Resources: Elements of an Energy-Efficient House

Part 8 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. The following are sources of additional information on energy-efficient houses: The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC) P.O. Box 3048 Merrifield, VA22116 1-800-DOE-EREC (1-800-363-3732) EREC provides free general and technical information to the public on many topics and technologies pertaining to energy efficiency and renewable energy. […]

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Building and Buying

Part 7 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Before you start a home-building project, the building site and its climate should be carefully evaluated to determine the optimum design and orientation for the house. There are energy-related computer software programs that can help with these evaluations. The design should accommodate appropriate insulation levels, moisture dynamics, […]

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Advantages and Disadvantages

Part 6 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Houses that incorporate all of the elements of energy efficiency mentioned in this series of articles have many advantages. They feel more comfortable because the additional insulation keeps the interior wall at a more comfortable and stable temperature. The indoor humidity is also better controlled, and drafts […]

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Energy-Efficient Appliances

Part 5 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Appliances with relatively high operating efficiencies are usually more expensive to purchase. However, higher efficiency appliances provide a measure of insurance against increases in energy prices, emit less air pollution, and are attractive selling points when the home is resold. Home buyers should invest in high-efficiency appliances—such […]

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Heating and Cooling Systems

Part 4 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Specifying the correct sizes for heating and cooling systems in airtight, energy-efficient homes can be tricky. Rule-of-thumb sizing is often inaccurate, resulting in wasteful operation. Conscientious builders and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning contractors size heating and cooling equipment based on careful consideration of the thermal envelope characteristics. […]

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Controlled Ventilation

Part 3 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. Since an energy-efficient house is tightly sealed, it needs to be ventilated in a controlled manner. Controlled, mechanical ventilation prevents health risks from indoor air pollution, promotes a more comfortable atmosphere, and reduces air moisture infiltration, thus reducing the likelihood of structural damage. Furnaces, water heaters, clothes […]

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Thermal Envelope

Part 2 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. A thermal envelope is everything about the house that serves to shield the living space from the outdoors. It includes the wall and roof assemblies, insulation, air/vapor retarders, windows, and weatherstripping and caulking. Wall and Roof Assemblies Most builders use traditional wood frame construction. Wood framing is […]

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Elements of an Energy-Efficient House

Part 1 of Elements of an Energy-Efficient House. You have much to consider when designing and building a new energy-efficient house, and it can be a challenge. However, recent technological improvements in building elements and construction techniques also allow most modern energysaving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into house designs while improving comfort, health, or […]

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