Are New Homes More Energy Efficient?

new house energy efficient

So, are new homes more energy efficient? New homes are more energy efficient because they are built using energy-efficient doors and windows, better insulation, Energy Star appliances and smart home heating and thermostats. With new advancements in technology, new homes are becoming more energy efficient.

Modern day new build homes follow building standards that require a certain degree of energy-efficiency. Additionally, door and window manufacturers are increasingly focused on making energy efficient doors and windows.

In the years part, home builders were not focused on energy efficient builds. Also, these builders did not have access to high efficient building supplies. As the manufacturing of these building supplies evolved and the increased awareness took over households – more and more builders have been changing the way they build homes.

If you’re purchasing a new construction home today – whether in Canada or the USA – your home is considered to be more energy efficient than older homes!

energy efficient home

Credit: Natural Resources Canada (Government of Canada)

However, it doesn’t mean that an older home can’t be energy efficient. An existing older home can be upgraded in various areas to improve it’s efficiency. It all comes down to the upgrades in the home, coupled with the actions of the homeowner.

For example, a new construction home may have great insulation and certified windows, but if the homeowner doesn’t lock the window completely in the winter – it can cause a cold draft that can increase heating costs.

There are a few factors that can make a home more energy efficient:

  • Good insulation
  • Airtight construction
  • Air-sealing
  • Energy-efficient or Energy Star windows
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Energy Star HVAC and equipment
  • LED lighting
  • Solar panels

Energy Efficient House Features

Good Insulation

A home with proper insulation will ensure that you save money on energy costs. Whether it’s spray foam insulation or traditional insulation – all areas of the home need to be insulation. These includes basements, attics and all walls. You can save a considerable amount of money on heating costs when you have good insulation. A new construction home will be well insulated if built by a reputable builder.

Airtight Construction

An airtight construction ensures that there are no gaps in the construction to allow for air to seep into the home. When installing door and windows, the installers need to ensure there are no drafts – this is done by verifying it is an air tight installation.

Air-sealing

Air-sealing is the process of sealing all air pockets and air leaks in your home. While building a new construction home, a builder may miss one or two things. With air sealing, you can prevent any future issues with the energy-efficiency of a home. There are professional air sealing companies that can provide you with a quote after your home is built.

A home with air leaks can be dramatically expensive on the energy front, if not corrected within the first few months.

Energy Star Windows and Doors

Nowadays, there are many manufacturers who are improving the energy efficiency of their products. A new construction home with Energy Star windows and doors will generally be considered to be more energy-efficient.

These windows have better framing and sealing and double panes – providing added efficiency. If you’re building a new construction home, you can ask your builder about the windows and doors being used for your build.

Energy Star Appliances

Your appliances have energy ratings and those identified by Energy Star indicate that they are more energy efficient in comparison to those that do not have that rating. In your home, your stove, dryer, washing machine and dishwasher can be high consumers of energy. Nowadays, these appliances are cheaper and easily available from major department stores.

Energy Star HVAC and Equipment

The heating, ventilation and air condition system in your home also comes with an energy rating. When these equipment are rated Energy Star, you are adding to the energy efficiency of your home. An existing home could also be upgraded with these equipment to become more efficient.

LED Lighting

LED lighting and energy-efficient lighting are a real thing and more new homes are becoming users of them. Whether you’re lighting up a bedroom or your basement – you can now buy energy efficient light bulbs for the home. These are low-watt bulbs using less energy than the old 60W bulbs we used to have several years ago.

If you currently use old bulbs, you can easily upgrade them as they burn out.

Solar Panels

An increasing number of new construction homes are now using the technology behind solar panels to power their home. The benefits outweigh the expense of installing solar panels – but it’s a long-term initiative. Today, solar panels are becoming a popular source of energy for new homes.

Fortunately, new construction home builders are offering solar panel installations as part of home upgrades. 

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat like Ecobee or Nest can be a great addition to the home, as it regulates the heating in the home. A smart thermostat can help save heating costs for a new or existing home.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that the homeowner plays a huge role in maintaining an energy-efficient home. For example, you can upgrade several items in the home for long-term savings. Additionally, we also recommend staying knowledgeable on standby power consumption.

While turned off, your appliances and equipment still use some level of power to run timers, back-end applications and to stay connected to a network. It is estimated that standby consumption uses about 5-10% of your annual energy consumption.