Energy Efficiency by Design

Energy efficiency is the elimination of energy waste by utilizing less energy to perform the same tasks. Energy efficiency has many benefits including improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions & fossil fuel use. Usually, when given advice on energy efficiency, the advice encompasses appliance usage, and plumbing & electrical fixtures. While all of those are helpful to reduce carbon emissions and save money, when put into practice in a home that is not efficiently designed, they become more akin to band-aids than solutions.

The United States has one of the highest carbon emission rates globally, behind only China, which has a billion more people. The other of the top three on the list is India with a population nearly as large as China but with half of the emissions of the United States. Basically the US, a country with 4.27% of the global population emits 15% of the global carbon dioxide load.

So, what does this mean?

It means that Americans have very high personal carbon emission rates. A great percentage of these emissions originate in the home and thus can be mitigated in the home. Besides the larger implications of reducing carbon emissions, the reduction has personal implications as well. In a modern home, energy efficiency begins from the bare ground up. It starts with a responsible building site, materials management, and even earlier; during the design process itself.

Many homes are considered one-size-fits-all and a building plan is put on a lot and built with no consideration of geographical factors. But, in order to gain the most out of your lot and your modern house, it is important to take into account the home’s relation to the sun, existing trees and natural formations and the climate of the area. This will inform decisions made on the directions certain rooms are facing, window locations & sizes for the best utilization of light & temperature control. Not all modern architects and modern builders will adhere to this process. It’s important to do your research and ask the right questions to find one that will create an energy conscious contemporary home.

The size of the home is an important factor for energy efficiency as well. We have been conditioned to think bigger is better; we need the space for all of our stuff, for a spacious home, for a family to grow. But, unless you are holding a dance class in your living room, having a cavernous space isn’t truly necessary to fulfill those requirements. A smaller modern home, properly designed will not feel small. A well designed layout will reduce the footprint of the home and the initial construction budget. The efficient and thoughtful use of space and effective placement of windows reduces not only the initial building cost, but the volume of air that needs to be heated and cooled which is a major factor in on-going energy consumption. This can be a modern alternative to the new trend of contemporary tiny home construction that adequately deals with these issues.

Whether your reasons are global or personal or both, having an energy efficient modern home design will save you money and improve your air quality. Energy efficiency in your modern home will greatly decrease needless energy waste, your carbon emissions, and decrease your utility bills.