think. After a few Google searches and calls to the experts, you will soon have an idea of what your dream eco-home will cost you. Keep in mind, that it isn’t all about the cost – think of the world you’ll be leaving behind for your grandchildren one day. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money and rest easy knowing that you’ve reduced your footprint as much as possible?
Once you know what you want, whether it be solar power, hydropower or wind power, the next step is to turn those plans and dreams into reality. Deploying a build of mass magnitude is only possible with enough financial backing, but keep in mind that Washington green energy incentives are there to make deploying such an impactful project all the sweeter.
Sit down with your designers, architects, and builders and create a strategy to incorporate your energy goals into your building plans. Look for experts that have worked with builds like this before – their experience will speak volumes when you need it.
Once you’ve built the energy-efficient home of your dreams, don’t stop there. Carve out a week of each year after your build to go through your initiatives and compile a list of what needs tweaking or replacing.
Energy efficiency is a constantly evolving subject, and every year that passes brings new and exciting ways to use less. Smarter energy consumption is a wholly underrated subject, so evaluate your build as time passes.
Once you’ve figured out ways to be better, you need to do better. Make the necessary adjustments and tweaks as identified in the step above. Those adjustments could include replacing your appliances with more energy-efficient versions or upgrading your solar system as new technological advances reshape the face of energy usage.
There is little to no point in undertaking this exercise unless you are serious about mindful energy consumption. For humans to change we require evolving, and only when our minds have evolved beyond a constant desire to consume and destroy will we finally achieve what is needed.
Saving the planet is about so much more than simply recycling your milk cartons. Use this time to ensure that your family are mindful of their energy consumption and usage habits; often, the smallest changes are the hardest to make.
The way you choose to build your energy-efficient home will go way beyond the planning and implementing stage. After the installations have all been completed – and long after your designers and building team have left, you’ll be handed the responsibility of maintaining your chosen initiatives.
Maintenance could be in the form of cleaning, trimming, and pruning areas around your solar panels or something as simple as replacing a deep-cycle battery. Nothing worth having in this world doesn’t require some form or another of TLC and maintenance.
Draw up checklists and go through them as and when required to check on the performance of your sustainable systems. Some things need to be checked at least once a year, but others should be checked monthly – such as energy consumption.
To live better and more sustainably, we need to think harder – and by now that is something we should all be more than capable of understanding and achieving.