Properly designed houses - 7 criteria for energy efficient houses
The energy has become the epicenter of a reality in continuous evolution, where environmental preservation and protection are at the center of attention, creating a fertile ground for the design and construction of energy efficient houses, that redefine standards in this field and align with the vision of western countries, where tenants’ happiness, sustainability and innovation prevail. Any home, regardless of when it was built, can be energy efficient. Old buildings can be retrofitted and improve their level of energy saving, while new buildings can comply with the standards, which will allow them to be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly by reducing energy consumption and their carbon footprint.
An efficient house is one that reduces the unnecessary energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and demand for non-renewable resources. At the same time, it provides more sustainable life conditions and saves important amounts of money. More than that, it involves making the most of what we use and avoiding waste. When we reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate changes, our efficient houses help fight global warming. In this article, we will discover how a house designed and built correctly to be efficient stands out.
Efficient houses usually have some common features, including:
1. Bioclimatic design
Bioclimatic architecture is used to adapt the buildings to the local climate, considering sun exposure, precipitation and wind. It stands out by the way the houses are oriented. The glazed areas will be positioned, where possible, to the south, towards the light, as well as towards areas of interest such as the garden, lake, park or an exit to the terrace from the rooms of the house or apartment. Proportion, volume and position of windows will save energy in both lighting and heating. In this sense, it is good that there are as few glazed areas possible to the north.
2. Use of sustainable materials
A sustainable house will use sustainable technical solutions and durable, quality materials with a long lifespan. The use of sustainable technical solutions – a significant part of the materials are recyclable and all have a long lifespan. Here we also refer to the correct management of utilities and how they are integrated into the architecture and how we have access to them. They must be laced correctly in the house with easy access, so they won’t be a danger for the tenants. For example, a specific element of an efficient house could be the district heating plant, whose advantages are very good efficiency and visible cost efficiency, care for the environment, but also a good air quality and increased safety for its residents.
3. Thermal insulation
The secret of energy efficiency in the house is insulating the walls with materials with a good vapor permeability (basalt wool), but also integrating an optimal roof in the house structure, alongside tall windows, which don’t waste heath and through which natural light can penetrate properly. All these together will allow the inhabitants to reduce energy bills with up to 40%. Ventilated facades will play an essential role in keeping a thermal comfort inside, regardless of the season (in the summer, air conditioning won’t be needed, which means energy saving), ensuring a correct circuit of the air from the outside to the inside. A house with a ventilated facade “breathes” and is friendly to both the surrounding nature and its residents.
4. Optimizing interior spaces
The house whose small, unusable spaces will be reduced from the start will add meaning and value for the residents, as they will be able to efficiently use the spaces that will have regular shapes, according to the purpose that each individual room will have. Spaces that are properly allocated and effectively delineated for the benefit of the residents will transform the home into a place where they find themselves, relax and be themselves. If the areas of interest will perform their functions correctly, at the right time, facilitating a balanced use of resources, then the house they belong to will be an energy efficient one from the start.
5. Access to garden / terrace from all rooms
This unique aspect contributes considerably to the efficiency of the house, because an efficient house is not only a house that saves money, but also one that brings a sense of well-being by facilitating a direct connection with nature. The amount of natural light, but also to a beautiful view to the outside will be beneficial in the proliferation of the efficiency of a house, which gradually turns into the ideal home, welcoming, comfortable and efficient in solving the immediate needs of the people who live here.
6. Intelligent systems
A smart house will use thermostats and intelligent solutions for lighting or regulating the ambient temperature, offering substantial savings in resource consumption. At the same time, the use of high-performance appliances, such as heat pumps (which maintain a constant temperature in the house), or other smart technologies for which efficient houses are prepared will make a difference for its inhabitants. On the same note, an intelligent system will also measure self-consumption, which will aim to eliminate costs and use solutions in accordance with the principles of a sustainable house.
7. Ensuring a healthy microclimate
The appropriate height of the rooms (2.7 m minimum) will give a positive pressure to the air, but also an optimal humidity (air neither too wet nor too dry), preventing the occurrence of health conditions in case of an imbalance in this sense. If the rooms have been designed to fulfill the comfort function from all points of view, but also to provide a pleasant interior ambience, no additional resources will be used to humidify/dry the air. This is often found in houses where the depth of the rooms, correct use of sunlight and neighborhood orientation are calculated to obtain an energy efficient house.
h4l houses and apartments respect all these criteria and are built to face the new climate challenges, without having a negative impact on the environment or on the well-being and health of its future inhabitants. If you knew you could live a healthy and harmonious life with a low carbon footprint and respect for nature, would you choose to live in an efficient home that would be your home for life?