For many home buyers, an Energy Smart Home typically means a home built with costly, high-tech gadgets. However, there is a movement in home design that takes a less costly, passive approach by incorporating energy-saving features into the building plans. By focusing on practical, proven methods of construction in the plans, builders are able to offer to their buyers homes with stunning energy savings. The real challenge with these designs is making them unseen to the home buyer.
Joe Ziler, owner of Kevco Builders in Leesburg, is introducing this new Energy Smart Home design concept in the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter’s Parade of Homes, Feb. 22-March 2, with his new home entry located at 506 Canopy Ln. in Lady Lake. Ziler’s parade home is constructed utilizing an Energy Smart Home Plan, which was developed by Florida housing experts. Ziler is quick to point out his home should return the investment back to the homeowner in the first two years.
In many respects, the Energy Smart Homes of tomorrow are utilizing building techniques adopted by builders and architects of long ago -- before the age of air conditioning in Florida. Properly positioning a home on a lot to prevent undue heat from direct sunlight and constructing larger roof overhangs and porches to keep the sun’s rays off windows are just a couple of old-fashioned energy-saving tips. Ziler believes the real strength of his Energy Smart Home Plan is its use of interior 10-foot walls to incorporate air conditioning ducting inside the climate control area of the house. Along with putting the home’s air handling equipment inside, Ziler is confident that new Energy Smart Home owners will enjoy a 40 to 50 percent savings in their energy bills.
It makes perfect sense to keep air conditioning ducting below the insulation line in the attic due to excessive heat buildup. By keeping ducts cooler and utilizing better installation techniques, there is less of a chance cool air will be lost. The higher walls allow for creative methods of concealing ducts in climate-controlled areas.
By using high efficient Vinyl Low-E windows with argon gas and increasing truss heel heights to allow for more insulation, Kevco Builders is able to offer Energy Smart Home Plans in various styles, including Southern Classic, French Country and Mediterranean.
Ziler said, “If you walked into one of our Energy Smart Homes you probably wouldn’t notice any difference in design.” Because of these passive energy design techniques, Ziler says Energy Smart Home Plans can be customized.
Kevco Builders’ Energy Smart Home Plan is a reminder that long before the days of conserving energy, homes were designed to be a comfort against the outside elements. Over the last few decades, residential home design has drifted toward maximizing interior space and away from maximizing the cooling or capability of the structure itself. Amazingly, for a minimal investment most new homes can be made energy efficient through simple designs -- it just takes a paradigm change for many designers and home buyers.
For more information on the HBA Lake-Sumter Parade of Homes, call 352-343-7101.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Radio Show heard every Monday at noon on My790AM WLBE in Leesburg.