Rising utility costs are driving everyone to look for solutions in an energy efficient house. An energy efficient apartment is equipped with premium energy-saving features that result in reduced utility and maintenance costs, superior comfort and increased property value. When you focus on energy efficiency for apartment construction, units are built as cohesive systems, with each feature working in conjunction.
It’s much easier to design a correctly orientated, well-insulated, efficiently heated and well-lit building than to attempt to actively improve an already existing system. Taking into consideration the local geography and climate, as well as cleverly supplementing with passive energy-saving strategies, will pay off in the long run for your dream property. In a nutshell, energy efficiency should always be a key consideration when designing any building you want to put up.
Several factors go into building such apartments to optimize energy performance, reducing costs and improving comfort. If you’re wondering how to build a green apartment, consider these 12 influences:
1. Living Areas
Even though open plan designs are currently popular, they can be quite noisy and expensive to heat and cool. Building enclosed living areas helps keep heating and cooling costs down, reducing energy demands.
Living areas and rooms that people spend a lot of time in should face the north to catch the sun and receive natural light for most of the day. Bedrooms, on the other hand, should face the south, so they remain cool and more comfortable to sleep in at night without overheating.
3. Internal Temperature
In warmer areas, light construction materials and high floors can help keep the apartment cool. Additionally, using metallic roofs can help reflect light away and keep internal temperatures down. Strategically placed solid materials such as stone and concrete can absorb and store heat during winter, reducing heating demands.
While light from the sun is often the most affordable solution, fluorescent lights are an excellent way to save energy and are more durable than standard lamps. LED lighting can also help you save a lot of energy as they last even longer than fluorescent lights. They’re more expensive, but since technology is constantly evolving, they could become more affordable.
Creating zones by grouping rooms that have similar uses together goes a long way in ensuring that the apartment is energy efficient. For instance, zoning the living room and the dining room can allow for more efficient cooling and heating.
Incorporating too much glass during construction can make the home very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. When building, you should limit the number of windows and glass walls on the eastern and western sides of your house.
Wall, window and ceiling insulation can help maintain a more comfortable home all through the year. Curtains and blinds that stay close to window frames can also significantly improve the insulation inside the house.
Your apartment’s exterior colors can have a big effect on indoor comfort. As such, you should ensure that your walls and roofs are light-colored. This way, they’ll reflect excess heat away during summer while still keeping your home comfortable during the winter.
9. Natural Cooling
Windows should be positioned in areas where they can maximize cross-ventilation. This allows breezes to push out warm air that has built up during the day, especially in the summer.
10. Verandas and Pergolas
Paving under the windows facing the north helps reflect heat into the house. So, putting verandas and pergolas in these areas can provide much-needed summer shade.
Having eaves over windows facing the northern side can help keep the unwanted sun out during the summer. They also invite the sun’s warmth into the house during the winter.
Plant trees around the apartment to act as a shade against the unforgiving morning and afternoon sun, especially on the eastern and western sides of the building during the summer.
Remember the Basics
When building an apartment with the goal of energy efficiency in mind, always rely on building design and natural lighting to do the heavy lifting before leaning on electrical and mechanical appliances. Understanding and responding to your building’s physical orientation will significantly influence how much energy your apartment will use.