Keeping solar in mind when you design your new home will help optimize your energy efficiency and provide you with a real financial boost. You’ll see immediate savings on your electric bill, as well as long-term savings in the form of stabilized energy costs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the most logical time to adopt solar energy is during home construction, as your initial solar costs will be minimized at this time. Plus, you’ll have built-in financing through your home mortgage.
You can maximize your house’s natural solar gain by implementing passive design strategies.
Passive design involves carefully planning the orientation of the home on the property so that you can capture the sun’s energy most effectively.
Climate is also a factor in planning a new solar-powered home. Taking extra weatherizing steps with upgraded insulation and ventilation can help reduce heating and cooling costs.
In addition, certain materials used in construction — including concrete, stone and brick — increase energy efficiency.
Choosing these and other types of thermal mass masonry for your home’s design can result in lower energy costs, as these high-density materials are effective at absorbing, storing and releasing the sun’s heat energy to keep the temperature stable.
Window placement is an important part of designing a new solar house, and for maximizing your solar energy use.
Building in more south-facing windows is key. They must be unobstructed in the winter to collect heat from the sun, yet shaded by landscaping elements or roof overhangs during the warmer months to block excessive heat gain. Aim for fewer windows on walls that face north, east and west.
You also can opt for reflective coatings or insulated glazing for some of your windows. Check out the energy performance ratings of different window brands and designs to help choose the right ones for you.
Designing your home to maximize solar energy capture and use can go only so far. To make the most of your investment in photovoltaic power, consider using energy-wise design strategies inside the home as well.
Consider upgrading your appliances to new Energy Star models that are more energy-efficient.
Lighting matters as well. Choose compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs for a significant energy savings.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to optimize your home for energy efficiency for your PV solar system to meet all your energy needs.
Most customers can easily produce enough free power to meet all their needs and still have enough to send back to the grid for net metering credits. The most important part is designing your new home to best accommodate your rooftop solar panels!
Are you planning a new home in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado or Nevada?
Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar today to ensure that your home’s design will provide all the energy independence and cost savings possible when building a new home with solar.
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