As building science experts, we can work with your designer or architect to maximize energy efficiency within your budget.
When we talk about energy efficiency, many people think only of fluorescent lights and solar panels. Solar is one of the last things we think of in promoting energy efficiency.
Solar is one of the last things we think of in promoting energy efficiency. There are building methods and techniques in the actual construction that can build in improved energy efficiency--or reduce it. Recent code changes have started to address these, but much of the effectiveness lies in the craftsmanship of the workers. For instance, minor defects installing insulation produce rather disproportionate reductions in its effectiveness. So your air conditioning can't cool some of your rooms enough. Fluorescent lights, and now LED lighting, use less electricity. Fluorescent lights generate less heat for air conditioning to remove. Lighting is one of the "low-hanging fruits" of energy efficiency upgrades, as it is cheap and mostly easy to replace in existing buildings. In new installations, we specify dimmer/light combinations that are made to work with each other. Controls such as timers and light and motion sensors can reduce unnecessary lighting usage.
Good attic insulation is another simple way to make a house more energy efficient, and healthier too. In a remodel, we want to insulate properly any areas of the building that remain. And we will not insulate any attic, old or new, without air-sealing the attic. We seal all the gaps and cracks between the floor of the attic and the living area below. We want to prevent what could otherwise be a significant airflow, of potentially unhealthy attic air into the living area or warm air into a cold attic. Choice of windows can impact energy efficiency. The amount of light transmission, the insulation value, the amount of heat transmission are variables that we can specify (within limits) to increase energy efficiency and your comfort in any given room. Our expertise includes determining how chose the appropriate characteristics, installing them correctly, and working with you and your architect or designer for the best aesthetic appeal.
The heating and air conditioning system can have a big effect on energy efficiency. Most older systems are horribly inefficient and should be replaced in a remodel. New systems must be thoughtfully designed and carefully assembled to minimize energy use: most are not. After improving energy efficiency, you'll need fewer relatively expensive solar panels if you want them, assuming your roof is well-situated to receive adequate sunlight throughout the day. In all projects, we employ environmentally responsible construction practices to create high-performance remodels or new buildings as much as possible within your budget. These combine to create a safe and comfortable environment.
We will discuss your interest in the cost/benefit tradeoffs involved in potentially improving building performance beyond standard building techniques. Of course, our "standard" work already delivers extra benefits that add little or nothing to building costs.