Building and Retrofitting Terms for Efficient Homes


As buildings currently account for approximately half of the world’s energy use, sustainability comes up as a significant keyword for home construction  nowadays.

While achieving the perfect sustainable house or renovating an older home for greater energy efficiency may be both challenging and expensive, it would ultimately reduce energy costs in the long run. With that in mind, here are a few terms and concepts about retrofitting buildings for greater efficiency:

  • Insulation 

Choosing how much insulation to add to the house can be confusing. This can be influenced by the way the house was constructed or by the owner’s budget. Several options for a well-insulated house can range from specially insulated exterior walls to blown-in cellulose, energy-reflecting cool roof systems or even roof and interior attic foam insulation. A well insulated house can take advantage of environmental factors to keep the temperature constant and comfortable.

  • Windows

Improved glass performance can substantially save heating and cooling inside the house. Depending on your residential climate conditions, various glass features can be added to better save energy. For instance, if you live in a hot climate, applying low-E film to windows can keep heat out (reflect heat), rather than absorb it. Window shades are an inexpensive way to control temperature in the home.

  • Solar

Solar heating refers to the technology that collects stored energy from the sun, often using photovoltaic (battery) system. This technology can be used to generate electricity or as a water heater. When passive solar features are included in the housing design, it adds little or even no cost and will result more in energy savings.

  • Low (or Zero) VOC

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, a chemical found in paints and flooring which can vaporize and emit gases for a long time. Opting for eco-friendly paints that are low VOC will emit smaller amounts of these gases and are usually odor free.

  • Low-Flow Water Fixtures

Low-Flow faucets, shower heads and toilets use less water per minute than traditional fixtures and conserve water by adding air into the system to produce a strong flow while using less water. While installing these devices may be costly, you will likely earn back your expenditure within the first year.

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