Building Energy-Efficient Homes in Wisconsin: How and Why to Go Green

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Energy Efficient Home ConstructionOur team at Meyer Builders is dedicated to being forward-thinking while delivering custom dream homes to our clients. With the rising energy costs in Southeast Wisconsin, building green is an excellent choice for your future enjoyment of your home and the future of our planet. You don’t have to compromise the gorgeous house you visualize to make the most of eco-friendly initiatives with Meyer Builders—we give you the best of both worlds!

While many companies advertise green building features, we have the experience and expertise you need for a truly energy-efficient home. We are Energy Star partners for custom reporting and utilize the latest green technology to bring you the best ROI.

Many buzzwords are thrown around regarding energy-efficient homes, but it’s important to understand what that means and how we implement it during your new home construction. At Meyer Builders, it’s not about the latest “green” product or feature. We use products and processes that are proven to be energy efficient, and we carefully study new green building techniques before implementing them to be sure we are providing the best for our clients. Read on to see the advantages of an eco-friendly home and why we are a top green builder in Southeast Wisconsin.

Benefits of Energy-Efficient Homes

Whether constructing a new home or remodeling your current one, there are clear advantages to keeping efficiency at the forefront. You positively impact the environment, and as a homeowner, you experience many advantages first-hand. Take a look at some of the specific benefits you’ll enjoy with a new energy-efficient home from Meyer Builders:

1. Higher Resale Value

Save on Resale ValueWhen buying or selling a home, cost and value are key concerns for both parties. Buyers are now prioritizing energy-efficient homes more than ever before. As you may know, many buyers are now requesting your utility cost history in addition to property tax information. These costs are especially important for the larger homes that many of our customers choose to build. Multiple studies and industry reports provide compelling statistics on the impact of energy efficiency on home resale value:

  • The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that buyers are willing to pay an average of $8,728 more for a home that saves $1,000 in annual energy costs.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy reports that energy-efficient homes sell for 7% higher than their less efficient counterparts.
  • According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 80% of homebuyers consider energy efficiency an essential factor in their property search.
  • 61% of homebuyers reported energy efficiency and environmentally friendly features were influential factors when purchasing a home.

Don’t let cost be a barrier to going green. Take advantage of tax credits, rebates, and grants designed to offset the initial expenses. If you need financial assistance, some mortgage lenders offer special loan programs with lower interest rates or increased loan amounts for buyers of energy-efficient homes.

2. Improved Indoor Air Quality

Your home should be a sanctuary for you and your family, but poor indoor air quality can put your health at risk. From moisture control to proper ventilation and the materials used in your home, each aspect plays a role in creating a healthier environment.

Controlling moisture is essential to prevent mold growth, so sealing your home’s envelope and ensuring proper ventilation are vital steps we take at Meyer Builders. Ventilation is crucial in bringing fresh air into your home and removing stagnant, moist air. In some cases, mechanical ventilation may be necessary to ensure adequate airflow. This is especially important as it helps prevent the accumulation of harmful gases like carbon monoxide and radon.

The building materials used in your home can also impact indoor air quality. Harmful solvents and gases can be released from paints, finishes, adhesives, carpets, fiberglass insulation, and pressed wood products. We use low VOC and formaldehyde-free alternatives and seal pressed-wood items to minimize emissions.

To prevent respiratory effects from dust and pet dander, Meyer Builders designers suggest using hard surface floors instead of carpets, installing furnace and duct-mounted air cleaners, and exploring options like radiant heat or central vacuum systems to minimize airborne pollutants.

3. Lower Long-term Maintenance Costs

By utilizing high-quality materials and equipment, these homes require less maintenance and offer long-lasting durability. Not only do net-zero homes save on maintenance costs, but they also provide additional savings compared to traditional homes. Take, for instance, energy-efficient windows and appliances, which help the environment and have a longer lifespan than conventional options. This means lower maintenance and replacement expenses, adding to the financial advantages of energy-efficient housing.

Non-renewable energy sources are not only environmentally harmful but also costly. On the other hand, energy-efficient alternatives like solar energy can save thousands of dollars throughout the lifespan of the infrastructure. One thing we do best at Meyer Builders is conserving natural resources with energy-efficient products that are made to last.

4. Lower Utility Bills

Building an energy efficient home in WisconsinAccording to the U.S. Department of Energy, efficient homes can save homeowners up to 20-30% on gas and electric bills versus traditional homes. Over time, these savings can add up to thousands of dollars.

The average American spends $2,000 on energy bills annually, with $200-$400 wasted due to drafts, leaks, and inefficient heating/cooling systems. Energy-focused homes offer the ultimate comfort with tight thermal envelopes, keeping your AC and heat indoors where they belong.

Green homes are also equipped with energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star appliances save gallons of water with each load of dishes and laundry cycle. Tankless water heaters cut energy bills by 30%. These are all easy features to incorporate into your new home construction.

What Makes a Green Home

Compared to traditional housing, green homes include a few distinct features:

Improved Insulation for Energy Efficiency

Proper insulation significantly lowers energy expenditure for heating and cooling, ensuring a comfortable home while reducing costs. Insulation plays a crucial role in maintaining the temperature in your home. Even small upgrades in these areas can result in significant energy savings. Cooling alone can account for up to 16% of your energy usage, and heating in Wisconsin is an even greater expense. Upgrading your insulation can go a long way in reducing your energy bills.

As a side benefit, a well-insulated home with efficient windows and doors will be quieter. The crack of dawn lawn crew with their mowers and blowers is no longer an issue!

Smart Technology

Smart home technology optimizes comfort while minimizing energy consumption. We aim to incorporate smart thermostats and lighting as a convenient way for our clients to cut their energy use.

