Barndominium Energy Efficiency 101: Money Saving Tips

0 Shares

Energy efficiency is performing the same task or producing the same result while utilizing less energy.

“Energy-efficient homes and buildings use less energy to heat, cool, and run appliances and electronics, and energy-efficient manufacturing facilities use less energy to produce goods,” states the U.S. Department of Energy.

The agency adds: “Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change, reduce energy costs for consumers, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. businesses. Energy efficiency is also a vital component in achieving net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide through decarbonization.”

Barndos are extremely energy efficient and offer many cost-saving benefits to their owners.

Energy Efficiency In Barndominiums

Once you’ve hired the right builder to ensure your barndominium is properly constructed, you’re off to an excellent start in creating a highly efficient, energy-saving home.

With the proper ventilation and insulation, barndominiums are known for their ability to maintain comfortable temperatures without excessive cooling or heating. This translates to lower energy bills and some serious long-term savings.

What is a Barndominium?

For the purposes of this article, a barndominium, better known by its shortened term “barndo”, is defined as a new barn-style construction built with residential living space. This will also focus on metal-framed barndominiums rather than wood- or pole-framed ones.

Barndos give the luxury of a home that’s custom-made combined with the look and feel of a country-style barn.

The Importance of Energy Efficiency in Modern Living

Creating an energy-efficient residence offers several benefits:

  1. Costs less. Structures that are energy efficient cost less to cool, heat, and operate.
  2. Environmental benefits. The fight against climate change involves less reliance on fossil fuels. Energy-efficient homes use less fossil fuels and are better equipped to make the transition to clean energy sources, which do not produce harmful emissions.
  3. Health benefits. The less we utilize fossil fuels, the cleaner the air, water, and land become. This translates into improved human health over time.
  4. Reliability and resilience. The load on the electrical grid is reduced by utilizing energy-efficient structures and appliances. This minimizes overloads on the power grid and prevents electrical outages.
  5. Community benefits. Programs that provide energy-efficient appliances and resources to switch to clean energy sources, improve community resilience, and help bring energy-efficient technologies and infrastructure to underserved communities.

Are Barndominiums Energy Efficient?

When constructed properly, barndos offer a weather-tight exterior that is made to be long-lasting. Some believe that these are not too energy efficient as metal isn’t heat-capable.

This is simply not true, as every home is built with insulation that provides a barrier between the structure’s interior and exterior, which in turn makes for an extremely energy-efficient abode.

How Barndominiums Differ from Traditional Homes

Not sure where to start? Our Barndominium Zone Package can help!
The Ultimate DIY Guide & 200+ Best Barndominium Floor Plans.
Learn More

The primary difference between barndominiums and traditional houses is that there is much less cost involved in completing the exterior shell of a barndominium than there is in the completion of the exterior of a traditional home.

Also, barndos are typically larger than traditional homes and offer higher ceilings. In a traditional home, ceiling heights are usually between 8-9 feet while most barndominiums offer 14-foot ceiling heights.

Insulating Your Barndo

Choosing the proper insulation and ensuring it is installed correctly is one of the most important factors in creating an energy-efficient barndominium dwelling.

Metal is hard to insulate by nature, so it is vital to understand and get this right in your first construction attempt. It is therefore advised to go above and beyond the minimum requirements, just to be sure.

Different types of insulation give various thermal protection levels. The strongest is provided by spray foam insulation. That’s because it covers and expands every single inch of inside the wall cavities.

It also isn’t likely to experience the growth of mold when water is exposed to it. Spray foam insulation is known for its superiority in keeping exterior cold and heat from entering the dwelling and retaining inside air temperatures.

Ventilating Your Barndominium

Maintaining healthy air quality inside your barndo is also an important factor in energy efficiency. 

This begins with a quality ventilation system that will help remove any pollutants and moisture from the inside of the dwelling.

Benefits of an Energy-Efficient Barndominium

Ensuring your barndo is equipped with the right insulation, proper ventilation, energy-efficient appliances, windows, and doors, your home produces both long-term and short-term benefits.  

Short-term benefits are less strain on your wallet as energy-efficient homes cost less to cool and heat. Long-term benefits include all the advantages listed above as well as higher resale values.

Assessing Your Barndo’s Current Energy Efficiency

Conducting a home performance assessment will determine your barndo’s current energy efficiency and potential for improvement. 

Read on to learn more about these types of assessments, identifying common waste points and calculating potential cost savings from adding enhancements.

Tools and Techniques for Energy Audits

Energy audits are often conducted by professional, certified energy assessment service providers. 

When seeking tax credits for energy efficiency and under the Inflation Reduction Act, ensure you utilize a professional with recognized and industry accepted credentials.

Energy audits usually involve:

  • A homeowner interview to discover the typical living patterns and any areas where drafts have been noticed.
  • An energy bill review to look at historical usage and provide a benchmark for potential future savings.
  • A home evaluation to visually inspect the home’s exterior, interior, and mechanical systems.
  • Safety checks and testing to identify leaks, moisture issues, or ventilation problems. These include diagnostic tests such as blower door tests, thermographic scans, combustion analyzers, and manometers, which measure differences in air pressure.
  • Recommendations for improvement, which include a prioritized list of improvement measures based on cost-benefits, comfort, health, and safety.

