Energy efficiency can be a very broad subject. So, to make the topic more easily understood in this blog, I will break out different systems and areas of the typical residential home so that we can understand how each system or area affects the overall efficiency of the structure. This blog entry will focus on what the breakdown of sectors and systems will be and how each will affect the homes’ efficiency, individually and overall.
An excellent method is the whole house approach which tries to take into account all of those areas and systems into one cohesive system. A breakdown of the areas included in this approach are listed below:
– Site conditions
– Climate (regional and local)
– Appliance selection
– Insulation & air sealing
– Lighting & daylighting
– Heating & cooling
All of these various areas will affect the home by reducing the maintenance and utilities of the home, increase comfort, reduce noise, provide a healthier and safer environment, and improve the durability and longevity of the home; or not based on one’s understanding and subsequent selection of systems and products in each area.
Based on your regional and local climate and access to various types of energy sources, i.e. electricity, oil, natural gas, etc… your heating and cooling systems will vary greatly. Also, state and local codes will mandate or constrain certain types of construction methods and/or other system or envelope requirements. We will go over each system type, but it is important to research and understand the codes by which you will be held.
Once you have researched your local requirements, you can begin the education and selection process. Again, the energy.gov website created by the federal government provides information based on region/state and, subsequently, system type and product information which can be a useful tool.
Here in Colorado, you can visit the National Association of State Energy Officials where you can get more helpful information for our state specifically. http://www.naseo.org/members-state?State=CO