Going Green and Energy Efficiency
In your home buying search, you’ve probably come across the “green” trend. Going green, hybrid homes, energy efficient – these terms are everywhere, but what do they actually mean?
Much of the energy in the U.S. is wasted in transmission, heat loss, and inefficient technology – costing you money and worsening the environment. Builders constantly advertise that they are energy efficient or use green building standards, but they don’t always go into details.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the most popular energy-efficient terms here so you can decode what a builder means when they list out all their features.
To reduce the amount of air leaking into or out of your home, you can use an air sealant. Air leakage happens when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your home through unsecured cracks or openings. To reduce this happening, a spray sealant can be applied to unsealed areas. At McGuinn, we apply this sealant around window and door frames, exterior framing, attic stairs, knee walls, as well as any exterior utility penetrations.
Electric lighting accounts for up to 25% of a home’s total energy budget. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL bulbs) are miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents that work with standard light sockets, allowing them to give off light similar to the common incandescent bulb. The benefit? CFL bulbs are four times more efficient and last ten times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Although initially more expensive to install, a CFL bulb will end up using less than a third of the energy – saving you money on energy bills.
Energy Star Certification
This one appears everywhere! You’ll often see homebuilders touting their “Energy Star” ratings – we do it too. If an appliance is Energy Star Certified, that means it is a government-backed certification identifying it as a quality choice for energy efficiency. If a home earns the Energy Star, it’s 15%-30% more efficient than the typical new home. With either, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be saving money on utility costs while also benefiting our environment.
It may sound like a diner sandwich, but it’s actually a space-age synthetic material that helps keep your house dry and insulted! Acting as a water-resistant barrier, house wrap works with other insulting measures to keep your home safe and temperature-controlled. Overall, this contributes to lowering energy costs by helping your AC system to work more efficiently – without worrying about air seeping through the cracks.
Hybrid homes are designed with the environment in mind. A hybrid home focuses purely on the sections of the home that will offer the most in savings and energy efficiency, without wasting money on the sections that won’t have much impact.
Often used when describing windows, the “E” here stands for emissive. A Low-E window is one that is treated with a low-emissive coating, allowing it reduce energy consumption, decrease fabric fading, and increase the overall comfort inside your home. A Low-E window helps reflect heat and can actually help reduce energy loss by as much as 30%-50%!
Low-flow or Low-flush Plumbing
Toilets alone are responsible for about 40% of water use in a home, and in older models, as much as six gallons of water is used for each flush! If a plumbing fixture is classified as low-flow or low-flush, it’s been proven to reduce the amount of water released when used. Not only does this save money on your water bill, but it also reduces the amount of water normally wasted.
We’ve all heard of lead paint, but what about volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? For years after application, paints and finishes have been releasing low-level toxic emissions. A Low-VOC paint is not only more cost-effective, but it also is less harmful to both your family’s health and the environment.
Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Installed in the attic, radiant barrier sheathing reflects up to 97% of the sun’s heat, allowing your home to stay cooler. In some cases, the attic temperature reduced as much as thirty degrees due to the sheathing! Radiant barrier sheathing in your new home saves money on energy costs, makes attic ductwork more efficient, and prolongs the life of your AC system.
R-Value Wall Insulation
When talking about home insulation, the R-Value measures the resistance to the flow of heat into or out of the home. The higher the R-Value, the better it insulates. The better the insulation, the cooler your home will be in the summer and the warmer it will be in the winter. We use high R-Value wall and ceiling insulation to ensure your home is prepared for any weather.
SEER Air Conditioners
In AC terms, the higher rated a system, the less power it uses. Standing for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER simply measures the ratio of cooling capacity as compared to the power used to do so. It all boils down to this: the higher the rating, the more bang for your energy buck. Our homes use 14-SEER Efficient AC Systems, which meets the EPA standards set in 2015.
Tankless Gas Water Heaters
With a life expectancy of 20 years, tankless gas water heaters last much longer than any conventional water-heater model. Save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of a tankless model with a heater that only heats water when you need it. Bonus: the risk of tank leaks and water damage is no longer an issue.
Of course, these are only a few of the energy efficiency terms in play in the world today! Each builder handles energy efficiency uniquely, and we encourage you to ask each builder what makes them different. Here are just a few of the items we offer that weren’t already mentioned in this post:
- Programmable thermostats
- Use of natural gas heat
- Engineered roofing systems
- Low-maintenance vinyl siding
If you have questions on how a McGuinn Hybrid Home uniquely serves your energy efficient needs, please feel free to contact us!