How do we make our homes more energy efficient?
Flatirons Habitat has focused over the past 15 years on building homes that are energy efficient. That saves our homeowners money!
When we build homes, we make sure that we are being energy efficient in the materials we use and the way our homes are constructed. By making our homes more energy efficient, it lowers the cost burden for our homeowners leading to more affordable housing in the community.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by using certain lengths of wood that gives us more space for insulation. When constructing a Habitat home, we frame our homes using 2x6s, opposed to 2x4s. By doing this, we are able to put a lot more insulation in the walls. That in turn provides more resistance to heat flow and lowers the heating and cooling costs for our homeowners.
We also spend a lot of time making sure seams in our homes are sealed. Flatirons Habitat does this because the key to an energy-efficient home is making sure that air is not leaking out of the house.
In addition to those measures, we do not use a traditional furnace in our Habitat homes. Instead we use a unit that is electric and not gas operated. This unit is able to provide both cooling and heating. Flatirons Habitat also uses solar technology for our roofs, which helps generate electrical power. This is done through a program with the City of Boulder, which provides funding to implement that technology.
All of this helps keep the cost of home affordable. When we talk about affordable housing, it is important to note that it does not mean just the cost to buy a house. It also refers to the expenses needed to live in and maintain a home.
We follow guidelines set forth by the City of Boulder in regards to making our homes energy efficient, whether it is the windows we use, the doors we install or the materials we use to cover foundations.
Due to cost savings elsewhere, our energy efficiency measures do not add significantly to the price to build a home.
Moving forward, we are partnering with a group of students from the University of Colorado Boulder as part of the Solar Decathlon. The collegiate competition by the U.S. Department of Energy aims to encourage students to design and build high-performance, low-carbon buildings that mitigate climate change and improve quality of life through greater affordability, resilience, and energy efficiency, according to the department's website.
Our group of students aim to build a carriage-style home at our Ponderosa site in North Boulder. The home they will build will use sustainable and energy-efficient materials in order to create a net-zero energy home.