Most people don’t realize the difference in the way homes should be built based on where they’re located. Climate-specific home design (ex.: window shading from a hot southern sun or a steep roof for snow runoff) provides a solid base for an energy-efficient focus without costing extra cash. To achieve the right design for your location, work with a company that is familiar with climate-specific design in your region.
Sure, you want your home to capture the best views, but proper orientation to take advantage of the sun for passive- and active-solar capabilities is a must for any energy-efficient design. A few good rules of thumb: Avoid west-facing slopes in southern climates because your afternoon sun is really going to heat your house. Northern dwellers should be conscious of the direction of harsh winter winds when positioning their house.
Decreased square footage is definitely a factor in energy-efficient homes, but you can regain some of that interior space by building up instead of out. Two-story homes not only minimized the impact to the land, they’re also typically less expensive to build, because the foundation is smaller. Two-story houses also provide a narrower footprint than one-level homes do, allowing sunlight to warm up a greater number of rooms, enabling you to reduce your energy consumption.