Low-Emittance Windows

Windows contribute 25% – 30% of your heating and cooling energy use. Choosing the right windows can significantly affect your energy bills and overall comfort. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Frame types: We select the most efficient (and attractive) windows and frames for our Wisconsin climate.
  2. Glazing type: We opt for windows with low-e coatings to reduce heat loss in colder months and heat gain in the summer. These windows also reduce the impact of sunlight on fabrics and other materials in your home.
  3. Gas fills and spacers: Windows with gas fills improve insulation.
  4. Operation types: Meyer Builders designers will help you decide on the style of windows that suits your needs.

It’s not just about the window type. Meyer Builders considers design, energy use and labeling, warranties, and proper installation. We use Energy Star windows and ensure that they are installed properly. This ensures energy efficiency, comfort, and protects your warranty.

Energy-Efficient Lighting

Green homes improve lighting efficiency with LED bulbs and clever design to enhance natural lighting and create a bright living environment. By using LED lightbulbs, we significantly reduce your lighting costs. LED lights provide more brightness and generate less heat, helping minimize energy waste and avoid contributing to higher temperatures in your home.

In addition to efficient bulbs, Meyer Builders aims to maximize natural lighting in your home. You can take full advantage of natural light during the day by strategically positioning breakfast nooks, home offices, and other living spaces near energy-efficient windows.

Interior and Exterior Home Wrapping

Meyer Builders utilizes house wrap to reduce your home energy consumption and create a more comfortable indoor environment. This lightweight, synthetic material protects your home from air leaks, water infiltration, and moisture. It allows water vapor to pass to the exterior, preventing mold and rot. It fills in the gaps and cracks in siding joints, boosting energy efficiency and comfort.

The microscopic pores in synthetic housewraps allow water vapor to escape while keeping out water and wind. It minimizes air leaks, water infiltration, and condensation. It remains flexible in low temperatures and improves the performance of HVAC systems, reducing energy needs and increasing comfort.

Housewrap is especially effective for traditional and wood-sided homes and vinyl- or aluminum-sided homes with tiny cracks in their siding joints. Even masonry-based sidings like brick and stucco can benefit from housewrap if the right product is used.

Energy-Efficient Building Products

There are plenty of innovative building materials that allow us to build gorgeous homes that also conserve energy.

High-quality windows are an excellent place to start when building an energy-efficient home. Aluminum windows are becoming popular because they offer exceptional durability and thermal efficiency with polyamide glazing technology that reduces heat gain and loss. For added insulation against cold Wisconsin winters, Meyer Builders uses exterior storm windows or window replacement inserts.

We also can incorporate a radiant floor heating system. These systems use electric mats or heated pipes beneath the flooring material to release heat in a stove-like manner. Radiant heat is more energy-efficient than forced air systems, as it eliminates parasitic heat loss and evenly distributes warmth without the need to heat to excessive levels.

Advanced House Framing

Also known as optimum value engineering (OVE), this innovative approach reduces lumber usage and waste while increasing energy efficiency. We can maximize heat retention and maintain the house’s structural integrity by replacing lumber with insulation material.

Advanced home framing techniques include:

  • Designing two-foot modules to efficiently use common sheet sizes and reduce waste.
  • Spacing wall studs, floor joists, and roof rafters up to 24 inches apart.
  • Utilizing two-stud corner framing and cost-effective drywall clips or scrap lumber for drywall backing.
  • Eliminating headers in non-load-bearing walls.
  • Implementing in-line framing for direct load transfer.
  • Using single lumber headers and top plates when appropriate.

These techniques create a structurally sound home and lower material and labor costs compared to traditional framing methods. Savings can reach up to $1,000 for a 2,400-square-foot house, along with reduced labor costs and annual heating/cooling expenses.

It’s important that you choose a contractor experienced in this approach like Meyer Builders to avoid delays caused by inexperienced builders.

Energy-Efficient Siding

Lowering your energy bill can be as easy as investing in energy-efficient siding. Siding is a protective layer for your home’s exterior walls, but not all options are equally energy-efficient. Green siding materials help improve insulation, shielding your home from harsh elements and preventing air and moisture leaks.

When it comes to energy-efficient siding options, composite siding and rigid foam sheathing are the top contenders. These materials provide excellent insulation, ensuring maximum energy efficiency and significant savings on energy bills.

Steel siding requires a breathable underlayment, while wood siding needs a moisture barrier. Aluminum siding can be paired with rigid foam insulation, and vinyl siding benefits from a house wrap and additional foam insulation. Alongside other energy-saving measures, such as insulation and HVAC upgrades, these investments can significantly impact your wallet and the environment.

Go Green with Meyer Builders!

At Meyer Builders, our mission is clear: we are dedicated to creating the finest homes in Southeast Wisconsin. From Kenosha to Lake Geneva, from Milwaukee’s North Shore to SE Wisconsin’s Lake Country, and everywhere in between, we have been delivering unique and efficient dream homes for our clients for years, and we look forward to helping you realize your vision as well.

We focus on timeless design and superior craftsmanship, using best practices for our clients and our planet. We believe in acting with integrity and treating our clients with sincerity and genuine care. We want the building process to be enjoyable, and we strive for our clients to be delighted with their experience.

We understand that building a home is a significant undertaking. That’s why we are here to support and guide you every step of the way. From the initial selection process to the day you move in, we will be by your side. And even after you’ve settled in, we won’t disappear. Meyer Builders stands behind our work and will continue to provide assistance and support so you can focus on making memories in your new home.

These values have earned the trust and respect of homeowners across Kenosha, Racine, and Waukesha. Contact us and see how the home of your dreams will be even better in green!

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