NEWSLETTER #264 April 2008 House-Building Home Page

New House Building: Money Saving, Convenience and Healthy House Tips

Energy Savings Tips For Your New House



  1. Introduction
  2. Energy costs continue to rise
  3. Energy savings techniques
  4. New Energy Savings Technologies
  5. Energy Audits
  6. Subscription Information
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All past editions of this newsletter are archived online at the following location . Please visit this page for dozens of informative past issues.


1.0 Introduction

This month's newsletter is devoted to energy savings associated with design and operation of new homes. We covered this topic approximately eighteen months ago, however with recent spikes in the cost of energy, we felt that this subject would again be of interest to our many readers.

We will provide several additional websites and technologies for your consideration. However to achieve substantial savings overall, most consumers will find that saving energy is all about the basics i.e. using green building techniques and living in a manner that conserves energy.

One additional point about our homes before we discuss energy issues. North Americans spend a substantial amount of time in their homes, some estimates suggest as much as 90%. With this in mind it is important to maintain a healthy home. Fresh air, minimize the dust and chemicals that you introduce to your home and change your furnace filter on a regular basis.

As usual with all of our newsletters we will provide useful links for our readers to find out more detailed information about each of these subjects throughout our newsletter.

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Energy costs continue to rise

In case you think that the cost of energy has not risen substantially since our last report, we decided to include a few statistics for your review. Links are provided at the end of this section for your own review.

The price of gasoline gets the most attention. It is reported every day as the price continues to increase. Did you know that the average price for a US regular retail gallon has risen from $2.18 in Nov 2006 to an average price to $3.25 per gallon in March of 2008! While gasoline is not typically used to heat our homes, it is a general indicator of just how much the price for energy has increased.

During the same time period, US Residential Natural Gas prices have remained relatively stable. However if you take a longer-term view, over the past 10 years, prices have doubled for consumers. US Electricity prices have seen similar spectacular jumps in prices. From 2002 to 2006 there was an average of 23.2% increase in the cost per kilowatt for electricity.

Most homes today are heated by either natural gas or electrical energy and air conditioning is a huge annual expense for homeowners especially those in more southern climates across the US. With energy costs continuing to increase, paying attention to your homes design and ongoing operations cost is becoming a prudent activity to reduce your annual energy footprint.

Some Useful Links:

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Energy Savings Techniques

As you can see from the previous section, saving energy is a great way to reduce your annual costs to heat and cool your home, and it will only become more important as prices continue to rise.

Our report, Special Report - Energy Savings Techniques, written in 2005 continues to be valid and current for new homeowners who want to build a home with energy conservation in mind. We have included a link to our report below for your convenience. In addition, when you purchase the Home Building Guide, you get a copy of our Energy Savings Checklist, which you can use to systematically evaluate you home for ways to save energy consumption.

Some useful links to check out:

Building a new Home? Avoid home builder construction rip-offs

Avoid  Home Building rip off Until recently, Lawrence Thomas worked for one of the largest builders in the country. Lawrence shares knowledge he gained the hard way: Dealing with hundreds of angry homeowners while managing the warranty department for one of the country's largest home builders. This book exposes the inside secrets and tactics employed by builders, and is a must read for anyone planning on buying or building a new home. It's a critical component of your education that will save time, money, and countless headaches. Order by phone, mail or online, 100% money back policy. Available as a printed book or an electronic document that can be download and you can begin working with immediately! Check it out now.

The New House Building Guide -
Learn How To Save Thousands Building Your New Home

Intimidated by the idea of being your own builder? You're not alone. Most people don't have the time, expertise, or contacts to perform this task. The good news is that you don't have to. You can use hire a builder and still save thousands. Get the House Building Guide and learn how. The Guide contains step-by-step instructions, sample specifications, an example building-contract, and dozens of money saving, convenience and healthy house building tips. This is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in building a new home. Newly released, 137 page binder, with pre-printed checklists, forms and templates!

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Help2Build will do as little or as much as you want. You decide. Our goal is to assist you in the successful completion of your new home building project. Here is a listing of just some of the services we provide. Not everyone will need all of these services, but they are provided here to illustrate the breadth and scope of what we do for you.
  • We help put a loan in place
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  • It is accessible to you at any time along with:
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  • See a virtual tour and rotate the plan in your browser.
Featured House Plan: HBF26329SD For more great house plans, visit

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New Energy Savings Technologies

There are new technologies that are being introduced to the consumer each year. Many are designed to reduce energy, yet will have an initial higher up front cost to utilize these technologies. While this can be an obstacle many consumers are unwilling to consider, looking at the longer-term savings may change your mind.

