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ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMESAPS Home Inspection Service check the insulation, windows, attic and many other areas to make sure that you have the facts on where you are loosing heat. Mar 12, 2013 by adminComments are offThe housing market in Arizona has been growing quickly and substantially when compared to the rest of the nation.
While there are many different upgrades and improvements that you can make to your home, you will likely get the most bang for your buck if you choose to make energy improvements. According to a Residential Energy Consumption Survey that interviewed Arizona homeowners and was published in 2009, many Arizona homeowners are taking steps to make their homes more energy-efficient. If you compare your home to the average energy consumption data listed above, how does your home measure up? As energy costs continue to rise, there is a growing trend for home buyers to look for energy-efficient homes, especially in hot states such as Arizona where air-conditioning usage is high.
You will attract buyers who are interested in saving on energy costs and caring for the environment. Your home will be more attractive to potential buyers than less-efficient homes for sale nearby. Your energy-efficient home listing will be interesting and will help you to sell your home more quickly. Although some home owners are worried about the cost of making their homes more energy-efficient, most are pleased to find out that the increased resale value of their homes is more than enough to compensate for the initial investment in energy upgrades.
Although there are many things that you can do to decrease your energy usage (including turning off lights when not in use, unplugging dormant electronics and chargers and being more conservative with your energy use in general), it is important to note that these lifestyle changes won’t necessarily increase your home’s resale value.
If you make some or all of the above energy upgrades then you should make sure that you advertise these upgrades in your home listing. Have your home inspected again (it is a good idea to get a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) inspection done because you will be given HERS rating that will show your home’s overall energy efficiency. If you want to sell your home quickly and for a great price, then a great way to increase your success is by making your home as energy-efficient as possible. We are committed to making Arizona homes more energy efficient, while helping homeowners realize a rapid return on their green home investment. In fact, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently reported that home prices last year in Arizona had increased by 20% in the third quarter. However, because the housing market is so strong and competitive in Arizona, you may have a hard time selling your home quickly unless you make improvements to it and give it an advantage over competing homes for sale. This is because energy costs have been rapidly rising over the years and have made life uncomfortable for many Arizona homeowners. Are you doing all that you can to conserve energy in your home and thereby save a significant amount of money over time or is your home currently less efficient than you would like it to be?
Hot water bills, air conditioning, and heating can easily add up to over 70% of the annual operating costs for an Arizona home. If potential buyers can easily see that your home is more efficient than other homes nearby, then it will be a powerful incentive for them to purchase from you.
Designing and building an energy-efficient home that conforms to the many considerations faced by home builders can be a challenge. To put that into perspective, the rest of the nation’s home prices in the third quarter only increased by an average of 4.04%. As a result, more homeowners are interested in purchasing homes that are energy-efficient and can save them money in the long run. If you make energy efficiency improvements to your home then you will save money as a result and the resale value of your home will increase.
However, that percentage can drop significantly if you choose to make strategic energy upgrades. However, any house style can be made to require relatively minimal amounts of energy to heat and cool, and be comfortable and healthy.
The FHFA also reported that the housing market in Arizona has been outpacing the housing market in the rest of the country by a large margin over the past couple of years. It's easier now to get your architect and builder to use improved designs and construction methods. Some designs are more expensive to build than others, but none of them need to be extremely expensive to construct.


