Save a Boatload of Cash When Adding Onto or Building a New Home with These Six Tips

A veritable ocean liner of cash savings opportunities await if you consider these six helpful tips when designing a new home addition or a new house:

  1. The Location of the building on the site is the first place that the building can begin to take on characteristics that will affect the use of energy and thereby the cost of running the house. The characteristics of Northern versus Southern light have energy implications, and the building’s relationship to the sun’s location in the sky can assist in determining and affecting energy costs.
  2. The overall shape of the building. Though not necessarily fitting with the style of architecture of your neighborhood, there are shapes and forms of buildings that can accomplish greater energy savings through natural ventilation. We’re not just talking about opening a bunch of windows. What we are talking about is creating an overall wind effect through the careful placement and size of windows and other openings which contribute to the chimney effect of hot air rising. If enough openings are place at strategic locations, it is possible to create a house that is naturally ventilated without the cost of even fans. This method, however, requires a careful degree of study to insure and verify that the chimney effect is present.
  3. Insure that the Architect uses energy assessment tools in order to determine the effectiveness of his design decisions. At our firm, we use Building Information Modeling (BIM) in order to create a 3D model from which energy assessment calculations can be performed.
  4. Placement of landscaping can decrease energy costs. Deciduous trees placed on the southern face of the building allow cooling in the summer, by way of shade, and heating in the winter, by way of the sun shining through the branches of the trees.
  5. Wall design. The insulation or lack thereof in the walls of the building can provide a major source of cash savings. But did you know that the savings is not only related to insulation, but also thermal mass storage? The walls can be used, if designed properly, as a means of storing heat in the winter if their thermal mass efficiency is high enough… think ‘concrete’ verses wood. Did the architect specify a reflective coating for the roof sheathing? More money either saved or lost…
  6. Infiltration.  Typical sources of infiltration (meaning, unconditioned air getting into the building) are doors and windows, but given the entirety of the home, if the building is wrapped in a surface like Tyvek, water and air infiltration is greatly minimized.
By considering these Six money saving ideas, any home owner will be able to reap cash benefits after the construction is finished.

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