- Retirement Downsizing in Place with an Accessible ADU
- 5 Tips for Building an Energy Efficient ADU
- How to Optimize Space In Your New ADU
- Just How Big is a 400 sq ft ADU?
- 5 Decisions to Make Before Starting Your ADU Construction
- What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
- What’s the 411 with Hawaii ADUs?
- What’s the 411 with Hawaii ADU’s: The FAQs Continued
- The Benefits of Building an ADU on Your Property
- Why Are ADUs So Important in Hawaii?
- Why ADUs Make Financial Sense
- Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Build an ADU in Hawaii
- The 9 Basic Requirements for Building an ADU in Hawaii
If you’re thinking about or already planning to build an ADU on your property, it’s important to remember that the cost of construction is only the beginning. The ADU will connect to your property’s water, power, and possibly gas hookups. Whoever lives there will add to your utility bills as if they were living in the main house, meaning your monthly costs will inevitably go up. This means that the more energy-efficient your ADU is, the lower it’s monthly utility cost will be. While there’s little you can do about water other than to have a well or collect rainwater (a whole new project all on its own), you can lower and even eliminate the power required to keep your ADU residents happy. Here are five tips to remember when designing and building your ADU that can help.
1) Insulation and Weatherproofing
The weather in Hawaii is notoriously nice but most modern families still prefer to turn on the AC when relaxing at home or preparing for work and school each day. This means that the more efficiently a home maintains it’s internal temperature, the more energy efficient it will be. To ensure that your ADU doesn’t leak AC, make sure that the home is fully sealed and well-insulated. Windows and doors that open wide are wonderfully breezy, but they should also have efficient weatherstripping so that when closed, they seal completely.
2) Central Air
A lot of homes have stop-gap cooling measures like window AC units or free-standing room heaters. Not only are these bulky, they’re also less efficient than a centralized air system with sealed ducts, clean vents, and a single well-built appliance managing all your cooling and occasional heating needs. The more streamlined your ADU design is, the less power it will use.
3) Low-Watt Appliances
Appliances come in a wide selection of quality and efficiency. No matter what kind of appliance you’re looking for, from to water heaters, there will be options that consume less power for the same high-quality performance. With just a little bit of research, you should be able to fully equip your ADU with appliances that will combine into a significant reduction in power consumption for you and your ADU residents.
4) Solar Panels and Micro-Grid
Now that you’ve ensured that the ADU will consume the minimal amount of energy, you have the opportunity to have it compensate for its own power consumption, possibly reaching net-zero and removing the ADU from your power bill entirely. All you need is a modest solar panel array and a battery bank that can support the home’s power consumption overnight and maybe a day or two of clouds.
5) Smart Home
The final power-saving and incidentally delightful solution is integrating IoT smart home features. Wifi-controlled and programmable LED lights are not only more efficient, they can also be turned off from anywhere and turn themselves off when no one is home. A smart thermostat can ensure that the AC is never running when the house is empty. You can even install smart outlets to control normal appliances from your phone or on an efficient timer.
The more efficiently your ADU has been designed and built, the more inexpensive it will be to keep running comfortably and maintain in the years to come. From good insulation to lights that turn themselves off, with a little bit of forward thinking, you can reduce the amount of power your ADU consumes and possibly even generate all the power it needs to run every appliance in the home. For more helpful tips on building a new ADU for your family or rental use, contact us today!