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HOW A GREEN HOME KEEPS YOU WARM IN WINTER

No matter how charming or attractive a home is, if it doesn’t feel warm in winter, it’s not doing its job. If you have to wear extra layers inside or can’t read a book in the window seat because the draft is too cold, you’re not receiving the full benefits of your home.

Building a new house gives you the opportunity to get the best of both worlds: the look you want and affordable comfort all year long. When building a new green home, the following three elements work together to keep you warm and cozy in the colder months.

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Airtight Construction
If you have ever lived in a drafty house, you know what it feels like to have cold air come through gaps in window frames and around door frames. You also know what this does to your wallet when the heating bill arrives.

What you might not know is that a lot more heated air is lost through areas you can’t see or feel. For example, leaks around electrical outlets, pipes, and conduits for wires all allow heated air to escape. These might seem like small losses, but they add up to more expensive heating bills and a home that’s not as comfortable as it should be.

Even new homes can suffer from the same problems if they’re not built with airtight construction in mind. When a green home is built, all the gaps are sealed to keep the heat in and the cold out in winter, so you don’t have to pay to heat the outdoors and you can leave that extra sweater in your closet.


Passive Solar Heating
Comfort is also affected by how a home is designed. By orienting your home in a way that allows winter sun to enter the windows in your living areas, you get the benefit of free heat. This means that your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to meet your thermostat settings, which translates to monthly savings on utilities. As an extra bonus, this type of design also provides more natural light during the day.


Energy-Efficient Heat Pumps
A tightly sealed house requires less heat in winter, which means you can ditch the oil- or gas-burning furnace and use energy-efficient heat pumps instead. Heat pumps provide both heating in winter and cooling in summer without consuming a lot of energy, and if you have solar panels to generate electricity, your monthly utility bills will be even lower.

Because they produce no exhaust, heat pumps are also better for the air quality in your home. You also have much more control over the temperature in each area in the house, which is great for family members with different comfort preferences.

All of these green home components also help keep you cool in summer. Airtight construction keeps cooler air inside, smart shading helps reduce heat caused by solar gain, and heat pumps also provide low-cost cooling.

If you’re considering building a new home and you want to be sure you stay warm in winter without breaking the bank:

  • Start with a smart design that leverages the power of the sun

  • Make sure the builder uses airtight construction techniques

  • Use a heating system that doesn’t consume a lot of energy

Every BrightBuilt Home uses these three important concepts to ensure both comfort and predictable utility costs. If you’d like to learn more about building a green home with BrightBuilt, contact us today.

BRIGHTBUILT HOME CUSTOM DESIGN

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This custom BrightBuilt Home design was created for sustainability-savvy clients with a vision for their perfect home — solar power, superior energy efficiency, and a mix of unique spaces tailored to their lifestyle.


The 2,500sf, 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath open-concept home includes:

• A comfortable ground-floor master suite with covered deck, views to the south, generous master bath, and walk-in closet
• A “conservatory” room off main living space, with room for a grand piano and space for the regular gathering of a string quartet
• A light-filled kitchen that overlooks the main living space
• Lofted living space to accommodate a small play area for grandkids
• Two bedrooms and a full bath upstairs for guests and family
• An attached two-car garage with a heated workshop above for carpentry projects

If you have been considering a BrightBuilt Home but don’t see your vision in our existing floor plans, this home is an example of the flexibility our custom design services can provide.

LET'S TALK

If the time has come to move ahead with building your new home, we can help make your dream a reality. Contact our office to speak with J Sandifer at 207-536-4685

HEALTHY | FILTERED FRESH AIR, 24 HOURS A DAY

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The term “air quality” often conjures up images of smog-filled cities, but it is actually the air in your home that presents the greatest risk to your health. Let’s explore some of the most common obstacles to breathing clean air when indoors and how building a green home can help you overcome them.


Typical Indoor Air Quality Problems


Many different factors can affect the air quality in your home. Some of the most common contributors to indoor air pollutants include:

  • Building materials and furnishings that off-gas

  • Fuel-burning appliances

  • Excess moisture that causes mold and mildew

  • Household cleaners and air fresheners

  • Outdoor air pollutants such as pesticides and allergens

  • Air infiltration from unconditioned spaces like basements and garages

What does poor indoor air quality mean for you and your family? The consequences range from the inconvenience of unwanted odors to significant health issues like asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Not every pollutant can be identified with an odor (carbon monoxide and radon, for example), so it’s important to be proactive about the air quality in your home. Fortunately, most indoor air quality issues in new homes are avoidable with proper construction techniques that include air sealing and providing adequate ventilation.


Air Sealing in a Green Home


Older homes were built with the assumption that there would be enough air flow through gaps in the window frames, door frames, and other spaces to provide ample ventilation. Even modern conventionally-built homes use construction techniques based on this theory, which means that many brand new homes are leaky.

In contrast, the green home construction process requires careful sealing of all these gaps for three important reasons, which are to:

  • Reduce energy consumption by preventing heated or cooled air from escaping

  • Prevent unwanted pollutants and moisture from entering the home

  • Allow a ventilation system to control the source and flow of fresh air

Since we’re focusing on air quality, let’s take a deeper dive into the ventilation.

Ventilation in a Green Home

Without ventilation, air pollutants can build up in your home and potentially cause health problems. Natural ventilation occurs when you open your windows, but this isn’t practical during a New England winter. In a green home that is tightly sealed, controlled ventilation is achieved through mechanical systems that essentially act as the home’s lungs and serve three purposes:

1. To provide clean, freshly filtered air
2. To remove air pollutants
3. To remove excess humidity

Do conventionally-built leaky homes get enough natural ventilation through gaps in walls and window frames? Maybe, but those gaps also create cold drafts and bump up your heating bill. You also don’t know where that “fresh” air is coming from (The garage? The busy street out front?) and it’s not filtered, so how healthy is it? Mechanical ventilation ensures that you get enough fresh air and that stale, potentially contaminated air is purged on a regular basis.

In a BrightBuilt Home, you can breathe clean air all year long. With super tight air sealing and a ventilation system designed to continuously circulate fresh air without losing heat, your home will be both comfortable and healthy.


Want to learn more about this important topic? The EPA has some great information about indoor air quality. If you’re planning to build a new home and want to breathe clean air, contact BrightBuilt Home today to schedule a free consultation.