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Building a new home comes with a lot of responsibility to choose the right house plans, products, and color selections. You will definitely have your hands full during the planning phase of the project. But don’t focus so much attention on the decorating that miss out on some of the latest energy saving ideas for your new home.
If you don’t work in residential design or construction, you’ve probably never heard this term. Basically, it’s an advanced framing technique that allows us to better insulate a home. Instead of building up a corner with 2×4’s full of wood creating a space that can’t be insulated, we arrange the studs to allow insulation to reach the corner. Remember, wood is not the best insulator.
Raised Heel Truss
Your attic insulation has a certain thickness to it which allows it to trap air and achieve a higher R-value. So, it’s important that your roof framing allows for the proper thickness of insulation in the entire attic. With standard trusses, the roof line comes down toward the exterior wall creating a low clearance area. This can pinch the insulation at the perimeter of the attic leaving an area with reduced R-value. To alleviate this problem, we use what is called a raised heel truss which basically allows the attic insulation to remain at full depths all the way out to the outside edge of the wall.
Homes are built using thousands of different parts. As these parts are put together, cracks, gaps, and holes are created that will reduce energy efficiency for the life of the structure. One way to prevent these air leaks is to draft stop the home while building it. Just after rough mechanicals and just before insulation, the draft stop activity should take place. Using caulk and expandable foam, all openings in exterior walls and interior walls to attics are sealed up to keep the conditioned air inside the home…and the outside air out.
Heat Recovery Ventilator
Because older homes have so many gaps and cracks on outside walls, there is a constant influx of fresh air coming into the home to keep occupants safe. But the new homes being built today are sealed up so well, there is a need to bring fresh air into the home in other ways. A heat recovery ventilator is a great way to do this. Basically, the heat recovery ventilator sucks in cold outside air, allows the inside air being extinguished to circulate around the chamber of incoming air to preheat it before it gets inside the home. This keeps us from having to heat the incoming air from an extremely cold temperature.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the decisions you need to make when building. So be sure to spend enough time planning energy efficiency into your new home because now is the time to do it. You will never again have the easy access that building a new home provides. By including energy efficient into the planning for the home you will reap the benefits of improved comfort and lower utility bills for decades to come.
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