During warmer weather, you probably don’t think much about your heating bill. But when you don’t need it is the best time to make changes and upgrades to your home so that throughout winter, you can live in blissful warmth. Some changes, such as exchanging your old single-pane windows for those double or triple panes with low U-factors, or mitigating drafts, leaks, and gaps should be top of the list. But, if you really want to make a difference in your energy bill, read up on passive building principles.

Passive building concept

Using building science, the five main principles of passive building techniques give measurable, efficient use of energy. Builders joined with scientists from the US and Canada way back in the 1970s to develop the original principles using funding from the US Department of Energy and the Canadian government. In the next decade, German and other northern European scientists and builders added more information. Distilled for current use, they are:

  • Continuous insulation throughout the building’s “envelope” (the weather, air and thermal barriers).
  • Creates an airtight envelope to keep outside air from entering and conditioned air (heated or cooled) from escaping.
  • High-performance windows allow in light but mitigate temperature transference.
  • Heating and cooling systems utilize heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and “minimal-space” air conditioning.
  • Exploits the sun’s energy for light and heat but minimizes solar impact during cooling.

How it works

The exceptionally snug insulation and design strategies use the heat from appliances and the home’s occupants to keep the indoor temperatures steady through all four seasons and in each weather condition. It does this by constant mechanical filtration to keep the air quality high. This mixture of insulation and continuous low-level filtration prevents mildew and mold spores from establishing and growing inside the home.

This type of construction especially benefits allergy prone-family members or those with respiratory illnesses.

To receive passive house certification, the design must have high R-value insulation and demonstrably less (90% less) energy required for heat. Overall energy use must be 60 to 70 percent lower compared to similar-sized standard code-built homes.

Other features contributing to the passive energy savings include flat-paneled rooftop solar water heating systems that typically heat water to between 99 and 140 degrees, even in cloudy weather. Other passive homes include the use of wood heat for the coldest of winter days.

Metal roofing, especially in snow-prone areas, allows snow to slide off the roof, and utilizing covered porches and patios protects the home’s entrances from rain and snow buildup.

If you’re interested in a certified energy efficient home. Let your real estate professional know so that the houses you see fit your requirements.

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For those who want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare as much as possible. In fact, those who plan ahead may be better equipped than others to avoid various challenges throughout the homebuying cycle.

From struggling to obtain home financing after a seller accepts your offer to purchase to struggling to find the right home in one of your preferred cities and towns, myriad issues may make it tough for you to achieve your desired results on the homebuying journey. Fortunately, we’re here to help you minimize risk as you pursue your dream residence.

Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help you avoid a homebuying fiasco.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you enter the housing market with criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Think about where you want to live. Then, you can hone your home search and focus exclusively on houses in specific cities and towns.

It also may be beneficial to establish a list of home must-haves and wants. This list can help you determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house so you can map out your home search accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

There is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can help you get approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions – you’ll be glad you did. This will allow you to learn about the ins and outs of different mortgage options.

Furthermore, don’t hesitate to ask questions about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Because if you understand exactly how a mortgage works, you can make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to avoiding problems during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will offer comprehensive support at each stage of the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market.

For example, if you want to find a house in a small town, a real estate agent will help you explore residences that match your expectations. He or she will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. Plus, if you identify your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase.

Let’s not forget about the housing market expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. If you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, a real estate agent is happy to address them at any time.

Want to discover your dream residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of encountering problems as you search for your ideal residence.

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