In the latest Bayfield Training Webinar, Sonia Martin-Gutierrez, in collaboration with John Wolfendale, present: Why build an energy-efficient home. 

To begin, John outlines the primary reason to build an energy-efficient home. Simply put, energy-efficient homes are more comfortable, less expensive to build and operate, worth more, and help save the planet.

Next, John reviewed each of these factors individually. Firstly, John argues energy-efficient houses are more comfortable—of course, comfort is inherently subjective. However, it can be broken down to include a few tangible factors, such as a combination of temperature, humidity, and air movement.

Why is an energy-efficient home more comfortable?

Next, John expands that comfort can be further scrutinized via the Passive House standards.

Passive houses came out of Northern Europe. Specifically, a passive house is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. Passive houses are built to a rigorous voluntary standard, with superinsulation, low-volume heat recovery ventilation systems, and tightly controlled air infiltration rates, which combine to make sure the building’s carbon footprint is as small as possible. Consequently, a building can manage without conventional heating systems.

With this in mind, John reverted to the question of comfortability. Specifically, a passive house can provide comfort in various ways. For example, the house will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Moreover, it will have cleaner, healthier air quality inside—finally, peace and quiet when the windows are shut.

Why is an energy-efficient home less expensive?

John explains that an energy efficient house is less expensive to build through a case study of a Villa he was involved in building in Marbella.

The Villa is on the grid; thus, it can be supplemented by grid electricity. The entire renewable energy system is photovoltaic panels. It has electricity to provide hot water for the kitchen and bathroom in the winter and summer to provide air conditioning.

John also provided a financial analysis. The present value of all the costs without the system is €115,000. And the present value of all the costs with the system is €94,000. John emphasizes that before deciding to build an energy-efficient home one must engage in a NPV analysis of all the costs involved.

Why is an energy-efficient home worth more?

John concedes that the claim that energy-efficient homes are worth more is a bold claim. Nonetheless, some research argues that people will pay more for an energy-efficient home. For example, John cites a journal article from 2012, arguing that energy-efficient homes are 9% more valuable than non-energy efficient homes. Moreover, The Guardian published a survey in 2016 in which 89% of people would pay more for an energy-efficient home.

This raises the question of why people value energy-efficient homes more? As John explains, it is due to several interrelating factors. Namely, with energy prices rising, people see energy efficient homes as less costly to run. Moreover, having an energy-efficient home also helps individuals lower their carbon footprint, especially in a world that is increasingly facing the reality of the effects of global warming. Furthermore, John explains that tax regimes are increasingly are likely to favour energy-efficient homes.

How does an energy efficient home help save the planet?

To conclude, John emphasizes that an energy-efficient home has a direct effect on saving the planet. Specifically, energy-efficient homes provide some of the most effective means of achieving a range of global goals, such as addressing climate change and creating sustainable and thriving communities. Energy-efficient homes have the potential to not only reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment, by using less water, energy, or natural resources, but they can also have a positive effect on the environment by generating their own energy.

Finally, John provided an outlook on future trends in energy-efficient homes. As John explained, he believes the future will see lots of photovoltaic production of electricity. For example, the Tesla roof tiles that lock into each other. John argues that we will increasingly see photovoltaic electricity from all the outside surfaces of buildings, and every home will have a battery and an electric car that will work in tandem.