SEE IF THE HOUSE YOU ARE CONSIDERING HAS THESE FEATURES.
- A site with smart landscaping is important to making your home comfortable, affordable and attractive.
- The right location for your home improves your quality of life.
- Designed for minimal impact on site topography and natural drainage ways.
- Protected building entrance (recessed and covered to maximize summer shading.)
- Designed with protected outdoor living areas (semi-or fully-covered patio, porch, trellis, shade trees, courtyard.)
- Shade trees are planted on the east and west sides of house.
- Water-efficient landscaping (Xeriscape.)
- Plants, shrubs and trees selected for the Sonoran Desert.
- Gutters and downspouts are located to direct water away from the house and supplements your landscaping needs.
- Irrigation system conserves water by using devices such as valves with manual flow control, rain shut off and timer with multiple start times.
- Neighborhood is safe for walking and biking.
- Convenient location. Consider the distance to work, school, entertainment, trails or parks, and public transportation.
THE RIGHT DESIGN
- Comfort and economy are possible when a house is designed for its site and climate.
MIMIMAL SOLAR HEAT GAIN
- The longest walls of the house face north and south or an East/ West Axis.
- Most of the windows face South.
- The windows are shaded by overhangs, porches, awnings, trellises and trees depending on the directional orientation (exterior shading devices are better than interior shading devices.)
- The garage, storage, service areas, and or infrequently used rooms are positioned on the west side as buffer spaces to protect the common spaces from the harsh sun.
MAXIMUM NATURAL LIGHT AND VENTILATION
- All of the windows are operable and positioned for cross ventilation.
- Most rooms have windows on two walls.
- High windows are operable.
- Use solar tube skylights where windows are not possible.
THE RIGHT EXTERIOR
A COOL SHELL
- Consider light-colored surfaces for walls and roofing.
- The attic insulation is at least R-36 and is evenly distributed.
- Consider the use of radiant barrier to protect against heat buildup in the attic.
- The wall insulation is the type that fills every hole, crack, and void.
HIGH PERFORMANCE WINDOWS
- Windows should be a minimum dual-pane with low-E coating or solar screen (except on the south side, where warmth from the low winter sun is desired.)
- The roof has a forty-year life.
- Consider high-durability roof material (concrete, clay, metal, slate, fiber-cement.)
- Using the right materials con improve indoor air quality and increase comfort. Carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed at the house/garage entry door and within each room where combustible appliances are used (sealed combustion appliances are exempt.) The flooring is mostly hard surface, such as concrete, tile or wood. Other flooring materials are natural wool, jute, sea grass, cork, or true linoleum. The wallpaper is not made of vinyl. Exhaust fans that expel moisture and odors to the outside are located in the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry areas.
- Paints, finishes, and glues contain low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOC’S less that 250 grams per liter.) VOC fumes can cause headaches, allergic reactions and other health problems.
EFFICIENT HEATING AND COOLING
- A mechanical contractor has sized the air conditioning unit using “Manual J” (Note: A right-sized A/C runs longer than an oversized unit, but uses less energy and runs more efficiently.) The air conditioner has a cooling efficiency of 15 SEER or higher. The A/C system brings in fresh air. Return air ducts or transfer grills in every enclosed, livable room (undercut doors are not sufficient.) Uses a programmable thermostat.
- Ceiling fans installed in all major rooms.
- Most houses lose 25% of their conditioned air through leaks in the ductwork. This affects utility bills, air quality and household safety. Ducts have a minimum R-4 insulation in conditioned spaces, and a minimum R-6 in unconditioned spaces such as attics.
- The ducts have been pressure-tested for leaks by a qualified technician.
- A good air filter affects the quality of the air you breathe and increases the life span of the heating and cooling equipment. The filter is a “pleated media” type or electronic.
- The filter is easy to change.
EFFICIENT APPLIANCES AND LIGHTS
- Use Energy Star appliances.
- Built-in and individually switched task lighting in at least 23 separate areas, such as bathroom vanity, Kitchen counter, and work areas.
THE RIGHT ECONOMY
- Using local businesses and products keeps the local economy healthy while reducing the effects of transportation on our air quality. The house is built using native and local regional materials.
- The construction of the house uses local businesses, artists and artisans.
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