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Start here to Build a Great Energy Smart Home


It is difficult to say what cost is involved in an energy efficient house.  The builders I work with who build Energy Saving Houses tell me it is only a small percentage higher.  The issue is where you start. If you are going to build a “2006 code” minimum house with the least expensive products, the percentage goes up. But, if you are planning on using some high-efficient products such as Spray foam, Ground Source Heat Pumps, top of the line windows… the cost is a very small difference. At least in dollars.


The biggest cost in a high energy efficient home that we see is in “effort”. For those who have not been trained to build efficient homes there is a learning curve. It takes “effort” to do something different. Most contractors, their subs and suppliers, are glad to join you in building a great house. But you will have to ask many times to get it done.  The game changer is the owner requiring the most energy efficient solutions for their house. Experienced contractors who often build these type homes tell me that the simple solutions are not hard to do, just different. The reaction after the first experience is very favorable. Some say they will never go back and build the old ways.


To produce an Energy Strategy Study for your new house is easy. You need to make a few key decisions.

  • What the very best answers based on cost or performance?

In other words, “How efficient do you want to go?”

  • What type insulation system do you prefer?
  • What type HVAC system to you want?
  • Are there specific things you know you want to do?

With these answers, we will help you choose the best combination and produce a study that will create an efficient whole-house energy saving system. There are hundreds of answers, but the house design, location of construction, and the simple choices above will “self-design” into a coherent system. The best answers depend on each other and the design of your house. The next two pages give a short description of insulation types and HVAC possibilities.  If you are not sure, we will walk you through the process. And remember, it is a study – you can change your mind.