Identifying Common Energy Wastage Points

One of the most common ways that homes waste energy is the overuse of heating and cooling systems. Instead of overheating or over-cooling your home, consider putting on some warm clothing or closing blinds and utilizing fans in the summer.

As far as mechanical issues, the most common waste points include:

  • Improper insulation
  • Cheap windows
  • Cheap doors
  • Doors or windows that are not properly sealed
  • Air duct leaks
  • Lack of adequate caulking
  • Lack of energy-efficient lighting
  • Failure to install a programmable thermostat

Calculating the Potential Savings from Enhancements

Utilizing a certified energy auditor will supply you with a professional cost-benefit analysis and recommendations for prioritized improvements.

Alternatively, the U.S. government-run Energy Star program offers a free Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator you can use to help you determine when and how to finance energy efficiency projects. 

It also offers a Savings Calculator tool that helps you determine how much you can save with Energy Star-approved products.

Top Money-Saving Tips

Saving money and increasing energy efficiency begins with the options you select for insulation, windows, and heating and cooling systems.

Proper Insulation Techniques for Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

The common factor to consider in insulation is its level of resistance to heat flow, known as the “R-value.” A higher R-value means greater insulating properties.

Spray foam insulation gives the strongest insulating properties; it expands and covers all of the roof’s insides as well as the wall cavities. It also isn’t likely to have mold growth once it’s exposed to water.

Insulating above or below the concrete will improve the performance of your foundation and better energy efficiency. Another option to provide energy efficiency for your barndo floors is the installation of radiant floor heating.

Window Solutions: Double Glazing, Seals, and Treatments

Window glazing is the glass inside of a window, which can be single, double, or triple. This is also known as single, double, or triple-pane windows. 

Look for windows with high R-values, low e-glass, and argon gas-filled windows. Ensure the windows and their sills are properly sealed utilizing a multi-purpose caulk.

Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems

To ensure you choose the most efficient heating and cooling system for your barndominium, select HVAC systems that have earned the Energy Star rating. 

And, as previously mentioned, check into the use of radiant floor heating for additional energy efficiency.

The Role Of Renewable Energy In Barndo Homes

The beauty of barndominium construction is that these dwellings are easily adaptable to use clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy.

Solar Panels & Barndominium Integration

When choosing steel roofing, solar panels can easily be installed on the roof. 

Be sure to set aside space inside for your battery packs to store the energy generated from the panels.

Wind Energy: Feasibility & Benefits

Residential wind turbine systems offer seamless integration into traditional power grids, ensuring you have power when there is no wind. 

The power generated by the turbines can also be stored in a battery bank for later use.

Geothermal Systems & Their Advantages for Barndominiums

Geothermal systems utilize the earth’s heat for radiant heat and digitally controlled heat pumps to regulate your home’s temperature.

Utilizing clean energy in your barndo will likely involve a combination of renewable energy sources.

Smart Technology & Automation

With advanced technology and automated features, managing energy efficiency in your home has never been easier.

Modern Thermostats and Climate Control

Modern thermostats are programmable and allow you to set up heating and cooling schedules that raise and lower the inside temperatures by a few degrees to offer energy savings at times you are away from home or sleeping. 

Energy.gov calculates that you can save as much as 10% per year by simply adjusting your inside temperature by 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit from your normal settings for eight hours each day.

Smart Lighting Solutions

Lighting accounts for 15% of the energy costs in an average home. 

The use of LED lighting saves an average of $225 per year and lowers carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy Monitoring and Management Systems

Smart home energy management systems monitor and control the amount of energy used in your barndo. 

Components include smart thermostats, smart plugs, energy-efficient appliances, and intelligent lighting systems that communicate with each other through a central hub or app. However, some sources question the need for these systems.

Summary

Barndominiums are one of the most energy-efficient housing options available today. When properly constructed, insulated, ventilated, and outfitted with energy-efficient windows, doors, and mechanical systems, barndos offer low-carbon footprints and reduced energy consumption over their wood-framed counterparts.

To get in touch with builders in your area and learn more about available energy efficiency features, complete the form on this page.

=> Looking for a custom Barndominium floor plan? Click here to fill out our form, a member of our team will be in touch.

Get Your FREE: Barndominium Floor Plan Package Now
Download our FREE barndo floor plan package for inspiration and ideas.
Get FREE Barndo Floor Plans
0 Shares

Adam Marcos

Adam Marcos, a veteran with 25+ years in custom home building, now serves as Managing Editor of BarndominiumZone. He passionately helps people on their journey of creating their dream barndo homes, offering valuable insights and practical advice. With a warm and approachable demeanor, Adam inspires readers to embrace unique living spaces that reflect their aspirations. Join him on a transformative adventure, turning ordinary spaces into extraordinary havens of creativity and fulfillment. Experience the magic of bringing visions to life, one barndo at a time.

Recent Posts