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High Performance And Energy Efficient Homes Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 3362 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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An energy efficient home combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available renewable energy systems to reward its owner with significantly reduced energy consumption. An energy efficient home like any other home, is connected to the utility grid, but overall it produces as much energy as it consumes. With net metering, the home’s electric meter runs backward when the home is producing more power than it is using. With its reduced energy needs and solar energy systems, an energy efficient home can, over the course of a year, produce as much energy as it uses. Such homes are thought to have a number of advantages, including improved comfort, protection against electricity price spikes, reduced peak load on the utility grid, and environmental sustainability.

Diffusion-of-innovations theory has guided much research in public acceptance of solar energy and energy efficiency innovations (Rogers and Shoemaker 1971; Rogers 1995). The theory is based on numerous studies of national, regional, and statewide populations that involve a myriad of innovations. Diffusion-of-innovation theory is widely accepted in the energy analysis community.


The high-performance homes are innovative for several reasons. Although the concepts of whole-building energy efficiency have been implemented by builders in various parts of the world, the resulting homes did not necessarily contain solar water heating or solar electric systems. On the other hand, many custom homes are energy efficient and contain either solar water heating or solar electric systems, or both, but they have generally been built one-at-a-time, and most are not tied to an electricity grid.

The high-performance home project is innovative because it offers homes that approach the energy efficient home concept for both nuclear and joint families living in Tamil Nadu. Thus, the innovation of focus in this study is the high-performance home as a precursor of near-zero energy homes. These homes contain four key elements namely:

(1) They are highly energy efficient;

(2) Their water is preheated by the sun;

(3) They produce electricity; and

(4) They can supply electricity to, store, and take electricity from a utility grid.

The significance of such an offering will be realized when they become routine rather than unique specialty commodities offered only by custom builders.3 The successful reutilization of energy efficient homes will ensure higher quality homes that are widely available, less expensive than conventional homes to operate (all other things being equal), and environmentally friendlier than conventional homes.


Five most important attributes of novelties are thought to influence their rate of adoption, namely:

(1) Comparative Benefits

(2) Complexity

(3) Compatibility

(4) Observability (Rogers, 1995)

(5) Ability of trial

Each of these can be examined in turn for their potential relevance in the acceptance of high-performance homes. In this case, there are two levels of adopters:

(1) Builders who must adopt these kinds of homes before

(2) Home buyers have the opportunity to do so.

The diffusion of innovations in the form of “best building practice” applies to the voluntary spread of innovative practices through networks of builder companies.


The IEA report on key world energy statistics, has projected that India alone uses primary energy of around 24.9 EJ of the total 503.5 EJ used by the world. With a population of 1123 million as of 2009, each Indian uses an energy equivalent of 22.2GJ/ person/ year. Further the estimated amount of electricity spent by each Indian is 543/ capita/ year (IEA, Key World Energy Statistics, 2009). The goals outlined for the Indian energy sector include: providing affordable access to convenient energy services, making new technology attractive to investors and developing sustainable energy systems.


In the twenty first century safe water has become one of the most important need of the hour and developing countries have started to feel the pinch on public health. The year marked 2005 is the beginning of “International Decade for Action: Water for Life” along with the “Millennium Development Goal (MDG)” has proposed a reduction to half the proportion of the world’s population with the focus of giving viable access to sanitation and safe drinking water by the year 2015. It is estimated by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) that around 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation and an average of 1.2 billion people lack access to improved water supplies. It has been estimated that diarrheal morbidity can be reduced by an average of 6-20 per cent with improvements in water supply and by 32 per cent with improvements in sanitation.

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In India, approximately 72.7 per cent of the rural population does not use any method of water disinfection and 74 per cent have no sanitary toilets. The key to providing microbiologically safe drinking water lies in understanding the various mechanisms by which water gets contaminated, and formulating interventions at critical points to decrease and prevent contamination of drinking water. Geographic information system (GIS) tools can be used to demonstrate spatial relationships for a clearer understanding of problems and possible solutions.


Tamil Nadu is located in the southern tip of India alongside Kerala. It is the Eleventh largest state and it covers more population rate and also contributes the 5th place in GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It has a population of 62405679 people, residing in an area that spans 130058 sq.km. The energy requirements of the state are not met indigenously. Requirements of water are met from the dams in Karnataka and Kerala and water shortage is the name given for the game that is been played for a very long time. Now a day’s researchers have found out that the ground water table column or aquifers level are dropping down and in over some years there would be no water found in the aquifers. This is mainly because people in India use water from ground water column for their domestic purposes. Each house in India have their own deep bored wells from which water is drained either physically or mechanically via motors, these practices causes an impact towards the aquifers or the ground water table column in India leading to face draught condition in the nearest future.

