At WestWind Homes, energy efficiency is at the core of everything we do. We want to be responsible for our planet, our state and our clients’ money. Every day we like to think we make the world a little better than it was before.
Our clients prize energy efficiency as well. They want to be responsible consumers and spend more of their hard-earned cash on utilities. They ask a lot of questions about energy efficiency throughout the home building and remodeling process. That’s why we created this complete guide to energy efficient home building in Texas
What Is Energy Efficiency And Why Is It Important?
Energy efficiency is an incredibly popular topic for a reason. People want to reduce their footprint and slow climate change. Researchers put intense effort into exploring new production processes and methods. They also look for ways to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. In short, the objective is to accomplish more with less, without any waste.
It takes time and money, but it’s worth it. Becoming more energy efficient is good for the economy, environment and community. Applying energy efficiency strategies to economic activities like transportation, manufacturing and construction may make a huge impact. They could reduce the world’s energy needs and global emissions by up to a third by 2050.
Energy efficiency has collateral benefits. Some examples include overall improvements in air quality, indoor conditions and home safety. It also lowers lower health risks in the long-term.
Benefits of Building a House Using Energy Efficient Strategies
Some studies have predicted that more than 50% of the electricity used in the US today could be saved by using home energy efficiency measures. Just think how much you could save if your home used half the electricity it does now.
Energy-efficient homeowners get more than just the confidence of owning a strong and durable house. They also contribute to stopping global warming and promoting a healthier, cleaner environment.
Characteristics of Energy Efficient Homes
Energy efficiency comes from features like the following:
- Home insulation: significantly reduces the use of heating and cooling energy to reach and maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Sustainable materials: Construction supplies should be long-lasting, strong and environmentally friendly. This reduces their carbon footprint.
- Exterior doors: Buyers should always look at energy-performance ratings. These will help you maintain a pleasant temperature inside your home and optimize the use of energy.
- Energy efficient windows: choosing the right type of windows depends on the climate. Inefficient windows transfer heat. Therefore, windows are an essential factor to consider in heating and cooling energy systems. Also, double-pane windows can reduce external noise.
- Optimal orientation: The right positioning can result in a warmer home during winter and a cooler home during summer.
- Solar panels: using solar energy for water and home heating provides an alternative to electricity or natural gas. Devices that transform sunlight into electricity reduce both energy costs and carbon emissions. You consume less fossil-fueled power.
- Cool roofs: this energy efficiency technique is ideal for houses in warm climates that depend on the continuous use of air conditioning. They use reflective materials to redirect sunlight away from the rooftop and lower its temperature This decreases the overall temperature of the house.
WestWind Homes Also Provides the Following
- Air and duct sealing: reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of home create savings in heating and cooling energy costs. It also generates a healthier indoor environment by keeping away allergens, such as dust and mold.
- Energy efficient lighting: energy efficient lighting can reduce energy use in homes by 50-75%. There are plenty of options widely available, such as LED or CFL light bulbs.
- Skylights: Rooftop skylights provide natural lighting and ventilation while reducing heating, cooling, and lighting costs.
- Energy Star certified appliances: New Energy Star model appliances are designed to use minimum energy to complete the required task, like washing, drying, cooling, etc.
Finding an Energy Efficient Home
WestWind Homes is a pioneer in the home building industry, using its experience in building energy efficient homes with the best quality standards offering the best savings to its customers. WestWind Homes are continuously finding new ways to improve homes and set building standards.
We offer Energy Efficient Homes that drive long term savings month after month. That means a 5-star rating and HERS statement and Blower Door test rating. This certification guarantees the buyer peace of mind that they are getting an efficient house. WestWind Homes are secure, comfortable, durable and environmentally-friendly.
Additionally, WestWind Homes works with third-party independent companies to inspect our home during critical stages of construction. We use a Certified Energy Rater to establish each Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index.
This rating firm inspects the insulation, lighting, appliance ratings, ceiling fans, and the heating and cooling system major components. They also incorporate the results of the Blower Door test. WestWind has always obtained a 5-star rating for its homes.
WestWind Homes has consecutively been recognized with the Texas High-Performance Home Program Award for Highest Cumulative Savings over the last seven years. We started building in 1993. Since then, we’ve incorporated the best technology, products, and materials to reduce the home owner’s energy costs. We also focus on providing a safe and comfortable environment to live in.
How WestWind Homes Uses Energy Efficiency Strategies
WestWind offers high-performance homes that maximize energy efficiency, comfort, and durability. Among all the competing builders, WestWind Homes has the highest score. Some of the features, modern techniques, and products that are present in every WestWind home are:
- Energy Efficient HVAC: every house we build receives a high-efficiency Air Cooling and Heating System. Your HVAC will provide fresh outdoor air and remove interior airborne contaminants. Remove or neutralize odors, volatile organic compounds, cleaning chemicals and other undesirable elements. Plus, we use metal elbows and ducts and seal them with high-grade mastic sealant to prevent leaks.
- Sealing System: WestWind Homes use Polycel sealant around outside doors and around windows to maximize the airtightness of the house. We also apply this highly effective sealant to the bottom base plate of the frame and windows.
- Unique Ventilation System: WestWind uses a continuous vented Hardibacker soffit vent baffled in the attic to prevent obstruction and optimize airflow. We vent bath and kitchen out through the roof with metal tubing and fittings. This reduces odors and particulates in your attic and the rest of your home. Then, WestWind Homes uses high-quality turbine vents like Lomanco Whirlybird to reduce attic temperature and increase air circulation throughout the attic. Your energy costs drop and your roof shingles last longer.
