Energy efficient homes

Winter is coming soon and the topic of warm houses becomes relevant again. In this article I will go over the basics of building energy efficient homes.

Energy efficient homes are considered the homes that can effectively keep the heat inside the house for a long time and with minimal losses.

In practice this means that the inhabitants of such a home, after heating up the inside of the house and turning off all heating devices will be able to enjoy a warm house for a long time, despite the external climatic conditions (or cold, if instead of heating the inhabitants of used cooling, but more often than not we are talking about heat).

In many countries there are strict standards in place for building energy efficient homes. For example, in some European countries, you simply will not be allowed building a house that doesn’t meet such standards of heat efficiency.

So, how do you get such a home?  

Traditional approach to building energy efficient homes assumes building of a kind of “home-thermos.” In order to achieve the desired effect, usually, excellent thermal insulation and heat recovery ventilation system are used.

On top of it, in addition to the above mentioned, competent engineers will pay attention to the windows, which must be equipped with special energy-efficient sealed insulating glass units. In such windows between the panes there is inert gas that poorly conducts heat, or vacuum. If you do not use special windows, then glazing of only one floor will negate all of the efforts of building an energy efficient home.

An additional measure to prevent loss of heat is a special layout of the house, which includes an entrance vestibule that doesn’t let the cold air inside the house, and some other techniques.

At the same time, in a large-scale construction of energy efficient homes almost nobody pays attention to the fact that expenses can be significantly reduced.
You just need has to pay attention not only to modern technologies and materials used in construction, but also to the shape of the house.

Let’s look at a traditional house. Take a bare minimum: four walls covered on top with a flat roof. And eight corners. You should know that corners are the coldest areas in your house, because they act as ribs of a huge cooling radiator of your home.

Eight corners – this is typical only in a minimalist version: a motorhome, a caravan, or a trash can. Take a look at these homes and try to count how many corners they have:

Energy-efficient-homes-2

Energy-efficient-homes-3

Yes, engineers know this, and try to compensate for this using additional heat insulation. Which, first of all, doesn’t always work, and secondly, it happens at your expense: designing additional heat insulation, purchasing it and installing it.

The heat from the house escapes into the atmosphere through its surface. The larger the surface area of a house, the faster the heat escapes.
In classic homes surface areas that emit heat are huge, because they include not only a roof, but also walls and corners formed by joining of walls and roofs.
Hence, in order to reduce heat loss, together with other measures, you would need to reduce the number of angles and planes of your home…

If we open a geometry textbook, we can recall that a figure that has a maximum internal volume with minimal surface area is a sphere. Moreover, a sphere, as you know, has no angles.
From this we can conclude that the ideal shape for an energy efficient home is a hemisphere. That is, a dome home. It does not matter whether it’s a wooden dome home or a dome structure made of a different material. With other parameters being equal, a dome home will save energy more effectively than a traditionally shape house.

Let me use a calculator to prove my point:  

A dome home with a diameter of 15.5 meters, a total area of 311 square meters and three floors has a surface area of 383 square meters,
and
a traditional house, 10 by 10 meters, with three floors, a total area of 300 square meters and a primitive flat roof
has a surface area of 460 square meters.

You can see that a dome home has a surface area that is 17% less than a surface area of a comparable traditional home.
Taking into account a smaller internal volume and specificity of the natural circulation of air flows inside the dome house, such house is easier to heat and it will preserve the heat longer.

Thus, we can conclude that dome homes have every reason to be called energy efficient homes.

In addition to all, i recommend to read this article http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-home-design

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About the author

Bob F
Bob F