Going Off Grid

More and more consumers are considering generating their own electricity either from solar panels or from wind powered devices. These systems can be connected to the electrical power grid to enable the consumer to add power to the grid during low usage periods and to draw power from the grid during higher usage periods during the day. There are many different configurations and products available on the market. Whether you are looking for a solution to reduce your overall cost, provide back up power, or to power your cottage if it is off the grid, there are systems available to meet your needs.

One of our links entitled " New to Alternative Energy". Provides a good summary of the various approaches a consumer can consider to reduce energy consumption ranked from a low cost to a higher cost perspective.

Solar panels deserve a specific mention. Although they are really not a new technology, having been around for many years, the technology of solar panels is changing. It has long been recognized that the cost of traditional solar panels must decrease to become competitive with traditional electrical generation. Solar power generation may take advantage of Nanotechnology and look more like a roll of film vs. the traditional rectangular black panel of glass. You can find out more about this technology at the Konarka technology web site listed below.

Another example is the fluorescent bulb. Consumers can reduce their lighting energy bill by as much as 50% when these new bulbs are used in high use areas. While the initial cost can be as much as 4 or 5 times higher than the corresponding incandescent bulb, the annual operating costs and the much longer life of the fluorescent bulb more than makes up for this initial increased cost. In addition many states and provinces are considering mandating the sale of fluorescents to decrease overall energy consumption and delay the construction of additional power plants.

Some locales are also providing incentives in the form of rebates and discounts to encourage consumers to utilize this new technology.

Wind technology has also matured and becoming more economical for home owners, especially those who can tolerate a tower on their property and do not have to be concerned about zoning bylaws. For an approximate cost of $8000 to $10,000, these systems can be installed and connected to your homes electrical system. Batteries are not required. Connected to the grid, these systems will add power to the grid when they wind is strong enough and auto switch your home to draw power from the grid when there is insufficient wind to generate power. With constant wind speeds, your system can pay for itself in 4 to 5 years.

Batteryless Flashlights are another new technology that has emerged in the marketplace. Although this particular item is not considered a large consumer of energy, many people are frustrated when they use their traditional flashlight and find that the batteries are dead. Batteryless flashlights do not require batteries, just wind them up and turn them on. If the light becomes weak, just give them another crank or shake depending on the design, and you will also be avoiding polluting our landfill sites with all of these discharged batteries.

Useful Web Links:

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Energy Audits

Consumers who are building their own homes or having a contractor design and build one for them may be wondering just how energy efficient your new home actually is. Whether you live in the north and are worried about heating or in the south and are concerned about air conditioning costs, energy efficiency can make a huge difference in your annual heating or cooling costs.

One way to confirm that not only have all of your energy efficient design solutions been properly implemented, you can also review any areas of your home that may have been inadvertently missed during the design phases, construction and ongoing changes you may be making.

Consumers can purchase an Infrared imaging system or they can arrange for an expert to complete an audit on their behalf and provide a thorough and complete report. These images will show you were heat is being lost to the outdoors and conversely cold air is seeping to the outside in cooling situations. One of the advantages of having an expert complete the report, is not only will every area be covered, complete with pictures, this report may be a great sales tool if you are planning to sell your home.

Thermal imaging is non invasive, quickly shows sources of heat loss and there are a number of side benefits depending on were you live. Electrical problems may generate unwanted heat and are identified on images, plumbing issues, insect discovery such as termites, verify in-floor heat systems, building moisture issues, verify restorations and pinpoint various problem areas are just a few of the additional advantages of completing thermal imaging assessment. Thermal energy testing is best done in the wintertime for heating assessments and in the summer for cooling assessments.

Several firms will also conduct blower door tests in addition to thermal energy audits. A blower door test pressurizes a home and helps to exaggerate air leaking from a home through various openings and defects in a home that may not be readily apparent to casual observers.

Our useful links include references to inspections and how they work, infrared cameras, selecting infrared systems and a lot of general information that most consumers will need if they wish to learn more about this energy saving technique. A small investment in a thermal test may save you a great deal in your annual energy operating costs.

Useful Web Links:

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