Improving our environment to achieve a more sustainable planet is nowadays one of the most important factors to take into account when investing in a home. Thus, energy-efficient homes have become increasingly popular in the market, as they not only help to prevent pollution, but also reduce unnecessary costs for the owner. Irresponsible use of energy sends more and more CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, which is why energy-efficient homes are another way of protecting the planet.
What is an energy-efficient home?
Energy efficiency can be defined as the efficient use of energy, i.e. using the resources available to us in a responsible and intelligent way to avoid energy loss, as well as improving the processes by which it is generated, which translates into a greater use of renewable or alternative energies.
The aim of energy-efficient homes is to protect the environment by reducing the use of energy, by getting the owner into the habit of consuming only the energy that is necessary and not wasting it. By doing so, greenhouse gas emissions, which are the cause of climate change and global warming, can be significantly reduced.
And how do you create an energy-efficient home?
The construction of an efficient building or house, or its renovation to increase its efficiency, involves the use of materials that provide thermal insulation in walls, ceilings, doors and windows, as the energy used to air-condition a home is one of the main causes of energy expenditure polluting the planet and hurting our pockets. Insulating floors and facades allows for a comfortable temperature all year round, reducing the energy used for heating and cooling.
Another important aspect of energy-efficient homes is their orientation and the installation of windows that allow natural light in for as many hours as possible and provide protection from the outside temperature. Reducing energy costs requires the use of LED lighting in the home, which achieves the same level of illumination as traditional light bulbs, but uses much less energy.
The installation and use of renewable energies —solar panels and electricity storage systems— and the implementation of technological improvements inside the home, known as home automation, will also contribute to a reduction in harmful emissions and optimisation of consumption.
Currently, all new buildings must be energy rated. This rating is obtained through a technician’s analysis of the various components of the building. Thus, the materials used in the construction of the exterior of the house are checked to ensure that they provide good insulation.
The orientation of the house and the use of renewable energy production systems are also taken into account. The quality of the windows must be excellent in order to ensure good insulation, both acoustic and thermal. The condition of household appliances, as well as air conditioning, hot water and heating installations are also examined. This results in the energy rating certificate, which categorises the property on a scale from A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient rating.
Main features and advantages of an efficient home
Efficient homes typically have the following characteristics:
- Bioclimatic design. Bioclimatic architecture consists of constructing buildings that are adapted to the climate of the city in which they are located, taking into account elements such as the hours of exposure to the sun, whether it is a rainy or windy area, etc.
- Intelligent use of space. The use of space, the layout of the space and the arrangement of windows will also lead to savings in heating, cooling and lighting.
- Use of sustainable materials. Rammed earth and bioplastics derived from plant products are biodegradable building materials that have better thermal characteristics than other materials.
- Thermal insulation As we have already mentioned, the insulation of walls, floors, windows and ceilings is the main key to energy savings, which can amount to up to 40%.
- Home automation. This is the set of technological systems that are applied to the intelligent control and automation of the home for a more efficient management of energy consumption. Here you can find out everything you need to know about home automation.
- Self-consumption of electricity. By installing solar panels and wind generators, electricity consumption is substantially reduced.
As you can see, living in an energy-efficient home has many advantages and benefits, not only for our savings, but also for our environment.