By John Voket
I often wonder, is it better to have a home that is energy efficient, or comfortable? No matter where you live, there's some good information available through a new program rolling out in Massachusetts (masssave.com) that reveals how homeowners can have both.
By looking at how all of the energy-related components in your home interact - from insulation, to air leakage, to how the sun affects the home thermally - homeowners can cost-effectively achieve a home that is not only energy efficient, but also more comfortable and healthy to live in.
The site addresses several key questions that are often asked. For example:
Isn't it better to let your home "breathe" than to build it "too tight"?
Masssave.com states that energy efficient homes receive fresh air through the installation of mechanical ventilation systems. Concerns about home being built "too tight" have stemmed from many homes that are built tightly "by accident" without any thought towards mechanical ventilation.
Leaky homes do not provide the proper level of ventilation in the right places at the right time. Through extensive research and testing, building scientists have found that the best strategy for maximizing occupant health and comfort in homes is to "build tight and ventilate right."
With a simple, inexpensive ventilation system, a home can have a continuous, controlled supply of fresh air.
Will I have to sacrifice any aesthetic or design considerations to design a new home to meet ENERGY STAR standards?
Masssave.com says from both the interior and exterior, an energy efficient home looks no different than a code-built home. Any style home can be an ENERGY STAR® home – it’s all about "building in" the energy details.
Why is energy so important when building a new home?
In simple economic terms, you get more for less. Paying attention to energy details will ensure maximum comfort and excellent indoor air quality, while producing less pollution at less cost. The societal benefits are also enormous: reduced air pollution, investment in the local economy, and reduced dependence on energy supplies.