Energy efficiency is one of the most important things to consider when you’re building a modern home. From the building materials you choose to the appliances and HVAC components you install, everything has an impact. If you want to build an energy-efficient home, here are seven things you must have.

1. Windows

Windows can be a huge problem when it comes to energy efficiency. Older single-pane windows have poor insulation, which means you waste a lot of money heating and cooling your home. When you’re building an energy-efficient home, you need double-pane windows at the very least. Energy-efficient windows are an essential part of a modern home.

2. Doors

The doors in your home also have an impact on energy efficiency, particularly the glass ones. Glass sliding doors suffer from the same problems as windows, especially if your door has an aluminum frame. Upgrading to an energy-efficient sliding glass door can improve insulation in one of the most susceptible parts of your home, which saves you money.

3. Insulation

Doors and windows are important parts of your home’s insulation, but the insulation in the walls, ceilings, and attic is important as well. Over time, insulation can wear down or be damaged by the environment or animals. It’s important to have your home properly insulated when you build it to prevent these problems—you might even want to have more insulation added to your home a decade or two after it’s built.

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4. HVAC System

Heating and cooling is often the most expensive part of your energy bill, so reducing the cost of operating your HVAC system can make a massive difference. When you’re shopping for an HVAC system for your new construction home, make sure you keep HVAC efficiency in mind. Energy Star-certified HVAC systems are designed to use less energy, so they’re a smart choice. However, you can also look at efficiency ratings or talk with an HVAC technician to learn more about HVAC efficiency.

5. Appliances

With all the appliances you have in your home, it’s no surprise that they can waste a lot of energy. When you’re building a new home, you have a unique opportunity to invest in the best appliances when it comes to energy efficiency, which saves you money on your monthly energy bill. While energy-efficient appliances such as high-efficiency washers are more expensive, the money you save on operating costs will likely make up for the additional cost of the appliance over time.

6. Lighting

There was a time when a home’s lighting was a big energy user, but that’s not the case these days. LED light bulbs use a fraction of the energy that incandescent light bulbs used, which means you won’t rack up high energy bills from leaving a light or two on. Even better, LED bulbs last way longer than other types of light bulbs, so you don’t have to worry about changing burnt-out light bulbs more than once every five or ten years.

7. Alternative Energy

Building an energy-efficient home in today’s world means incorporating alternative energy sources. Consider adding a solar power system to your home to generate clean power that you don’t have to pay the electric company for. Switching to solar power can save you a substantial amount of money over time, plus you can get power to your home even if there’s a failure in the city’s electrical grid.

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It’s not easy being green, but building environmentally friendly homes is an important part of protecting the environment and ensuring our children have a future. If you want to make sure you’re doing your part to protect the environment when you build a home, make sure you’ve got everything on our list.