What is meant by energy-efficient buildingsEnergy-efficient buildings are those buildings which are designed in a manner so as to significantly decrease the energy consumption of a building through a change in heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation or other suitable means. They may be newly constructed buildings or existing buildings. There are several ways by which the energy efficiency of a building can be increased. They are as follows.
Natural lightingEverybody is aware of the benefits of natural light. Use of natural lighting improves the mood of people, makes them healthier, more productive and happier. Natural lighting also makes the interior attractive and improves upon the appearance. Hence, natural lighting is to be preferred over artificial lights. To increase the influx of natural light in homes or offices, the size of the windows can be increased. Thick and thin curtains can be used accordingly for maximum use of natural lighting.
Thermal InsulationProper thermal insulation is necessary, as it makes building airtight and it should be designed to lower heating and cooling according to needs. To achieve this, conventional walls can be replaced by a high-performance thermal insulation system. For better insulation, double glazed glass can be used. Double glazed glass reduces the amount of heat transfer from inside to outside and vice versa and is thus helpful in summers. Double glazed glass also reduces the noise that comes in. So, if good thermal insulation measures are adopted, this will in turn, reduce energy consumption and your electric bill as well.
Natural ventilationNatural ventilation provides fresh incoming air which helps to remove odour from rooms. Large-sized windows must be installed so that natural ventilation can be increased. There should be separate openings for incoming air and exhaust. Choose of proper ventilation will also maintain good air quality and also prevent moisture build-up inside the building.
Enhanced air conditioningProper insulation of the wall can enhance energy efficiency. The roof should have an insulated coat of paint. Close your drapes or drop windows shades during the day time. Installation of new doors and windows will also prevent leakage of airconditioned air. Set the indoor temperature to around 25-26 degree C. Air conditioning could be made more efficient by using ceiling fans. Star rated air conditioners should be used.
Building orientationAppropriate building orientation helps to save energy in heating, cooling and lighting of the building. Building orientation and shape of the building should such that it can have maximum exposure to natural light. By adopting proper orientation, the building will be warm during winter and cool during summer.
Roofing materialIt is also a good idea to think about roofing material in your building. Because a mere change in the roofing material can save you a lot on energy costs. You can plan good roofing material for a new building or replace in an existing building. Some of the most popular energy-efficient roofing materials are asphalt shingles, shake shingles, tile roofing, slate roofing, metal roofing, etc. You can choose light colour shingles for hotter regions while dark coloured shingles for cooler areas. Select star rated roofing materials only.
Energy-efficient fixtures Energy-efficient fixtures should be installed. Apart from this, replace very old equipment that consumes lot of electricity/energy. If possible, change old equipment like very old refrigerators, air conditioners and water heaters. Always use certified and star rated equipment. High performance and energy-efficient equipment can give 15% to 30 % energy saving. An energy-efficient and star rated computer system saves 30% to 65% energy. Energy-efficient water faucets should be used.
Installation of water meters Water meters should be installed to check the consumption of water whether potable, stored rainwater, treated wastewater, etc. Water meter helps to monitor and prevent wastage of water. Overflow of water from overhead tanks can also be prevented by the help of a water meter.
Separate water bills Separate your water bills from other tenants or residents by using a separate water meter, so that you will be aware of your water consumption.
Use of LED lightsLED lights consume very less energy than conventional lights and CFL. Replacement of conventional lights with LED lights can reduce energy consumption by up to 75%. They are free of lead or mercury and do not produce ultraviolet rays. Besides, they are long-lasting, compared to incandescent bulbs and CFL.
Installation of solar equipmentTo reduce your energy bills, renewable energy sources can be considered like solar energy and wind energy. However, in homes, we can install solar energy equipment like solar water heater, solar lights, solar water cooler, and solar air conditioner.
Apart from these, some other tips that are very useful and can be easily followed are given below:
I appreciate the quality content on such a good topic on energy-efficient buildings. One should always take care of the location of the building while buying land for the house or building to be constructed. One should always prefer a building location optimizing sunlight during a day. Proper design of building makes natural air ventilation better. Always have opposite doors or windows or door-window pairs so as to have better ventilation. One should use quality paint which reduces the temperature penetration inside the room.