Whitney View programming designA useful list of readings for owners who want to build.
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County tax records for parcel
An inventory of green homebuilding systems. Also see www.housingzone.com
A green desert home. By Joe Prudden. Bathrooms should be closer together. Master Bath with tub windows should be behind the trellis instead of fully exposed. How is summer overheating minimized beyond the awning? What is the angular difference between winter sun and summer sun? 23.5 degrees (22.5 = 90/4).
Wall construction for reduced energy costs are here studied by Oak Ridge National Labs. Massive walls reduce energy consumption in general, but most of all in US climates similar to Bakersfield, Phoenix, and Miami. If C means concrete, I means insulating foam, then, going from outside in, CIC and IC walls are better than ICI and CI, walls, which are better than lightweight walls (stick framing). With CIC or IC walls in Bakersfield, whole-house energy costs are reduced by 18%.
Problem: Sun migrates east to west during the day.
Solution: Put morning rooms in the east, afternoon rooms in the west. Kitchen nook (informal, breakfast meals) on the east, formal dining room on the west. Give the living room the best sunset view. For morning people, put bedrooms on the east. For night people (who don't want to wake up with the sun), put bedrooms on the west.
Energy Star branding seems like a good idea
HERS rating (Home Energy Ratging System) seems like another good idea; it provides estimate of cost savings using average utility rates & usage. HERS reports are produced by rating professionals accredited by the Residential Energy Services Network (www.natresnet.org). Over 86 is the Energy Star standard in many states.
Working with Building America, a US DOE program, seems like a good idea too.
Rational sales pitch for energy efficiency: compare the sums of mortgage plus energy bill in the energy-efficient option vs. not.
Energy Efficient Mortgages: because total bills are lower, you can buy more house (higher Loan-To-Value ratios are allowed). Look for EEM at Fannie Mae; a HERS report is required. FHA mortgages also have an EEM program.