Energy Planning New Home Construction

In the automotive industry people have been special-ordering vehicles for over half a century. The practice saves the person who wants to buy a car with specific attributes the time of visiting dozens of lots over weeks and maybe even months searching for this car. Even then there's no guarantee that he or she will find one. However, by ordering the car from the factory the right combination of features will be guaranteed.

New home construction is like ordering a vehicle from the factory. A plan is formulated and the home is built based on the features that the buyer has ordered from the contractor. Custom builders prepare the new site along with the home plans and construct the home based on both the buyer's specifications and the building codes of the area.

Build for the Site

One of the biggest mistakes that prospective home builders make is that they don't match the home with the building site. When a development plan is approved there are covenants stating the size and type of home that can be built there. In addition, there are rules about the facing, landscaping and even the placement of the garage. This grand design is so that neighborhood maintains continuity in both sight and atmosphere. However, little attention is paid to forming the home with the land instead of the other way around.

The Sun

Building a home in Minnesota with the main window area facing north might have the same effect on your energy bill as one facing southwest in southern California. A northern exposure for the northern home means that most of the windows are facing away from the sun and the winter is one of the best times for passive solar energy. In the winter, between the hours of 10am and 3pm, the sun is low on the horizon but at the perfect angle for heating up the inside of a home. And if the flooring is tile or stone these materials become thermal storage units that will release heat energy after the sun has gone down. And this subsidizes the heat needed for the home.

Conversely, the last thing a home in the southern areas needs is the sun coming through the windows especially in the summer. A residential builder will suggest that either the southern walls contain few or no windows or that landscapers plant trees there. Why? This is because the heat from the sun counteracts the home's air conditioning system pushing up the power bill.

The Site

Before building a custom home many people will hire and architect to come in and look at the sites they have bought. In one case, a couple loved sailing and so bought ocean front property on a steep slope that led down to a deep inlet. Their architect walked the land and then shocked them by deciding to build the wharf first. As the architect was well-renowned they did not question him but were still apprehensive. After the dock was built the architect sat out on it for a whole day and made sketches. What the prospective home builders received for this odd way of designing was a home built perfectly on the side of the hill. However, the best part was yet to come. When they sailed into the inlet they could gaze up to the wonderful sight of their home perched perfectly over the mooring. In other words the architect knew that the view was from the ocean side so he built the wharf first. In this way he could get the right design where it mattered most. He built the home for the site.

The Landscaping

Another good idea in building for the site is to study the vegetation before breaking ground. Since it takes twenty years for a tree to get to the point where it looks full and mature it is not a good idea to clear-cut the lot and then start landscaping. Besides looking great trees can aid in cutting air conditioning costs and, in northern areas, provide a good windscreen. So before building a new house the construction plans should include which trees will stay and these should be brightly marked beforehand. Natural trees do not need watering nor fertilizing.

Because of the cost and availability of water careful thought should be put into landscaping plans. Rather than plant vast areas of lawn that have to be watered and chemical protected from pests landscapers are looking at native varieties of shrubs. Therefore even if shrubs are taken out during the excavation the landscaping companies have local varieties to put back

New home construction costs may be front-end loaded but the savings in energy and water conservation can be realized over the long term with some careful planning. For more information on finding a new home contractor in you area consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project online and have one or more qualified professionals contract you.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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