Build energy efficient because it’s the smart thing to do.

Taggart Construction builds homes that keep owners comfortable in both hot and cold weather without consuming large amounts of energy. We pay special attention to the building “envelope,” using high performance windows strategically placed and sized to maximize solar gain. Advanced framing techniques increase R-values by eliminating thermal bridging, air sealing techniques reduce air infiltration and high-efficiency heating systems squeeze every usable BTU out of your fuel. Many of our projects utilize heat recovery systems that reuse the heat ordinarily lost, for example, while taking a hot shower.

Having built the first LEED certified home in the USA, a LEED Gold certified home in 2007 and the first ENERGY STAR home in Maine, we know how to optimize energy efficiency. Looking at the whole project, we determine the most efficient methods and materials for your building. We utilize in-house energy modeling software to show you exactly where added insulation will make the most difference. Taggart Construction has the experience and the knowledge to build for high performance and sustainability, reducing energy consumption while maintaining quality of life. Below is a sampling of the methods and materials we use to ensure energy efficiency.

Passive Solar

Passive solar refers to the use of the sun’s energy without active mechanical systems. Passive solar design augments the heating and cooling of living spaces. Two requirements for passive solar heating are south facing glass and a thermal mass such as concrete floors or walls to absorb, store and dispense heat. To optimize passive solar design, the building should:

  • Be elongated on an east-west axis
  • Receive sunlight from 9AM to 3PM during the heating season on its south side
  • Position rooms requiring the most heating and light on its south face
  • Incorporate an open floor plan
  • Utilize shading in the summer
a Taggart Construction, passive solar house

High Performance Windows

Windows comprise 10–25% of a home’s exterior wall area. In cold climates, they account for up to 25% of a home’s heating load. Windows in warm climates can account for up to 50% of the cooling load. Low conductance materials, such as wood, vinyl, and fiberglass, perform better than high conductance materials such as aluminum; and insulated frames perform better than un-insulated frames. Windows are also tested and rated for air tightness. The best windows are rated at or below 0.1 cfm/ft rating (cubic ft./minute of air leakage per linear foot). Low-E (low emissivity) glazing allows visible light to enter while reducing heat loss and gain. High performance windows:

  • Lower utility bills. Better insulated and more air-tight windows reduce energy consumption and utility bills
  • Quieter. Multi-glaze and insulated frames reduce noise from outside
  • Improve comfort. Reduced conductive heat losses and gains result in warmer winter interior surfaces and cooler summer interior surfaces
  • Improve indoor air quality. More air-tight windows allow less dirt, dust and impurities from entering.
  • Less condensation problems. Windows stay warmer in winter resulting in fewer condensation problems which can lead to mold and mildew
  • Reduce wear on furnishings. Low-E coatings can block up to 98% of the ultraviolet radiation that causes furniture, drapes and carpeting to fade and wear faster
  • Improve resale value

Solar Panels

Photovoltaics or PV comes from the words photo for light and voltaic for electricity. Whole building systems or hot water systems can be installed. PV cells convert sunlight directly into electricity and are made of materials called semiconductors. Silicon is the most commonly used material. When light strikes the PV cell, a portion is absorbed, which means the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. Electrons are knocked loose, allowing them to flow freely. PV cells have one or more electric fields, forcing the loose electrons to flow in a certain direction. The flow of electrons creates a current that can be use externally.

To absorb the maximum amount of energy, Maine PV systems should point south and be inclined at an angle equal to latitude. PV modules should not be shaded by trees or buildings. Weather data provides average monthly sunlight levels tied to rainfall, cloudy days, altitude, etc. Systems are sized for the worst month annually to produce sufficient electricity all year. When the sun is not shining there are two choices. One option is battery storage for the solar energy produced, which adds cost and maintenance. If being totally energy independent is not required, option two connects the home to the utility grid, allowing the purchase of power when needed and selling of power when excess is produced.

Well-Insulated Roof

Reasons for a well-insulated roof:

  • Lowers energy costs. A well-insulated roof buffers cold winter temperatures and warm summer temperatures, reducing energy consumption and utility bills
  • Minimizes internal drafts
  • Reduces moisture problems since indoor moisture from showers, cooking, etc. condenses when it meets a cold surface encouraging mold growth and moisture damage
  • During power outages, heat loss and gain is reduced
  • Ice dams occur when snow melts on a warm rooftop and then refreezes on a cold eave, creating roof damage and danger to pedestrians below
  • Quieter homes are well-insulated, blocking out noises

Advanced Wall Systems

  • Optimize energy performance
  • Increase thermal comfort
  • Reduce material use
  • “Breathing wall” reduces mold potential

Dense-Pac Cellulose Insulation

The use of Dense-Pac cellulose insulation provides:

  • Increased energy performance
  • Reduced air infiltration
  • Environment friendly recycled newspaper content
  • No formaldehyde or carcinogens

Frost Protected Shallow Slab Foundation

Reasons for choosing a frost-protected shallow slab foundation:

  • Reduced site disturbance
  • Improved energy performance
  • Reduced concrete use
  • Greater occupant comfort
  • Good thermal and moisture barrier
  • Reduced cost

Energy Efficient Lighting

With new energy efficient options available in lighting design, improving performance without sacrificing style or light quality is an easy task. The Department of Energy reports that Americans spend 5-10% of their electric bills on home lighting. In regions where air-conditioning has a smaller impact on utility bills (i.e. Maine), this amount can approach 25%. Reduce energy consumption and lower cost by:

  • Replacing incandescent light bulbs with CLF (compact fluorescent lamps)
  • Buying ENERGY STAR rated lighting fixtures
  • Installing dimmers
  • Placing motion and occupancy sensors where they will detect activity and turn lights on and off automatically
  • Adding timers that turn lights on and off automatically
  • And, of course, turning off lights when they’re not needed

High Efficiency Boiler/Water Heater

High efficiency boiler/water heaters are smaller than conventional systems in size but not capacity. Rather than running intermittently to keep the boiler and water hot, these systems heat on demand only and provide continuous hot water when needed. This avoids the “stand-by” losses of typical systems. New technology makes these units quiet, powerful, instantaneous, energy saving and environment friendly.

Air Tight Recessed Lighting

Warm air rises. Installing air tight recessed ceiling lighting prevents heated air from escaping into roof or floor systems. This warm air leakage into cold attics can contribute to moisture problems and ice dams when snow melts and re-freezes at the roof edge. In summer, air tight recessed lights keep hot attic air out of the living space. Recessed lighting can also be rated IC for “insulation contact.” IC fixtures can come in contact with insulation and handle light bulbs up to 100 watts. Taggart Construction installs both air tight and IC rated recessed lighting.