Recent technological improvements in building elements and construction techniques, and heating, ventilation, and cooling systems, allow most modern energy saving ideas to be seamlessly integrated into any type of house design without sacrificing comfort, health, or aesthetics. The following is a discussion of the major elements of energy-efficient home design and construction systems.
They include: Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) This is a method of using wood only where it does the most work, thus reducing costly wood use and saving space for insulation. However, workmanship must be of the highest order since there is very little room for construction errors. Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) These are generally plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) sheets laminated to a core of foam board.
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) These often consist of two layers of extruded foam board (one inside the house and one outside the house) that act as the form for a steel reinforced concrete center. Such buildings are also very strong and easily exceed code requirements for tornado or hurricane prone areas. InsulationAn energy-efficient house has much higher insulation R-values than required by most local building codes. For example, a typical house in New York State might have haphazardly installed R-11 fiberglass insulation in the exterior walls and R-19 in the ceiling, and the floors and foundation walls may not be insulated.
A similar, but well-designed and constructed house's insulation levels would be in the range of R-20 to R-30 in the walls (including the foundation) and R-50 and R-70 in the ceilings. Carefully applied fiberglass batt or roll, wet-spray cellulose, or foam insulations will fill wall cavities completely.
How to design and install them depends a great deal on the climate and what method of construction is chosen. No matter where you are building, water vapor condensation is a major threat to the structure of a house.
In cold climates, pressure differences can drive warm, moist indoor air into exterior walls and attics.
As the humid outdoor air enters the walls to find cooler wall cavities it condenses into liquid water. This is the main reason why some of the old buildings in the South that have been retrofitted with air conditioners now have mold and rotten wood problems. Regardless of your climate, it is important to minimize water vapor migration by using a carefully designed thermal envelope and sound construction practices. Any water vapor that does manage to get into the walls or attics must be allowed to get out again.
Some construction methods and climates lend themselves to allowing the vapor to flow towards the outdoors.
Others are better suited to letting it flow towards the interior so that the house ventilation system can deal with it.
The Airtight Drywall Approach and the Simple CS system are other methods to control air and water vapor movement in a residential building. Foundations and SlabsFoundation walls and slabs should be at least as well insulated as the living space walls.
Un-Insulated foundations have a negative impact on home energy use and comfort, especially if the family uses the lower parts of the house as a living space.
Also, appliances that supply heat as a by-product, such as domestic hot water heaters, washers, dryers, and freezers, are often located in basements. By carefully insulating the foundation walls and floor of the basement, these appliances can assist in the heating of the house. Since even modern windows insulate less than a wall, in general an energy-efficient home in heating dominated climates should have few windows on the north, east, and west exposures. A rule-of-thumb is that window area should not exceed 8-9% of the floor area, unless your designer is experienced in passive solar techniques.
If this is the case, then increasing window area on the southern side of the house to about 12% of the floor area is recommended.
In cooling dominated climates, its important to select east, west, and south facing windows with low solar heat gain coefficients (these block solar heat gain). A properly designed roof overhang for south-facing windows is important to avoid overheating in the summer in most areas of the continental United States.


At the very least, Energy Star rated windows or their equivalents, should be specified according to the Energy Star regional climatic guidelines.
In general, the best sealing windows are awning and casement styles since these often close tighter than sliding types. Air-SealingA well-constructed thermal envelope requires that insulating and sealing be precise and thorough.
Good air-sealing alone may reduce utility costs by as much as 50% when compared to other houses of the same type and age. Rules-of-thumb system sizing is often inaccurate, resulting in over sizing and wasteful operation.Controlled VentilationSince an energy-efficient home is tightly sealed, it's also important and fairly simple to deliberately ventilate the building in a controlled way. Controlled, mechanical ventilation of the building reduces air moisture infiltration and thus the health risks from indoor air pollutants, promotes a more comfortable atmosphere, and reduces the likelihood of structural damage from excessive moisture accumulation.
Since devices such as furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, and bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans exhaust air from the house, it's easier to depressurize a tight house if all else is ignored. Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) or energy recovery ventilators (ERV) are growing in use for controlled ventilation in tight homes. These devices salvage about 80% of the energy from the stale exhaust air and then deliver that energy to the fresh entering air by way of a heat exchanger inside the device. They are generally attached to the central forced air system, but they may have their own duct system. They are, however, more expensive to operate and possibly more uncomfortable to use since they have no energy recovery features to pre-condition the incoming air.
Uncomfortable incoming air can be a serious problem if the house is in a northern climate, and they can create moisture problems in humid climates. This sort of ventilation strategy is recommended only for very mild to low humidity climates. Common choices for auxiliary heating include radiant in-floor heating from a standard gas-fired water heater, a small boiler, furnace, or electric heat pump.
They feel more comfortable since the additional insulation keeps the interior wall temperatures more stable. They may cost more and take longer to build than a conventional home, especially if your builder and the contractors are not familiar with them. Even though their structure may differ only slightly from conventional homes, your builder and the contractors may be unwilling to deviate from what they've always done before. Before beginning a home-building project, carefully evaluate the site and its climate to determine the optimum design and orientation. You may want to take the time to learn how to use some of the energy related software programs that are available to assist you.
Prepare a design that accommodates appropriate insulation levels, moisture dynamics, and aesthetics.
Decisions regarding appropriate windows, doors, and heating, cooling and ventilating appliances are central to an efficient design. Also evaluate the cost, ease of construction, the builder's limitations, and building code compliance.
Some schemes are simple to construct, while others can be extremely complex and thus expensive. An increasing number of builders are participating in the federal government's Building America and Energy Star Homes programs, which promote energy-efficient houses.
Many builders participate so that they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. Construction costs can vary significantly depending on the materials, construction techniques, contractor profit margin, experience, and the type of heating, cooling and ventilation system chosen. However, the biggest benefits from designing and building an energy-efficient home are its superior comfort level and lower operating costs.




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