Efficient house plans allow builders to take advantages of the natural features of the region and the building site. Such plans consider efficiency in insulation, construction materials and devices that use energy to keep the home comfortable.
To maximize efficiency, efficient home plans consider the local climate. While providing proper insulation improves the efficiency, taking advantage of natural ventilation can reduce air conditioning costs. Increasing the roof overhang allows the home to take advantage of passive solar heating during colder months yet shades the windows when the sun is directly overhead to reduce air conditioning loads. Orienting the home to reduce the number of windows facing east or west also reduces heating load.
Efficient home plans consider many different types of building materials. In addition to traditional building using wood framing, they offer options such as straw bale construction, earth sheltering or optimum value engineering that reduce the use of resources. Efficient home plans take advantage of state-of-the-art appliances. Such appliances improve both energy and water efficiency.
Efficiency requires a whole-home approach. The process begins at the planning stages of a new home. However, true efficiency also depends on the habits of the home occupants. Updating to efficient appliances as they become available improves the overall efficiency of any home.