10 Design Choices to Make Your Custom Home Energy-Efficient
If you’re building a custom home in Alaska, of course you want it to be beautiful and functional, but energy efficiency is another factor you need to consider when choosing your design/build team.
With our uncompromising vision and seamless execution, Falcon Alaska is committed to exceeding your expectations at every step. We follow a streamlined process that allows us to create a whole structure system that optimizes efficiency.
In our climate, an energy-efficient home isn’t just a modern luxury — it’s a necessity. Learn about 10 choices that blend innovative design with eco-conscious building.
1. Concrete Slab Foundations
Concrete has long been the go-to material for durable foundations across all climates. It withstands high soil pressure, rot, and mold to resist deterioration over time.
Concrete foundations have a small environmental footprint and a long life span. Homes with solid pour concrete foundations will last for a century, and the foundation is 100% recyclable at the end of its life cycle.
2. Advanced Framing
Advanced framing is a modern technique for reducing lumber use and waste during construction. It provides a win-win solution, replacing excess lumber with insulation materials to boost energy efficiency without compromising structural integrity.
It significantly improves R-value by reducing thermal bridging and maximizing insulated wall area for a warm, efficient home.
3. Airtight Building Envelopes
Creating an airtight barrier between the icy exterior and your home’s cozy interior is crucial. The walls, windows, roof, and foundation form this protective shield and account for 30% of the energy your home consumes.
A high-performance building envelope reduces heating and cooling loads and allows for natural lighting and ventilation.
4. Passive Solar Design
A home that uses passive solar design captures solar energy to light and warm your space naturally. The key is to orient as many windows as possible within 30 degrees of true south.
Strategically planted landscaping is another important feature that enables your home to bask in the sun’s warmth during the heating season while staying cool and shaded during Alaska’s warm, bright summer.
5. Steep Roofs
Snow adds excess weight to your roof and can make it difficult to efficiently heat your home. A steep gabled roof encourages snow to melt and slide off faster, preventing accumulation and ice dams that could damage your home.
6. Solar Panels
Installing solar panels means investing in a greener, more cost-effective future. Solar panels transform Alaska’s abundant summertime sunlight into electricity, reducing your utility bills and environmental impact for years to come.
Your panels may produce excess electricity during the spring and summer. You can sell the energy back to the utility company for a credit on future utility bills. Your solar panels may produce significantly less power in the fall and winter because of the limited sunlight, so this can supplement your electricity needs.
7. Quality Insulation
Insulation keeps conditioned or heated air in and the exterior air out, helping your HVAC system work more efficiently. Quality insulation is defined by its thermal resistance or R-value, which indicates how well it slows heat gain or loss. The higher the R-value, the greater the material’s effectiveness.
8. Mechanical Ventilation
A well-insulated home keeps out cold air, but it also keeps air trapped inside, which can lead to poor indoor air quality. Installing a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system ensures fresh air circulation while recovering heat from the exhaust air. This helps you breathe easier while minimizing the impact on your energy bills and carbon footprint.
9. High-Performance Windows
Not all windows are created equal. ENERGY STAR®-certified high-performance windows significantly reduce energy loss.
Windows must have a superior U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance, and air infiltration rate to earn an ENERGY STAR® certification. When shopping for window options, remember that well-insulated windows have an R-value of 5 or higher.
10. Snow-Melting Systems
Investing in a snow-melting system for your walking paths and driveway promotes a safer winter with less shoveling and plowing involved. Reducing the need for manual snow removal saves you time and effort while maintaining clear, safe access to and from your property.
Build a Greener Home With Falcon Alaska
If you need an environmentally minded design/build team to ensure minimal waste and optimal energy efficiency, work with Falcon Alaska. We’ll ensure the best value for your investment because we provide a client-centric approach that can bring your dream home to life.
Turnkey design service, exceptional build quality, and transparent communication allow us to ensure your satisfaction and craft a home that will stand the test of time.