Many people save their money and plan for the day when they get to build their dream home. It’s fun to select the ideal location while poring over potential floor plans and models. This is also a time when you can choose some smart options that are more than just fashionable. Planning for an energy efficient luxury home can save you a fortune over the long haul. Plus, you help conserve resources and keep a cleaner natural environment for your children and their children. Saving that kind of money and doing good can also be quite stylish!
The Energy Efficient Luxury Home is “Smart”
Homes are getting smarter, as Fast Company and others have proclaimed. Smart devices play an important role in energy efficiency and thereby, costs.
New thermostats do much more than turning on and off to regulate the temperature. Now they can detect if people are home or even which part of the home they are in. They record the energy usage and your lifestyle patterns. That data help tailor your energy use. It will also help you make adjustments from a remote location via your phone.
Many of the energy options below can be used in combination with smart devices to regulate your home energy use.
Energy Efficient Choices
More options are available all the time, it seems, for an energy efficient luxury home. Learn about several of them below:
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Geothermal HVAC units rely on a “loop” that runs four to six feet into the earth below the house. The systems takes advantage of the relatively constant underground temperatures. Fluid runs through the loop to bring warm air up, then compressing it to heat the home, or to remove warm air from the home for cooling. The unit’s fan, compressor, and pump.typically run on electricity. According to National Geographic, “Geothermal systems require little maintenance. When installed properly, which is critical, the buried loop can last for generations.” These systems are not new but they have become more popular as demand for alternative energy increases.
Placing electricity-producing photovoltaic panels on a roof has been done for decades. The basic concepts haven’t changed a lot, but the technology has improved and prices have come down in recent years. Some people mistakenly believe that solar power works only when the sun is shining. Actually, solar systems are becoming more and more efficient at storing energy for later use.
Typical panels on roofs can be positioned strategically so they are not seen from the street. In North America, you could position them in the back of a north-facing house. However, attitudes toward solar panels’ appearance are changing and people don’t necessarily dismiss them as “ugly” anymore. What’s more, manufacturers like Tesla are working to create panels that look just like ordinary roof tiles, as CNN reported. Several styles are available now and more, like a Spanish tile version, are being developed for 2018. They are made of tempered glass and are rated to withstand hail (class 4) damage.
Solar installations last, nearly maintenance-free, for decades. The panels are strong and need only some occasional cleaning.
In many rural and windy parts of the country, in ecology-focused television commercials and stock photography, large electricity-generating windmills spin in the background. Those commercial, utility powering windmills have smaller counterparts suitable for your energy efficient luxury home. Home Power magazine explains the importance of hiring a qualified wind-energy installer. There are many complications and obstacles.
Do a lot of research. Many companies who developed this technology over the past decade or two have closed or at least shut down the related division. There is a lot of misinformation and fraud. Some people are also concerned with potential harm to wildlife like birds and bats.
Combined Heating and Power is an option you may not find familiar. Imagine that you have a small power plant on your property. With one fuel, this device generates electrical power for heat and a byproduct of the process is that it also creates heat. So that heat is captured for use. There are different options for Micro CHP fuels. Natural gas and propane are two clean-burning fuel options. Another option that is more complicated, is a fuel cell.
If you have access to a running water supply on your property, then you can consider a very clean and efficient option. A small generator is turned by the flowing water. If the flow is adequate and constant, this can be one of the most efficient solutions!
A Living of Green Roof
If you really want to get in touch with nature, add more green to your residence. Imagine plants like grass, succulents or other appropriate varieties growing on your roof.
A living roof provides excellent insulation and shade. This North Carolina-based green roof supplier offers many options and styles. You need a section of roof that is nearly flat, more common in the Southwest and West Coast. All roofs need a slight grade, around ¼” per foot, to help retain rainwater long enough to support plant growth.
Some solutions use regular soil and others use a specific planting medium designed for this purpose. The plants, the medium, the water contained and the containers can get heavy. Hire a qualified structural engineer to work this out. Causing damage isn’t an efficient solution.
A Pendragon Energy Efficient Home
Pendragon Homes work with you to create your dream home. We can help you explore some of these energy efficient options as well! Take a look at the house we built for Mike and Pam. Their dream was to create a home that paid homage to the King’s Arms Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia.
In addition to the beautiful historical design, we also used nuwool insulation and a geothermal heating and cooling system. This family can live in the home of their dreams and also save on the costs of keeping it comfortable all year long.