Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

convective heating and cooling small spaces

The Benefits of Designing Energy Efficiency and Sustainability into your Home

Our mission at Greenovision Homes Design is to design beautiful, unique homes with comfortable living spaces while simultaneously implementing energy efficiency and sustainability. It is difficult to make energy improvements on a home that is already built, so it is important to implement energy efficiency strategies and technologies while the home is still in the design phase. Spending more up front on energy-efficient design, technology, and materials will ultimately result in a more affordable home because the yearly savings on your energy bills will exceed the costs of the additional infrastructure. Contrary to popular belief, energy-efficient homes can be designed to be beautiful with an aesthetically-engaging contemporary edge.

There are many benefits to designing and building an energy-efficient home including:

  1. Year-round energy savings that result in a more affordable home
  2. Less dependency on third-party provided energy, which is especially important as energy becomes increasingly more expensive and less reliable
  3. A healthier living environment because better quality materials contain fewer off-gassing toxins
  4. Energy-efficiency technologies promote fresh air flow within the home
  5. Less maintenance because better-quality, energy-efficient materials are often more durable
  6. Lowering the carbon footprint of your home and using fewer non-renewable resources

Design strategies and technologies

We at Greenovision are not only experienced in architecture and construction, but we are also trained in design and technology strategies that will bring energy savings to your home. We also know that in order to design quality homes, a constant reevaluation of past designs and a study of new technologies and building methods must occur. The design and construction field is in constant evolution. Through well-conceived design, we aim reduce material waste during the construction phase and energy waste as you live in your home for years to come. Here are just a few of the energy-saving techniques we implement while designing a new home:

  1. Passive Solar Heat Gain. In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. Although passive solar design is simple in methodology, Greenovision is trained and experienced in passive solar strategies and will ensure that your home’s solar potentials are utilized most effectively. Orientation of the house to the South, correct window types and heights, adequate roof overhangs, heat-retaining mass (such as radiant concrete flooring), and air exchange are just a few of the important components of a passive solar home.
  2. Passive Cooling and Air Exchange. Passive cooling strategies can help eliminate the need to run energy-consumptive air conditioners and fans. By investing in passive cooling design, you will save money on home cooling costs. It is also important to design an air exchange / heat recovery system into your home to prevent moisture build-up and create a comfortable indoor humidity.
  3. High-Insulation Materials and Quality Construction. Building and designing your home with a high insulation value is important for keeping heat in during the Winter and out during the Summer. While creating the construction drawings for a new home or remodel, we at Greenovision call for advanced framing techniques to reduce thermal conductivity. Our drawings and designs also call for high-insulation windows and other materials as well as construction techniques that keep the home tightly sealed. In addition to hiring a knowledgeable designer, hiring a quality construction crew is key to a well-crafted and energy-efficient home.
  4. Active Solar Design and Technology. Active solar elements of a home energy system consist of solar electricity (photovoltaic panels) and liquid solar hot water heating. Designing alternative energy systems into your home will help increase energy-efficiency and decrease dependency on non-renewable resources. Active solar systems should be designed into the home from the start, making their installation easier as well making the panels more aesthetically-integrated into the home.
  5. Radiant Heating. Hydronic radiant heating is an energy-efficient method of home heating in which water, housed in tubing throughout the floor system, is heated and circulated. The water heats the mass of floor, which then radiates warmth into the home. At Greenovision, we typically design homes that combine hydronic radiant heating with passive solar heating for maximum efficiency.
  6. Bright Interiors. Designing a home with plenty of well-insulated windows not only provides views of the outdoors from within, but also allows ample sunlight to enter the home. By illuminating rooms with natural light, the homeowner eliminates the need to run energy-consumptive light bulbs during the day. Proper window design and placement is necessary to encourage privacy and prevent over-lighting.
  7. Healthy, Long Lasting Materials. All materials are evaluated for life cycle, recyclable attributes, beauty, and ability to perform multiple tasks. We promote paying more up front for quality building materials, rather than building with cheaper, low-quality materials that are usually unhealthy, energy-inefficient, and have a short life-span. By building with quality, long-lasting materials, the homeowner eliminates unnecessary repair and maintenance, which ultimately saves money and is better for the environment.

To read about the energy-efficiency strategies that were used in Liberty House as well as an energy cost analysis, please go here.