When it comes to designing the shape of your house, a box or rectangle is best.
A simple house is inexpensive to build and easy to insulate.
It doesn’t have to be boring.
Investing in the building envelope once will payoff for the lifetime of the building.
Creating an air and water tight envelope will ensure interior comfort and minimize maintenance costs over decades.
The best windows you can afford are worth the investment.
They will pay off in comfort and energy efficiency for decades.
When preplanning your home, it is important to think about views,
sun exposure, shading, prevailing winds and weather.
Best practice for houses designed in the Northern hemisphere: Utilities and service spaces oriented to the north, living spaces oriented to the South. Shade the West / South West sides from excessive afternoon gains. Invite prevailing breezes into the house and let them leave on the leeward side.
This is not always possible, but when it is, it guarantees a light filled home. Correctly specified solar exposed windows can provide free heat to the house, therefore reducing the energy needed to heat the home.
Reduce the number of walls in the home,
Use changes in ceiling height and furniture to define spaces where possible.
Use energy efficient fixtures and appliances.
Unplug unnecessary gadgets when not in use to eliminate ghost loads.
Managing fresh air circulation in the house through the use of an ventilation system will ensure healthful living conditions.
Providing room on the roof accommodate photovoltaic panels is the easiest way to incorporate Renewables into your home. A south exposure in the Northern hemisphere is the best for efficiency, but any orientation can provide benefits.
Rainwater capture systems are an important consideration when water is scarce.
Other renewables, such as solar thermal, wind energy, ground source heat pumps can be considered as well, but there is a longer payback period and maintenance involved.
Awareness of the environment surrounding the home, taking advantage of daylight, breezes, & rainwater are important.
Turning off lights, appliances, and electronic gadgets when not in use contribute to the overall efficiency of the home.
Turning down the heat at night or pulling blinds to keep out excess heat during milder weather.