Northwest homebuilders focus on increasing energy efficiency

Fri, 06/07/2013 - 17:09

Homebuilders in the northwest are focusing their energy on constructing greater, more sustainable structures. As more and more homeowners are seeking properties with eco-friendly technologies included in the design, builders are being forced to up their game. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is working with designers, architects, homebuilders and other construction professionals to pilot a new residential homes program that will demonstrate and evaluate the outcome of installing sustainable technologies inside houses. 
"These higher performance homes will be used to identify the most cost-effective methods for achieving the greatest amount of energy savings while paving a pathway for future code adoption," said Neil Grigsby, who manages NEEA's homes initiative, said in a press release. "The best practices and technologies of the pilot will help get builders ahead of code changes, achieve greater cost-effective energy savings and increased comfort for customers in the long-term." 
Pilot programs are being introduced to rural, suburban and urban areas across the northwestern portion of the United States. The NEEA will focus on working with building developers and utility providers to measure the effectiveness of certain technologies and material installations. One of the systems being put into place in a number of the test homes is radiant floor heating. This eco-friendly flooring option has already proven to reduce fossil fuel use in both residential and commercial structures. 
A radiant floor heating system uses the science behind convection - heat is transferred through the floorboards and then spreads to fill a space. Warmth is evenly distributed throughout an entire building or an individual room because there are no vents pushing hot air around the house. The even distribution of heat, when combined with quality insulation, allows a heating system to use less energy to keep the temperature of a home at a desired level.