In this day and age, energy efficiency in buildings is a point of major concern. Not only will an energy efficient building cost less to operate, it will create less of a strain on the environment. Many energy efficiencies can be incorporated into a building during construction while some may be added as an afterthought. This article will cover five construction techniques that can improve a building’s energy efficiency.
Lighting technology has improved exponentially over the past couple of decades. Compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs were incredible energy and money savers, but they’ve since been surpassed by LED (light emitting diode) technology. LED lighting systems offer ample amounts of light while using a fraction of the amount of energy of older lighting schemes. LEDs also last longer than CFLs and contain fewer harmful chemicals.
Making better use of sunlight works in conjunction with optimizing electrical lighting. By utilizing the natural light that’s available, a building can considerably lower its operating costs. Implementing skylights, extra windows and creatively using a building’s orientation towards the sun to its full advantage can lower costs for both heating and electricity.
Insulated Concrete Form construction prevents air from escaping through openings in the building and thus lowers the heating and cooling bills. ICF incorporates polystyrene foam to provide a precision fit which creates a tight seal with the concrete on the inside and outside of floors, walls and roofs. ICF construction not only provides energy efficiency, it also improves soundproofing, fire resistance and air quality.
Upgrading a building’s plumbing can reduce the amount of water it uses. Installing low flow faucets and toilets can significantly reduce water use. Installing underfloor heating can also reduce a buildings need for the heating of ambient air. There are also wireless systems that allow easy, real time monitoring of water usage.
Having up to date heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems will make the most of a building’s energy efficiency. Automated systems ensure that periods of little activity reduce the use of HVAC systems. The cost of installing an updated HVAC system will pay off in the long run with lower bills.