Imagine assembling the smartest home possible. It would have the latest technology, the best use of sustainable materials and use the least amount of energy. Never mind that employing all of these items in a single home would be cost prohibitive and some of the technology isn’t actually available yet. We wanted to show you what is possible to save energy, use renewables and be the smartest home on the block. The Joneses got nothin’ on you.
1. SUPER-EFFICIENT AND RENEWABLE WALL ASSEMBLIES
Continuous insulation reaches across all structural members without thermal bridges, fasteners or openings.
This wall assembly includes renewable and sustainable materials like wood framing, cellulose cavity insulation, and continuous mineral wool exterior insulation. Adding two inches of exterior insulation on the wall can make it perform up to 50 percent better than the same wall without it. It not only saves you money, but gives you consistent, year-round comfort in every room.
2. SMART APPLIANCES
Turn on your oven, turn down your heat or ask Alexa how much time is left on the wash cycle. Smart appliances add convenience and will use anywhere from 10 to 50 percent less energy each year than a non-energy efficient equivalent.
Within the next two years, most major appliance makers will oﬀ er extensive lineups of smart appliances, including voice-enabled technology. This technology means you can start a load of laundry from your phone while at work, ask Google Assistant to preheat the oven, or automatically reorder dish detergent from Amazon when your dishwasher detects it’s running low. As an added bonus, these smart appliances are also energyefficient.
On average, home appliances — including clothes washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers and humidifies — will account for 20 percent of your home’s total electric bill. ENERGY STAR smart appliances, which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy, can reduce that share and can oft en optimize energy use and track how much energy your appliances are using. The average home appliance lasts for 10 to 20 years, so saving 10-50 percent of your energy use adds up over time.
SOURCES: ENERGYSTAR.GOV AND CONSUMERREPORTS.COM
3. HEALTHY LED LIGHTING SYSTEM
Simulated daylight with LED lighting to help you stay awake by day and sleep well at night.
The right technology uses high-performance LEDs to simulate natural light to promote a healthy circadian rhythm. The cool white setting simulates sunshine, to make you alert and active like being outside on a sunny day. In the evening, its warm white setting makes your body produce melatonin, making you relaxed and tired.
4. DESUPERHEATER FOR HOT WATER WITH A HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER AS BACKUP
Include a desuperheater to make hot water. It uses your GSHP to provide about half of the hot water you need every year.
Under typical conditions, a geothermal system will produce about 50 percent of your home’s annual hot water needs. When operating, a desuperheater is capable of producing hot water with a temperature of 120 F to 150 F. Make up the other 50 percent of the hot water with a heat pump water heater. It uses ambient heat to produce hot water. It’s more than twice as efficient as a regular electric water heater, resulting in signiﬁcant savings.
5. GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMP HVAC SYSTEM
A geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and/or cooling system that transfers heat to or from the ground.
Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. Although many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes — from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter — a few feet below the earth’s surface the ground remains at a relatively constant temperature. Like a cave, this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The GSHP takes advantage of this by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger. There’s an added bonus of never having to touch your thermostat. This is truly a “set it and forget it” model. Ground source heat pumps operate best at one temperature 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long.
6. EV CHARGER, WITH AN EV, IN THE GARAGE
Electric vehicle charger for an electric vehicle
Putting an EV charging station in your garage is simple. All you have to do is add a 220 volt plug in the garage — the same plug electric clothes dryers use. You can charge your car three to four times faster than you could with just an extension cord(1). In addition to almost no maintenance cost besides tires, you’ll also spend about 5 cents per mile to drive an EV, against 13 cents per mile for a gas vehicle(2). Now all you need is the coolest electric car on the market.
SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY. 1) SOURCE: HTTPS://WWW.CLIPPERCREEK.COM/LEVEL-1-LEVEL-2-CHARGING-STATIONS/ 2) SOURCE: HTTPS://AVT.INL.GOV/SITES/DEFAULT/FILES/PDF/FSEV/COSTS.PDF
The Green Path Energy Efficiency Tour is sponsored by Xcel Energy.