An architect can examine the energy performance of your house in terms of how each of the components—the insulation, windows, heating and cooling system, ventilation, and lighting— all work together. This approach, called “whole-house” design, allows the architect to optimize each of these components for your location to achieve the best energy performance at an economical price.
When using a whole-house design for a new house, solar energy features can be incorporated at little or no additional cost. The only key requirement is for the house to have an orientation to the south to take full advantage of the winter sunlight.
A typical benefit of a whole-house design is that your heating system can often be downsized because of the use of insulation, high-efficiency windows, and solar energy. Not only does this save you money upfront on the heating system, but it also allows the heating system to operate more efficiently, because most systems perform best when they’re used at or near their full capacity.