Secrets of an Energy Star Home: How To Make Your Home More Efficient

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I recently had the chance to tour an Energy Star rated home here in Kansas City. The architect and builder, Tyson Siegele of Skyworks Designs, opened the all-electric house up to us for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at energy-saving features like the hybrid hot water heater, SIP panel construction, and tri-layer windows:

As an Energy Star rated home, the project had to meet the criteria of three thorough checklists:

  • Thermal Enclosure System Checklist
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Checklist
  • Water Management System Checklist

Following inspection by an Energy Star rater, a report is generated on the home's performance and a HERS score is given. This home received a HERS score of 40, meaning that it uses 60% less energy than a typical new home. That means $2,878 in savings per year on energy costs. Check out the slideshow to get a closer look at many of the home's energy-saving features.

This is a pretty impressive departure from the conventionally-built home. However, most of us aren't building from scratch and are interested in making our existing homes more efficient. So I asked Tyson to share with me some tips for greening your home even if you're working with an old 1930s fixer-upper like I am. Here's what he had to say:

  • This Energy Star document is a great DIY resource for sealing attics and basements, two major areas that are relatively easy to improve that should make a sizable impact on heating and cooling costs. This is definitely the low-hanging fruit that people should do before anything else.
  • If you have an electric hot water heater that needs replacing, upgrading to a hybrid electric makes a lot of sense. The one I used in my home saves $365 per year and has an energy factor of 2.4.

Now that you've had an up-close look at some of the energy-saving details hidden away in the house, head on over to Skyworks Designs to see the home's architecture and for lots more on its green features. "Like" Skyworks Designs on Facebook for lots of interesting updates from Tyson.

(Thanks, Tyson!)

(Image credits: Regina Yunghans; Skyworks Designs)

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