4 Tips for Living in High-Efficiency Homes


| 4/23/2015 2:53:00 PM


Whenever I travel, I notice a distinct difference between traditional homes and our new high-efficiency home. Because I have lived in older, less-efficient homes for most of my life, it required a bit of adjusting when we first moved in. Our new home is heated primarily from the sun, occupants and household appliances such as the stove, refrigerator and hot water heater. Despite living in Maine, our home has no furnace and just a few baseboard heaters that turn on periodically. After living in the house for over a year, I've picked up a few tips on living in a high-efficiency house.

South Facing Window 

Open the Curtains on South-Facing Windows for Free Heat

Our house has a solar orientation and relies on passive solar gains for heating during cool weather. With three very large windows and a door, most of our glazing is south-facing. It’s very important to have the curtains or blinds open to capture this free, clean and abundant heat source, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest. Even during bright cloudy days, our home warms up without using the heaters. The windows also allow daylight to stream in, making supplemental lighting unnecessary most of the time.

Change Filters on the Ventilation System  

Our house is virtually airtight. To maintain the indoor air quality, we rely on mechanical ventilation. Our home has a Zehnder heat recovery ventilation system that brings fresh air into the home and captures the heat before venting stale air out. These systems can recycle up to 95 percent of the heat and run by default, although occupants can boost the system to bring in greater quantities of fresh air when needed.

The intake air on our heat recovery ventilation system is filtered before it enters the home. We vacuum our filters every three months and replace them every six to 12 months. The filters are easy to access, making this a simple task.



High Efficiency Homes 

jefg
4/29/2015 11:41:03 AM

"Our new home is heated primarily from the sun, occupants and household appliances such as the stove, refrigerator and hot water heater...." Wait, wouldn't you avoid energy consumption and $$ if you installed instead a COLD water heater? Heating hot water seems a waste.




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