Do You Want To Be Energy Efficient, Sustainable Or Both?

So, you’ve heard the hype, and you want to build an Energy Efficient, sustainable home?

Did you know the difference between those terms?

There is a lot of misinformation around building Energy Efficient homes.

 

One of the first areas is the use of the words Energy Efficient, Sustainable and ‘Eco’.

 

While the three terms work together, they have different meanings, here we have tried to break them down for you.

Energy Efficient

 

This refers to the building performance.  There are a range of ways to achieve the performance levels required to have an Energy Efficient home.  This can include;

 

  • Getting good orientation with the design
  • Using the right materials in the right areas of the home
  • Making good choices with Heating and Cooling needs
  • And using Double Glazing

 

However the term mostly refers to performance and this is measured by two key things

 

  • The rate at which air changes over in the building (measured in Air Changes per Hour, ACH)
  • The thermal performance of the building envelope (essentially, how well the insulation of your home actually works walls, windows, doors and roof spaces)

 

If your builder isn’t using an external auditor to test your new home for ACH and thermal performance they may not be as committed to Energy Efficiency as they make out.

 

Sustainable

 

While building an Energy Efficient home is sustainable because you will have a lower need for electricity and fuel for heating, cooling and lighting, it is possible to build a very unsustainable home that is Energy Efficient.

 

This would  happen where you used a lot of materials like concrete, steel and chemical foams such as EPS, XPS and PIR.

 

Being truly sustainable means using a range of materials such as Hemp Masonry, Strawbale, low chemical paints, rammed earth, bamboo, Ashcrete and Timbercrete in addition to timber framing and minimising the use of concrete and steel.

 

Misconceptions

 

There are plenty of misconceptions about Energy Efficient building.  One of the biggest is the large range of advanced and expensive products on the market claiming highly Energy Efficient outcomes ,some deliver and some don’t.

 

There are also a range of sustainable products out there, that while sustainable are very expensive to build with.

 

So how do you balance all this and try to make the most cost efficient use of both common and advanced materials, all while making sure that you don’t end up with an out of control budget?

 

The trick is by working with an experienced team of architects and builders whose focus is solely on finding the balance between Energy Efficiency, Sustainability and Affordability.

To help you make sure that you don’t get locked into a building contract for your energy efficient home download our guide of 7 things to ask your builder before you sign a contract.

 

Click below to download it today!

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