There are also multiple design practices one can consider in order to create a more energy efficient home including:
Water plants with collected runoff water and a drip irrigation system with separate zones. Rainwater harvesting in collective barrells is also another simple way to reduce your water use.
Plants native to your area require less water, thus lowering your water bill and saving you money. They also play an important role in the local ecosystem by using less fertilizer and pesticides and attracting more birds and butterflies.
It is important to create cross ventilation in a home to bring in natural oxygen and create an overall cooler environment. Cross ventilation is achieved when cool air from the outside enters a home, forcing warm air out through another outlet such as a window or door. Recognizing window, door, and vent placement in a home can contribute to natural cross ventilation engineered for thermal balance.
Increased Natural Lighting
Skylights provide an abundance of natural light for any interior space. By allowing you to switch off electric lights during the day, skylights significantly help you save money on your energy bills. Using the proper glazing placements can also contribute to increased natural light as well.
Where possible, place the longest walls and majority of windows facing north and south for passive solar heat gain. Shade east and west facing windows with overhangs, covered porches, awnings or trees. Position garages and least-used rooms on the west side as thermal buffers from the western sun.
Improved Air Quality
Using the right materials can improve indoor air quality and increase comfort altogether. Using mostly hard surface flooring such as concrete tile, or wood is suggested, or other flooring materials such as bamboo, cork, and true linoleum. No vinyl wallboard or wallpaper is also better for indoor air quality, as well as installing a Carbon Monoxide detector for the safety of all occupants.
Efficient Cooling Methods
Ceiling fans in all major rooms can help create air flow without using a lot of energy. Also, choosing in A/C unit with a cooling efficiency of 13.0 SEER of higher is highly recommended, as well as a cooling system that is the proper size for the home as oversize equipment does not run long enough to operate efficiently or dehumidify enough for comfort.
Eave & Gable Overhangs
These protect your windows, floors, and siding from an onslaught of dripping rain. They also can provide shade for your windows, saving energy on keeping your home cool.