PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

The Top Five Do-it-Now


Energy Efficiency

[IMAGE: Design energy efficiency into your home plans]New Construction

  1. Use whole house design.

  2. Optimize HVAC systems to lower material costs and energy bills by installing in conditioned spaces and referencing Manual J and D for appropriate HVAC size and duct design respectively.

  3. Design energy efficiency into home using orientation, roof overhangs and other basic passive solar design concepts to lower energy bills and use native landscaping to lower water and energy bills.

  4. Factory built panelization or modular construction, and advanced framing techniques such as modular layout, two-stud corners, single top plates, 24" on-center framing and insulated headers will speed construction and lower material costs, waste disposal costs and energy bills.

  5. Intelligent use of trees and shrubs can reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Trees can reduce solar heat gain in the summer, and along with shrubs, can block the wind in the winter. When selecting which plants to get, make sure they are indigenous to the area so they require minimal watering and maintenance.

*The most important part of energy efficiency is to design it into your home from the beginning.


  1. [IMAGE: Air sealing and insulating your home will improve comfort while lowering energy bills] Weatherize the home. Seal up all the air leaks around the home, and add extra insulation in the attic.

  2. Use ENERGY STAR qualified products -- appliances, heating & cooling, lighting, and home electronics.

  3. Use shading and overhangs to control sunlight entering the home and rainfall.

  4. When remodeling, look for ways to improve insulation levels and consider other energy efficiency upgrades.

  5. Install a PV system. There are local and federal tax breaks to make it even more affordable. Where available, buy renewable energy from your local electricity utility.

Content updated on 12/6/2006

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