India also faces problems like frequent power cuts for more than 8 hours a day. Indian Government has taken a decision to have hourly power cuts in each area to conserve electricity but, electricity is one of the major resources, which we need daily to lead a compatible life. Frequent power cuts are a norm throughout the state also as the consumption of electricity exceeds production on any given day. It is hence vital that homes be designed to be energy efficient so that the consumption of power and water is regulated in such a way to contribute to make the state self sufficient in terms of energy and water requirements.

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Maximizing personal prosperity aligned with ecological effects of a lifestyle has become a noticeable fact for a very long time now. There is always a change in the climate. There is very frequent occurrence of tornadoes and earth quakes and it has become the order of the day and a natural phenomenon. There are simultaneous occurrences were, polar caps and melting and the glaciers have started to retreat. There is also an increase in the number of natural disasters day by day, reaching to an unknown level till now. Drought and flood on the one hand have started to cost millions of lives year after year. The whole atmosphere is polluted with bad air, and fine dust has loaded the surface of the earth, which in turn has a telling effect on ozone and this in turn raised CO2 levels on earth. The greatest challenge of the millennium is the protection of climate and there is a worldwide alarm and awareness spread across to make the earth livable. Hence it is both prudent and agreeable to start with the four walls of our house.


An energy efficient house is just defined by its inner values. The energy efficient house implies a standard stating that no active energy is need to make the house get heated or cold. In energy efficient houses the main heat sources would be the sun, and the main cooling source will be the wind. This can be achieved by using “energy efficient” components. For example, the window that has a thermal insulation helps with efficient insulation and heat exchange systems. The standards to fulfill todays energy efficiency requirement for tomorrow has become the energy efficient house standard.

The energy consumption of a house is indicated by its typical energy values. The potential to save energy on an energy efficient house has almost raised its energy saving efficiency to 90% which would be the average energy cost of an existing residential and corporate building which has no restrictions for it architectural design. Further studies that were done by Dr. Wolfgang Feist in May 1988, has brought to its fore front triumphant advancement into construction of ecological housing, with thousands and thousands of examples explaining in detail on the energy efficient housing standards. Whether building complex, row house or detached house, which has been already built, is entitled to adjudged excellence and also be moved into an energy efficient structure. The freedom to architecturally manipulate a design is basically unlimited as there is no fundamental difference in the structure of an energy efficient houses and a conventional building. Research and Evaluations that are done on building project have proved that an energy efficient house will always results in extensive energy saving and also has put a benchmark for improving the quality of construction.

The future of housing and shelter are houses that are designed to increase the energy efficiency and environmental performance. The long-term objective is to transform the housing market to one in which a majority of residential new construction in the state is “net zero-energy” i.e. extremely efficient buildings whose low energy needs can be met by on-site renewable energy generation. It is vital to support the transition to a residential new construction energy code that favors energy conservation standards to ensure a better tomorrow.

There are a lot of market barriers in constructing a new energy efficient house, namely: conflicting design criteria, lack of knowledge transfer with regards to the benefits of an energy efficient house and the ecological performance on the part of builders, consumers, appraisers, lenders, realtors and others, limited technical skills on the part of some of the builders and their subcontractors to address key elements of efficiency; and the lack of ability of consumers, appraisers, lenders and others to differentiate between standard and efficient homes.


Single family and joint-family homes can both benefit if the home is designed to be energy efficient. An important limitation is building “Affordable Housing” regardless of their location. Larger homes as in homes designed for joint families are likely to inherently use more energy, and promoting energy efficient housing allows total home energy use to grow with size. A cooperative marketing offer for participating builders will drive homebuyer demand for qualifying homes. An aggressive consumer focused marketing campaign will be essential to maintain builder participation (and therefore market share). Areas for research in residential new construction may include the performance metering of program homes and optimized new home designs for significant reduction or elimination of cooling energy requirements.it is also vital to consider opportunities to solicit creative proposals for pilot-scale promotions associated with the development of energy efficient homes. Energy consumption meters and monitoring will be built into these homes to enable future tracking of actual performance.

