Advanced House Framing
If you’re building a new house or adding on to an existing one, consider using advanced house framing (also known as optimum value engineering), which reduces lumber use and waste and improves energy efficiency in a wood-framed house.
Cool roofs use highly reflective materials to reflect more light and absorb less heat from sunlight, which keeps homes cooler during hot weather.
Passive Solar Home Design
Passive solar home design takes advantage of climatic and site conditions to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Earth-Sheltered, Straw Bale, Log, and Manufactured Homes
If you live in or are planning to buy an earth-sheltered, straw bale, log, or manufactured home, below is more information and links with suggestions to help improve your home’s energy efficiency:
Efficient Earth-Sheltered Homes
Earth-sheltered homes can be built underground or bermed, and—when well designed and built—can be comfortable, durable, and energy-efficient.
Straw Bale Home Design
Straw bale buildings were fairly common in the United States between 1895 and 1940, but it wasn’t until the mid- to late-1990s that building codes began to acknowledge them as a viable approach. Two current straw bale construction methods include non-load-bearing or post-and-beam, which uses a structural framework with straw bale in-fill, and load-bearing or “Nebraska style,” which uses the bearing capacity of the stacked bales to support roof loads.
Proposed straw bale structures face considerable barriers, including:
- Local building code approvals
- Building loans
- Homeowner’s insurance
- Community acceptance.
To learn about the building code standards for your state, contact your city or county building code officials. Your state energy office may be able to provide information on energy codes recommended or enforced in your state.
Energy Efficiency in Log Homes
Log homes use solid wood logs for wall structure and insulation, and require care in design, construction, and maintenance to achieve and maintain energy efficiency.
Efficient Manufactured Homes
Manufactured homes (formerly known as mobile homes) are built to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code, and are constructed on a permanent chassis so they can be moved. Owners can improve the energy efficiency of these homes by caulking and weather stripping, air sealing, and choosing energy-efficient lighting and appliances.