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Upstate NY Custom Home Building Blog

Building an Energy-Efficient New Home in Upstate NY

Posted by John Graziose

Wed, Oct 4, 2023 @ 09:10 AM

Building an Energy-Efficient New Home in Upstate NY

Building your sustainable custom home in Rochester, NY area or the Finger Lakes Area is more than just a dream realized. It also allows you to align your selections with existing tax credits. Luckily, current construction-related tax incentives favor green/energy-efficient options, which are popular with consumers for their low-environmental income. We're also one of the most trusted custom home builders in Ontario, where the incentives to build green is also embedded in tax incentives.

View of open-concept living room in Rochester-area custom home

Why New Construction Provides the Best Opportunity for Building Green

New construction homes in the Rochester, NY region come with unique opportunities to capitalize on money-saving tax credits while building green. You can build options during initial construction that are too costly to consider later down the line. For example, some geothermal heating and cooling systems or options for wiring and storage for solar panels require extensive and disruptive demolition that makes their retroactive inclusion prohibitive.

Custom U shaped kitchen in one-story home

Important Elements of Energy Efficiency in Northern Climates

Northern climates present unique challenges. Warm summers give way to frosty winters, offering a wild swing in temperatures that require your structure to handle the cycle of the seasons. Getting and staying warm is equally important. Energy-efficient materials have to work harder in the north. Our battle plan for complete energy efficiency includes elements from each category below. Many of these, like energy-efficient windows and energy-star appliances, are standard features of Gerber homes.

Open-concept living room area in Rochester custom home

Build Your Home with Energy-Efficient Practices

Windows - Well-sealed double or triple-pane windows keep warm, clean air in and the harsh air out.

Insulation - Any variety of insulation that is correctly installed will impact your home’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature. Cover your floor, ceiling, and walls with ample insulation from all angles.

Air-Sealing - Cracks leak energy and invite pests and pollutants from outside. Air sealing your home improves your energy efficiency indefinitely.

Green Building Materials for a Custom Home

Recycled Steel: Instead of using wooden beams, recycled steel offers strength and durability, with the added benefit of repurposing previously used material, conserving forest resources.

Bamboo: As a rapidly renewable resource, bamboo is a superior alternative to traditional hardwood. It's strong, versatile, and grows back much faster than conventional trees.

Reclaimed Wood: Sourced from old barns, factories, or warehouses, reclaimed wood offers a rustic charm while preventing deforestation and reducing landfill waste.

Cork: Harvested from the bark of cork oak trees without cutting them down, cork is a renewable resource that's great for flooring. It's naturally insect-repellent, fire-resistant, and provides sound insulation.

Recycled Glass and Tile: Using recycled glass and tiles for countertops, flooring, and backsplashes reduces landfill waste and provides unique aesthetics to spaces. These materials are not only durable but also come in an array of colors and designs.

View of tiling detail in luxury bathroom in greater Rochester custom home

Use Energy-Efficient Architecture

Orientation on the Lot - Energy-efficient architecture starts long before the walls go up. Strategically use natural shade from a hill or large tree. Orient your home so that the long side of your structure faces the north-south axis to maximize the sun’s contribution.

Efficient Layout Designing an energy-efficient floor plan involves optimizing the layout to make the most of natural light and passive solar heating. By strategically placing living areas on the south or west side, homes can capture warmth during winter months, while overhangs or shading devices can shield against the summer sun. Incorporating open floor plans and thermal mass materials can further regulate indoor temperatures, reducing the need for artificial heating or cooling.

Windows and Doors - Choose the number and location of windows and doors with help from your contractor to identify the most energy-efficient options to meet your needs.

Smart Home Features: Integrating advanced smart home technologies can significantly enhance a home's energy efficiency. From programmable thermostats that optimize heating and cooling cycles to intelligent lighting systems that adjust based on natural light availability, these features not only reduce energy consumption but also elevate overall living comfort.

Limit Your Energy Consumption

Energy-Star Appliances - From your range to your dryer, include efficient appliances that do the most with the least electricity.

Low-Flow Faucets - Use less water by installing low-flow faucets and toilets. 

Energy-Efficient Lights - Consume less energy and achieve peak customizable illumination with LED lights in your new construction.

Up-close view of glass bulb pendant lighting in Rochester-area custom home

Heat Pumps - Heat pumps function as both heating and cooling units. They use less energy than traditional HVAC systems and strategically move air between the inside and outside to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Generate Your Own Energy

Geothermal - Use the underground heat available on your property to heat and cool your home. Geothermal heating and cooling require a large area of land and the right conditions on your property. The cost of including geothermal and the best home system depends on your property's characteristics.

Solar - Often called photovoltaic (PV) solar panels can be mounted on your roof or the ground, depending on your needs or preferences. A section of the expansive Inflation Reduction Act also provides a tax credit for 30% of the cost of your PV system.

Wind or Hydroelectric - Though these are less popular choices, they may be a good fit for your property. 

Gerber Builds Green Better

Gerber’s Rochester, NY region custom homes come standard with various green features because we know how important quality and energy efficiency are to daily functioning. We’re well-versed in aligning your dream with the perfect plan and executing your vision into the home of your dreams. We’re ready to build your Rochester area eco-palace. The economic climate has never been friendlier; now’s the time to start!

Main floor of new construction luxury home with recessed lighting

We’re excited to help you get ready for your dream home. Download our Custom Home Guide for a primer on everything you need to know to execute the preliminary steps of planning your custom home.

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