Home Energy Efficiency
The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) helps building and design professionals design and build homes and multifamily buildings that meet today’s cutting-edge standards for performance. We have expertise and experience in high performance multifamily projects, many of which are affordable housing projects. CET also works on high performance single-family homes, including Net Zero and Passive House.
We are passionate about reducing energy use. Building efficient homes is critical because the residential sector in the U.S. accounts for about 21% of the total energy consumption. The majority of this energy consumption comes from heating and cooling. When homes are “leaky” – meaning they lose energy due to lack of insulation or air-sealing – heating and cooling them becomes inefficient. Not only do these inefficient homes drive up energy consumption, resulting in higher energy bills, but they are also less comfortable.
It might be shocking to know that over 44% of homes in the U.S. were built before 1970, most of which are not very efficient due to a lack of insulation. Due to stricter building codes, home certification programs, utility programs, and a growing interest in greener buildings, home energy efficiency has improved over the years. While high performance homes might still be the minority of the housing stock, their popularity is growing.
Through the implementation of such best practices, building new, energy efficient homes can consume roughly 30-40% less energy than older homes. Improving insulation, and adding air sealing measures, can save homeowners around 15% on heating and cooling costs. Energy efficient homes can result in lower energy bills, add comfort to a space, and have a lower environmental impact.
The New Build Process
Chad Baker, an environmentally conscious homeowner, understood the impact that building an energy efficient home can have. Starting in 2018, Chad worked with CET’s High Performance Building team to construct and obtain an energy rating for his new home. It started with a consult on how to achieve a high efficiency home. “CET helped by guiding us through the necessary steps to achieve the most energy efficient home possible” said Chad. Our High Performance Building team helped with the construction, as well as more internal components such as lighting, heating, and the hot water system.
No longer wanting to be reliant on fossil fuels, Chad decided to get his new build energy rated. Another reason for building an energy efficient home and obtaining an energy rating was for monetary purposes. He noted that the build was “costly up front, but lower in the long run.” While the sticker price was expensive, the initial investment has paid off since his monthly bills are practically nonexistent now. Chad mentioned that the most exciting part is achieving a net-zero carbon footprint, which is why his electrical bills are so low now. He has been able to achieve such a low footprint and monthly bill due to the installation of solar panels. *
For other homeowners who are looking into constructing an energy efficient home, Chad shares that he wished he had done more research on all the rebates available. These rebates could have saved him some extra money, such as one for a mini split that had to be applied to prior to construction. He also recommends being vigilant when it comes to the selection of windows and doors. Chad was careful to choose highly rated ENERGY STAR doors and windows; ones that would reflect the heat from the direct sun, but still allow plenty of natural light to come in. CET owns and operates a reuse store, EcoBuilding Bargains, which sells reclaimed building materials at discounted prices. EcoBuilding Bargains has a wide variety of doors and windows in stock.
Inspired? Contact us to get started in making your home energy efficient today! Call 413-586-7350 x242 or use our Contact Form.
*CET does not currently have a program that helps with the installation or funding of solar panels