If you’re more than a few degrees north or south of the equator, then you will probably experience some form of winter. Whether it’s the mild cold of the Southern US, the Subzero temps in the Dakotas or the wild snows of the Pacific Northwest, your home needs to stand up to changing conditions. When it comes to sustainable building, there are plenty of features you can design into a custom home that will keep up or even increase efficiency in your house during winter. Let PSE Consulting Engineers show you how!
Utilize Natural Light
Sometimes, going green can be as simple as a single design element. Utilizing natural light during the winter can help cut down on electricity bills. Arrange your custom home so that the most used rooms face South, where extra light can enter. To avoid these areas overheating or getting too bright in summer, plant deciduous (leaf-dropping) trees outside these windows to keep up shade in summer and bring in plenty of light in winter.
Opt for Sustainable Heat
In winter, it’s all about keeping warm. When it comes to heating your green custom home, there are plenty of natural options to help reduce utility bills and increase efficiency. Depending on where you build, geothermal heat could be a fabulous option. You can also choose solar water heating or put in a wood-burning stove to heat common spaces.
Seal Out the Cold
You don’t have to opt for the latest advances in green building to make your home sustainable during winter. Whether you’re designing a new custom home or just making improvements to an existing home, sealing out the cold at the windows, doors, and where pipes and wires enter the house can drastically improve home efficiency. Extra steps can be taken during the building process, such as double sealing windows by taping the flange to the sheathing, to create additional air barriers. You can also design features such as an “airlock” front entry – a vestibule with two separate doors that reduce cold air entering the home. There are plenty of ways to seal out the cold in a custom-built home.
Choose the Best Materials
The materials you choose for your custom sustainable home are vitally important to how well it performs during the winter. From your insulation to your windows, choose materials with a high R-value. The R-value measures how well a material insulates. Higher R-values mean more warmth and less transfer of heat between the interior and exterior. You can choose to build with a naturally insulating material such as a rammed earth home or a straw bale home, or just choose an eco-friendly insulation such as cellulose, which is made with up to 85% recycled materials.
When it comes to sustainable design for winter in a custom home, no one designs it better than PSE Consulting Engineers. Call us today to explore all of your options for building your dream and green custom home.