Alaska’s unprecedented heat wave had many wishing they could flip on the air-conditioning to find some relief. Air-conditioning doesn’t come standard in most Alaska homes but some homeowners still managed to keep their cool. Energy efficient homes are often touted for their ability to keep the heat in during the winter, but they also keep the heat out throughout the summer.
Homebuilders understand the value of offering customers energy efficient homes. Most new homes use at least 20% less energy. Energy efficiency can save families thousands in energy costs, plus they’re more comfortable. Because of these benefits many energy efficient options come standard in new construction.
Efficiency begins with insulation. Air leakage accounts for nearly 30% of a home’s heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Many builders now focus on providing better insulation to boost efficiency and reduce the use of heating and cooling systems.
“Insulation is a simple, cost-effect way to make your home comfortable and efficient,” said Eric Visser, president of Visser Construction. “Insulation keeps your home the desired temperature year round and reduces noise pollution. With a well-insulated house you will need very little heating and cooling help.”
Nearly 50% of a home’s energy is used for heating and cooling; the rest goes to lights, electronics, appliances and hot water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This statistic shows the importance of an efficient Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system.
HVAC is the general term for your home’s system. In Alaska, most HVAC systems don’t include air- conditioning. Major strides have been made in improving the efficiency of HVAC systems. New furnaces handle more efficient air filters and improve air quality. Efficient furnaces and boilers can convert up to 98% of energy to heat, while older models were only 56-70%.
“An efficient HVAC unit is an investment upfront that brings big returns,” Visser said. “In Alaska’s extreme climate it’s important to have a unit that’s dependable. Efficient HVAC units provide optimal comfort and lower energy bills.”
Thanks to technology and building materials, new construction homes provide a safe and efficient space for Alaska families.