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Building a new home is most likely the biggest investment you'll make in your lifetime. The more informed you are about the safety, durability, comfort and low energy costs of your finished home before you begin, the better equipped you'll be to integrate products and features that satisfy your needs.

Building Green begins with the design and extends through the end of construction.
- Lowering operating costs which in turn increases the home’s value
- Reduces waste to landfills
- Conserves energy and water
- Healthier and safer occupancy
- Reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Tax Rebates

Here are some things to consider before and during the construction process:

Insulation - There are two basic types of insulation used for residential construction fiberglass, batt or blown in, and loosefill insulation.

Exterior Stud Wall Insulation - Exterior stud wall insulation comes as fiberglass or rock wool batts.

Exterior Sheathing - Exterior sheathing is applied to the exterior of the stud wall before the exterior finish is attached.

Exterior Air Barriers - Exterior air barriers are products that keep infiltration of outside unconditioned air from entering the building. These products are impermeable to air flow but permeable to moisture flow. Moisture travels through them to increase the drying potential of the building’s shell, but air does not pass through it.

Indoor Vapor Barrier - Vapor barriers control the flow of exfiltration of conditioned air, which is moisture laden, into the wall sections.

Concrete Basement Walls - Concrete is not a good insulator, Concrete walls above grade and up to two feet below grade lose about as much heat as a double-pane window. Since the basement area is often finished for additional living space, insulating these walls results in substantial energy savings and improved comfort.

Basement Floor - Concrete floors with interior drain tile only, can result in moisture and radon movement into the home. Concrete is a permeable product, so moisture moves through it. To prevent this from occurring, it is recommended that a polyethylene product be installed under the basement slab.

Ceilings - Ceilings come in many forms. There are flat ceilings with attic areas above, cathedral ceilings with attic area above, cathedral roof-ceilings combination, or a flat roof-ceiling. Most ceiling insulation is blown in. It is extremely important that penetrations (i.e., recessed lighting, plumbing stacks, flues, electric wiring through top plates, supply and return air ducts) be sealed with foam or caulking to accomplish air sealing and to keep stack effect to a minimum. Stack effect occurs in every home. It is driven by the temperature difference between indoor temperature and outdoor temperature. (Stack effect is best described as rising hot air that is bouncing off the ceiling).

Windows & Doors - Windows and doors lose or gain the most heat of all the building’s components, thus, selection is critical. Providing a tight building shell with an average performing window can result in serious condensation on the windows during the heating season.

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) - The sizing of heating and air conditioning equipment is critical. It is the heating contractor’s responsibility to correctly size the equipment. Equipment that is too large or too small will result in poor performance with hot and cold spots throughout the home and higher energy costs.

Exhaust Ventilation - Ventilation is intended to remove moisture and odors.

Ducts - The duct system is a direct extension of the heating and cooling equipment. It is the heating contractor’s responsibility to determine duct size. Sealing your duct is important to your comfort and recommended it is estimated that nationwide, duct systems leak 20-30 percent of the air they carry. This not only results in comfort problems, but it also causes pressure imbalances within the home. These problems may effect health and safety, durability, comfort and energy efficiency.

Air Sealing of the Thermal Shell - The amount of air sealing applied to the thermal shell determines the comfort level in your home. Air sealing also has a direct impact on annual heating and cooling costs. Air sealing will keep unconditioned air from entering the home and conditioned air from leaving the home.

The benefits of energy efficiency is important whether you are building a new home or renovating and existing one.

For more information on How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient click here to read the U.S. Green Building Council's Green Home Guide.

Other links to visit:
www.mass.gov - Energy and Environmental Affairs
www.energystar.gov

 

Article Reference/Source:
www.nppd.com
www.usgbc.org

 

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