California house a model for energy efficiency

It's no secret that homeowners can save on their electricity and heating bills in the long-term by living in more energy efficient homes, but many homeowners simply aren't sure how to go about this. For one California couple, the answer laid in building their own green home from scratch!

The Chico Enterprise Record, a local California news publication, interviewed a husband and wife building their "dream house" in Butte Creek Canyon: A 3,000-square-foot, $400,000 home using certain building materials and construction strategies to create an eco-friendly household that is light on utility costs and heavy on efficient power consumption. Robin Trenda, with Chico Green Builders, explained some of the methods they've been using, such as "advanced framing," a technique that dates back to the early 1900s.

Advanced framing minimizes the amount of lumber used in home construction, utilizing about 20 percent less wood than typical houses, carrying a 25 to 30 percent reduction in costs. This style of "optimal-value engineering" substitutes that extra wood with Styrofoam, which improves household insulation, improving the home's ability to generate and store heat and cool air. Carefully placed studs, structural insulated panels and insulating concrete further bolsters the home's energy efficiency capabilities.

Most home building trends are rooted in World War II, when houses were produced in mass quantities without regard to environmental impact or cost, Trenda told the source, "Builders […] just threw wood at a project."

But through carefully planned measures like advanced framing, you can improve your home's ability to regulate energy use and save money on both construction costs and utility expenses.

Of course, if you're interested in energy efficient renovations, you don't have to build your own home. R and J Tinting offers a wide array of house window tinting options, which can absorb and control how sunlight impacts a house, better regulating indoor temperatures and energy use, and bringing down your heating bills.