Maximizing Energy Efficiency in New Build Homes: A Guide for Homeowners

If you're planning to design and build a new home or perform an extensive remodel on an existing one, optimizing the home's energy efficiency requires a whole-house systems approach. This strategy takes into account the interaction between insulation and other building components to ensure that all variables, details, and interactions that affect energy use in your home are considered. State and local building codes typically include minimum insulation requirements, but your energy efficient home is likely to exceed those requirements. To maximize energy efficiency, you may want to consider designing an ultra-efficient home or buying a new Energy Star home or a home prepared for zero energy emissions.

Investing in more efficient heating and cooling systems is also recommended to keep utility bills low. Building codes currently require new high-efficiency HVAC systems with a minimum SEER rating of 13 (“SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”). However, a SEER rating of 15 or more will increase your energy investments even more. For more information about your state's building code standards, contact the building code officials in your city or county.

If you're building in a temperate climate, for example, you may not need to work as hard to insulate the house. As a trusted homebuilder serving Central Alabama, Lowder New Homes strives not only to meet these codes, but also to exceed them with a series of standard energy efficiency features in every home it builds, as well as improvement opportunities that can help homebuyers save even more. Whether you want to build from scratch, remodel a home, or buy a home that is already energy efficient, some key design elements are essential to any truly green home. Here are some key steps that contractors take to ensure that new homes are as energy efficient as possible:

  • Choose sustainable building materials such as reclaimed wood or natural stone.
  • Invest in Energy Star appliances.
  • Install higher-quality insulation.
  • Consider even more efficient construction options to reduce energy consumption.
For newly built homes, contractors must pass on the additional cost of any Energy Star appliances, higher-quality insulation, or sustainable materials used in the home, which can significantly increase the average cost of building a new home.

The cost of heating, cooling and lighting a home can be especially impactful for first-time homebuyers, as they may be more used to having fewer square feet. Whether you're building a new home or looking to improve your current one, investing in energy efficient upgrades can have real value. Choose a team of local construction professionals who are familiar with building energy efficient homes in your area. Creating an energy-efficient new build home is an important step towards reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on utility bills.

To maximize the efficiency of your new build or remodel project, it's important to consider all aspects of the design process from choosing sustainable materials to investing in high-efficiency HVAC systems. Working with experienced local contractors who understand the importance of energy efficiency can help ensure that your project meets all applicable building codes and exceeds them with additional features that will help you save money and reduce your environmental impact.