The Process

Is Home Optimization for You?

The only requirement to optimization is that you’re building a new home in the next year or so. Optimization isn’t about wanting energy efficiency, building “green”, the size of your home, or the budget. It’s about getting the most for your money: maximizing your savings on a minimized investment.

See how much you can save for free!

An independent resource who can not only energy model your home, but cost-optimize it and guarantee the results is what every homeowner ought to demand in a new home. Why build your custom home the same as all the others? What if spending an extra $30 in mortgage payments could yield $120 in energy savings each and every month? It’d be a higher build cost, but a lower monthly cost of ownership from day one! Lowering your total monthly costs is optimization; not lowering build cost or lowering energy bills by themselves.

Now that you’ve fulfilled the one requirement of building a home soon, you may be wondering how the process of modeling and optimizing a home works and when it needs to be done. If you’re located in Wisconsin or the surrounding states, these next few checkpoints provide a great road map to optimizing your home. Our SmartSpend Optimization service is done remotely and therefore any home, anywhere can now be cost-optimized!

Typically the best start to designing and building a new home is to find the lot that you want to build on. The views, slopes, and more will have an effect on how your home is designed. Taking advantage of water views, southern sun, sloped grade for basement exposure, and more is important when a designer creates your home.
Now that you have your lot, it’s time to design your home. An optimized home does not need to look a certain way. We prefer to rely on the expertise of architects and designers to take your needs and wants and draw your dream home.

The only consideration we recommend is that if you have Southern exposure (no trees or obstructions within a couple hundred feet to the South), then the design of your home should have some South-facing roof to allow for solar panels if SmartSpend™ shows that they’re a smart investment. SmartSpend™ won’t recommend solar unless it saves more on monthly energy bills than it costs on monthly mortgage payments, but it is dependent on both your lot and your home design.

Once your home is designed and has construction-ready blueprints, we should begin modeling and optimizing the home.

At this point, eFree will build your home within a computer program using local weather, fuel rates, and more. This helps us determine what needs your home will have. From there, we can use this information to optimize every feature of your home: from attic insulation to windows to walls to heating and cooling. The options are endless, but your goal is the same: to get the biggest bang for your buck.

This optimization process uses our proprietary SmartSpend™ software that we developed with thousands of hours of research and programming. With the click of button, we can determine the exact recipe of your home that will provide the lowest combined mortgage payment plus energy bill from the first month you move in. To see how much your home plans could save, check out our free savings offer!

For one home, SmartSpend™ may show that R50 attic insulation is optimal and that R60 would increase mortgage payments by more than it’d save on energy bills. For a different home, the result may be that R60 will save more in energy than it costs in mortgage. No two custom homes are the same. The important part is that you get the optimal home for you and your family!

Once construction starts, the process is the same as usual for your builder. They will manage the project schedule and in a few short months your home will be complete. On local projects, eFree will stop out around insulating time to inspect and provide notes to the builder regarding difficult air sealing or insulating areas. Every home is unique and there are often a few complex areas that can be handled properly if they’re addressed before it’s too late. This is why eFree does an inspection at this time; to solve any potential problem areas before they’re covered with drywall. eFree is a continual resource for your builder and the subcontractors throughout the build as well in the event building science questions arise.
Upon completion of your home, eFree will perform a final testing checklist. The inspection includes:

  • Measuring the air leakage of your home using a blower door test.
  • Testing your bath fans and range hood to check that the flow rate is acceptable. About 10% of fans don’t perform properly and would never be corrected if they weren’t tested!
  • A whole-shell visual and IR-gun review of your home to identify any missed insulation or air sealing spots. As an example, air conditioning lines are often ran last minute through the spray foamed box sills and aren’t resealed. This leaves a hole that will leak air and could allow bugs into the home.
  • Confirmation that installed equipment matches initial specifications and it all performs at a high level.