All Kaupuni Village homes in Oahu, Hawaii, incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to produce as much energy as they consume. Credit: Kenneth Kelly, NREL.
Ultra-efficient home design combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction, appliances, and lighting with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating and solar electricity. By taking advantage of local climate and site conditions, designers can incorporate passive solar heating and cooling and energy-efficient landscaping strategies. The intent is to reduce home energy use as cost-effectively as possible, and then meet the reduced requirements with on-site renewable energy systems. To learn more about the details of designing and building an ultra-efficient home, visit Building America Resources for Energy-Efficient Homes.
Another strategy for achieving an ultra-efficient home is to build or remodel to the rigorous, voluntary Passive House standard. The result is an extremely well insulated, airtight structure with dramatically reduced heating and cooling requirements.
In many parts of the country, homeowners can recoup some of the costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades through rebates and other financial incentives. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for a current list of incentives in your area.