The leading factor that dictates the energy efficiency of a home is its building envelope. Popular and effective building envelopes for new construction include spray foam insulation and structural insulated panels (SIP). Spray foam insulation, compared with fiberglass insulation, has a superior resistance to heat loss, more than triple the life span, and does not accumulate dust or pollen. SIP panels are manufactured according to a home’s plans, with each wall, corner, and roof piece fitting together like a glove. The panels are then caulked at intersecting points. Utility lines can be pre-cut to make the assembly and the utility rough-ins straightforward. When renovating an existing home, options include weather stripping and window-insulating kits, insulating drapes, and double-pane windows filled with argon gas. Additional options include ENERGY STAR appliances, LED lights, and HVAC systems that can be controlled via a mobile phone app. The Nest is the most widely known smart thermostat, but it can also be programmed manually. Furthermore, smart thermostats can “learn” a homeowner’s weekly schedule, and self-adjust the home’s energy systems based on that routine. For example, the heat can drop to 65 degrees when the house is empty but warm up to 72 when the home’s inhabitants return. | Read More