To meet the challenges of a slow residential new construction housing market, increased energy standards, reward high performance homes, transition to a market-based, home energy rater network, the following program strategies and tactics are being proposed: Carbon footprint labeling for high performance homes, creating consumer awareness and demand, differentiating builders in the growing “green building” consciousness of consumers. It is vital to attract media attention to relevant projects and associated savings realized by residents, especially for home projects, which incorporate both energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Further, it is important to build relationships with residential builders through educational seminars and training to increase higher performance building practices and to help build a Green Workforce. Energy-efficient homes help lower energy costs, increase affordability, increase durability, and improve health and safety. High performance homes reduce impact on the environment. It is a call for every home to be a part of the solution for sustainable living to help combat global warming. Feature stories focusing on energy and financial savings, new technologies (solar), and environmentally sound building practices herald a new era of efficient homes. Homes that feature new energy-saving technologies, renewable energy, and very high performance homes, in terms of their energy rating and reduced environmental impact give us a promise for a better life in the future.


Increased awareness of green and sustainable living practices, and impact of carbon footprint reduction, greater awareness of residential indoor air quality, health and safety issues for better living, promotion of energy saver plans to reduce energy use 20% supporting the increased development of a green workforce by promoting green job training are vital steps towards achieving an ecofriendly building culture.

The current economic uncertainty may suppress numbers of energy efficient homes, particularly if residents are not well educated on the benefits of such homes. As such, the awareness of energy efficient homes among realtors and residential home buyers/builders remains relatively low. Along with endorsing for energy efficient homes comes the responsibility for ratings. It is incumbent upon the program to assure that a robust system for identifying and communicating quality issues exists to manage the credibility of the savings and certifications offered.

Not only must the design of the house be energy efficient but also the appliances used within the house. For this, it is important to promote the purchase of efficient home heating, cooling and water heating equipment, and the quality installation of such equipment. Its long-term goal is to make the high quality installation of high efficiency residential equipment the norm in the market.


The program must continue to address several market barriers to achieve its goals such as, the consumers inability to differentiate, and therefore value, the difference between a poor quality construction and a good quality construction and installations, the consumers lack of information on the benefits (both energy and non-energy) of quality installations, efficient equipment and low value perception of contractor and the sense of difficulty to program participation. These barriers can be overcome by endorsing the use of: ENERGY STAR-qualified energy-efficient water heaters and gas heating equipment; high efficiency electric cooling and heating equipment; installation of solar domestic water heating systems; accurate analysis of building cooling and heating loads and the proper sizing and selection of cooling and heating equipment according to established industry standards.


Water conservation is another vital component of an energy efficient house. There are various principal designs for rainwater harvesting system but the general outlined over is that it collects water from a roof top which is linked with a roof pipe which is then directed to a storage tank which is either outside or inside the building. These designs for storage of water ranges from simple rain barrel which is placed at the bottom fitted with a motor, which helps in watering the plants to extensive water tank systems that can provide an adequate quantity of the water that someone uses. It has also come up with new treatment and filtration technique to make rainwater harvesting easy relatively.


Rainwater harvesting systems can either be incorporated into a new construction or be installed in existing buildings. A basic system that is used of rainwater harvesting includes a basic roof, roof drains, gutters and a piping system to transport water to the storage tank or from the storage tank or cistern to meet the required need. Storage tanks can be either outside or inside, below or above the ground, or partially below the ground or partially above the ground. The best place to fit the storage tank will be the basements as this helps the water get its gravity and also be protected from freezing. There is a huge variety of rain water collection systems and individual components available commercially in the market.


Each rain water harvesting system is unique and should be evaluated separately. Proper sizing is important when designing rain water harvesting systems. It is essential to know how much rainwater is expected to collect and how much water is expected to be used. Determining the right sizing will affect installation cost, operation, and on-going maintenance.


The average family spends about 2000 to 4000 rupees per month on electricity. Knowing where exactly this money goes can help plan usage and reduce the power bill. Electricity provides many of the conveniences enjoyed every day. Making informed decisions about how electricity is used can help meet the need for energy better without having to build additional power generating plants. The Energy efficient housing plans have established ambitious goals for energy efficiency. Currently available efficiency measures, and the initiatives that deliver them, will not be able to achieve these goals.


In concern, with the above factors the aim is to build a virtual, energy efficient house for a nuclear family with moderate rooms and room sizes. In this virtual house, energies like water, electricity, domestic waste and environmental impacts will be prevented and shall be maintained properly. These energies can be maintained by adopting automatic lights in some areas of the house and having automatic taps in bathrooms also by adding up renewable energy like solar energy and by encouraging some new techniques from home exnora. Since, India is not contributing for renewable energy in a high level each houses can be built with renewable energy source with the individual interest of the people so, there will be no power cuts in future. EXNORA – Excellent Novel Radical, home exnora includes many techniques in maintaining a good environment. They also have several techniques to recycle and reuse domestic waste water and wastes. Such techniques can be used in the virtual house to sustain an energy efficient house in Tamil Nadu.


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