While I fancy myself to be an outdoorswoman hardened by a youth in the Rocky Mountain West, I love a great climate-controlled room (turns out I grew up in the Denver suburbs). I want my home to be 70 degrees year-round, dipping to 68 only when I sleep. If you understand what I’m talking about, you too have probably experienced the shame of tiptoeing to the thermostat, hoping you make it back to your seat before your frugal spouse catches you in the act.
There is an alternative for comfortable living. Building a custom home with a good builder offers the opportunity to design a home that will create a comfortable climate while minimizing the impact on your utility bill. Here are some of the choices you can make that will keep your hands warm in January and sheets cool in mid-August.
- Design an efficient house. Even if you dream of a large home, architectural details can help maintain it as a comfortable yet efficient home. Ask your architect to avoid tricky cantilevers, corners, and other complications that will make tight seams and thorough insulation difficult.
- Take orientation into consideration. Plan around the sun.
- Use only experienced and committed insulation and HVAC contractors. Poorly installed work by either trade will waste the “bought” air. Don’t skimp on insulation. It is already pretty affordable and it will be one of the most cost-effective investments you can make. Appropriately zoned HVAC units can rapidly respond to small area needs with measured outputs. No longer do you need to heat the entire floor if your office is chilly.
- Install efficient appliances. The market is encouraging rapid innovation and manufacturers are responding.
- Select quality windows customized to your home environment needs. If your house takes advantage of a great southerly view with huge floor to ceiling windows, consider purchasing optional window coatings that can block hot and damaging rays.
- Details matter. Work with a builder who cares about the small issues that can compromise an exterior envelope, HVAC system, or installation of any of the components that comprise an efficient home. Again, you bought the air. It’s our job to keep it in.
Energy efficiency can be a goal in any home you wish to build. How much it should determine your architectural design and budget is a consideration to discuss at the beginning of the custom home process. Whether you share my (high) maintenance preferences or Will’s penny-pinching proclivities, any tact you take will find a proponent at LCH.