- Blower Door Test: WestWind Homes has an independent professional energy auditor firm conduct a blower door test to determine the home’s airtightness. WestWind Homes are tightly sealed to reduce energy consumption due to air leakage and to avoid moisture condensation problems. While this is something regulations force some home builders to do, WestWind Homes has been voluntarily doing it for years.
- Radiant Decking: See below.
Energy Efficiency and Radiant Barriers
What if you could keep almost 100 percent of the sun’s heat from penetrating your attic? WestWind Homes in places like Hibiscus Hill in McAllen or Green Ranch in Northern Laredo come with TechShield technology as a standard feature.
We install TechShield on roof decking, the planks that face your attic and support shingles. It reflects away heat and improves your HVAC’s efficiency. You might even be able to install a smaller tonnage system.
How Techshield Works
Home insulation materials work by reducing conductive and convective heat flow. TechShield Radiant Barrier Sheathing system works by reducing a third type of heat: radiant heat gain.
When the sun heats a roof, it’s primarily the sun’s radiant energy that makes the roof hot. Much of this heat travels by conduction through the roofing materials to the attic side of the roof. The hot roof material then radiates its gained heat energy onto the cooler attic surfaces, including the air ducts and the attic floor states the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information on Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing, click here.
Radiant Barrier Sheathing and Energy Efficiency
TechShield Radiant Barrier Sheathing system reduces monthly cooling costs by blocking up to 97% of the radiant heat transfer from the underside of the roof to the rest of the attic. Some studies show that radiant barriers can reduce cooling costs by 5% to 10% and are most effective in hot climates. That’s definitely the case in South Texas due to most cooling air ducts being located (at least partially) in the attic. The reduced heat may even allow an air conditioning system to perform at peak levels even in the hot summer months.
Radiant barriers are combined with the rest of your new home’s insulation materials as a standard feature in our Energy Efficiency Package. Radiant barriers are just one more reason to choose WestWind homes for your new home construction.
Improving Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes
New homes are often energy efficient. They are built with energy star appliances, have windows and window treatments designed to help regulate the indoor temperature, and, in some cases, come with solar panels already installed. However, even those of you residing in older homes can partake in some energy-saving measures. Energy efficiency is not just about saving the environment – it’s also about saving money on your utility bills! Improve your existing home’s energy efficiency in these ways.
In older homes, especially those with metal or wood framed windows, cool air seeps out during summer. If replacing all of the windows in your home is not in your budget, consider doing them one room at a time, or simply redoing all of the weather stripping (the part that seals the gap between the window frames on your home and the windows themselves.)
Improve Energy Efficiency Through Landscaping
Improve your yard, privacy, and energy efficiency all at the same time by planting some trees and shrubs. Greenery not only makes your yard look nice but if it is planted in the right parts of your yard – as close to the house as possible, keeping growth patterns and root systems in mind – then they will create shade as well. This will automatically keep your house cooler, and make you less reliant on an air conditioner.
There are several types of insulation. Some are blown into the walls, while other types are found lining your attic. Either way, insulation serves as a barrier from the elements. Over time, insulation can break down and become less effective. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace it.
Install Energy Star Appliances
Replace your appliances with new, energy star models. Appliances these days are designed to run on less electricity than older models. Granted, it can be expensive to buy new appliances all at once. Consider slowly purchasing new models as the older ones wear out. Appliances to consider replacing include your hot water heater, refrigerator, dishwasher, stove/oven, air conditioner, furnace, and any others that you may have.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Some new thermostats can be adjusted with a smart phone app, while others can be set to change the temperature at different times of the day. For example, you can have it set in the summer time so that the air conditioning temperature goes down when you are on your way home from work, making it cool and comfortable by the time you arrive. While you aren’t home, set the system for a few degrees warmer, which uses less electricity.
Recipients of the AEP Texas High-Performance Home Program Award
American Electric Power (AEP) is an electric utility in the United States The company delivers electricity to more than 900,000 electric consumers in Texas and over five million customers in 11 other states. AEP Texas is headquartered in Corpus Christi, with operations in Abilene, McAllen, Harlingen, San Angelo, Vernon, Victoria, and Laredo.
AEP Texas plays an essential role in our community. They offer several energy efficiency programs to help their costumers save energy and money. The High-Performance Home Program Award for Highest Cumulative Savings is a big deal. Basically, the AEP looks at the homes available in an area. Then, they look at all of the details of each home to find the ones that offer the best value.
When considering the value of the home they look at the quality of the home’s materials and its energy efficiency. They choose the home that will provide the most saving month after month. They also choose homes that are durable and long lasting.
WestWind Homes has won this award for the last seven years in a row. We believe this proves our commitment to our clients in providing affordable luxury, the best quality home, and long-lasting comfort and savings.
The Obvious Choice for Energy Efficiency
To sum up, when searching for high quality and efficient home, WestWind Homes is your best option in the market. Not only do you get a beautiful and affordable house for life, but you will also save money in the future and reduce your environmental footprint.
An energy-efficient house will provide you with superior comfort and lower operating costs, not to mention a higher real estate market value. Lately, some banks and loan companies offer energy efficient mortgages that have lower points and allow for the stretching of debt to income ratios. This is because an energy efficient home requires less money to operate.
WestWind Homes provides certified construction for energy efficiency. Get in touch to find out more about our new homes and communities.