Building Energy-Efficient and Affordable Homes in Hot and Humid San Antonio


Home builders like Riv­er Star Homes and build­ing mate­r­i­al man­u­fac­tur­ers like Bau­tex Sys­tems are tack­ling the chal­lenge of build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient and afford­able homes in hot and humid San Anto­nio, Texas.

Build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient homes in San Anto­nio begins with the design of a tight and well insu­lat­ed build­ing enve­lope. When builders uti­lize the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem they cre­ate high­ly insu­lat­ed, mois­ture-resis­tant, and air­tight homes that are crit­i­cal in the hot and humid cli­mate of San Anto­nio.

Affordable Housing Shortage in San Antonio

Build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient, low main­te­nance and afford­able homes in San Anto­nio is need­ed to accom­mo­date San Antonio’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and shrink­ing inven­to­ry of rea­son­ably priced and qual­i­ty homes. The chal­lenge to builders and archi­tects in San Anto­nio is to con­struct homes a new buy­er can both afford to buy and live in.

Specif­i­cal­ly, in San Anto­nio, ener­gy-effi­cient design is essen­tial for ensur­ing low long-term ener­gy and main­te­nance expens­es. New homes must be afford­able and ener­gy-effi­cient to meet the hous­ing demands of San Anto­nio.

Building Energy-Efficient and Affordable Homes in Hot and Humid San Antonio

Design­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient home in San Anto­nio must con­sid­er the cli­mate and geog­ra­phy of the region. San Anto­nio lies in south-cen­tral Texas, about 140 miles from the Gulf of Mex­i­co. Most of the time, east­er­ly, south­east­er­ly winds off the Gulf of Mex­i­co dom­i­nate San Anto­nio.

The steady flow of wind brings mois­ture to the area, result­ing in a humid sub­trop­i­cal cli­mate. Much of the year, the rel­a­tive humid­i­ty in San Anto­nio is above 80 per­cent in the ear­ly morn­ing. Humid­i­ty drops to near 50 per­cent in late after­noon.

The aver­age month­ly tem­per­a­tures in San Anto­nio range from the 50s in win­ter to 80s in sum­mer. How­ev­er, sum­mers are often long and hot with dai­ly max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures above 90 degrees over 80 per­cent of the time. Address­ing the extreme heat and humid­i­ty in San Anto­nio is crit­i­cal to build­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient and afford­able home.

Critical Elements of Energy-Efficient and Affordable House in San Antonio

Builders and archi­tects of afford­able homes in San Anto­nio must con­sid­er ener­gy-effi­cien­cy for all con­struc­tion. How­ev­er, when con­struct­ing afford­able hous­ing in San Anto­nio, ener­gy-effi­cien­cy is essen­tial to ensur­ing that a home­own­er can han­dle the day-to-day expens­es and long-term main­te­nance costs inher­ent in home own­er­ship.

Crit­i­cal ele­ments of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in San Anto­nio include prop­er build­ing ori­en­ta­tion, con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion in the walls and roof, air­tight build­ing enve­lope, qual­i­ty and prop­er­ly installed win­dows and doors, and a well designed HVAC sys­tem.

Energy-Efficient Homes in San Antonio Need Robust Building Envelopes

Crit­i­cal design ele­ments for a robust build­ing enve­lope include con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion and air and mois­ture bar­ri­er. A con­tin­u­ous air and mois­ture bar­ri­er min­i­mizes air infil­tra­tion and mois­ture intru­sion, which is essen­tial to cre­at­ing an ener­gy effi­cient and durable home in San Anto­nio. Mois­ture resis­tance is crit­i­cal to stop­ping rot and the growth of mold and mildew, which can dimin­ish the indoor envi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ty (IEQ) of a home.

Con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion elim­i­nates ther­mal bridg­ing through the build­ing enve­lope and main­tains the ener­gy per­for­mance of the insu­lat­ing mate­r­i­al. Up to 25% of con­ven­tion­al­ly framed walls has no insu­la­tion. There­fore, the insu­la­tion in the stud cav­i­ties only pro­vides a frac­tion of the rat­ed R‑value that is adver­tised by the man­u­fac­tur­er. Con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion sys­tems pro­vide the full rat­ed per­for­mance.

The enve­lope must con­sid­er all the exte­ri­or ele­ments of the house: the walls, roof­ing, foun­da­tions, doors, and win­dows.

High Performance Walls of Energy-Efficient Homes

The walls are a crit­i­cal com­po­nent to stop­ping heat gains and pro­duc­ing a robust enve­lope of an ener­gy-effi­cient house. Sev­er­al nat­ur­al occur­rences affect the effi­cien­cy of the walls: con­duc­tion, con­vec­tion, and ther­mal radi­a­tion. The walls of an ener­gy-effi­cient build­ing should have low-ther­mal-con­duc­tiv­i­ty and a high effec­tive R‑value4. The design of an ener­gy effi­cient wall also incor­po­rates mate­ri­als with high ther­mal mass which ampli­fies the per­for­mance of the walls. . Ener­gy-effi­cient walls are a crit­i­cal ele­ment of an effi­cien tbuild­ing enve­lope.

Building an Energy Efficient Home in San Antonio with the Bautex Wall System

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is a supe­ri­or, high ther­mal mass prod­uct for pro­duc­ing a durable build­ing enve­lope for an ener­gy-effi­cient and afford­able home in San Anto­nio. The Bua­tex Block meets the ther­mal per­for­mance man­dat­ed by the IRC and pro­vides a high-lev­el of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion.

The Bau­tex insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks pro­vide an R‑14 con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion that meets, the lat­est build­ing and ener­gy codes (2015 IECC). Also, apply­ing the Bau­tex AMB 20 air and mois­ture bar­ri­er to the Bau­tex Blocks pro­duces a mois­ture-resis­tant, air­tight house, crit­i­cal in humid San Anto­nio.

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is the ide­al choice for ener­gy-effi­cient wall con­struc­tion for afford­able homes in San Anto­nio.

The Roof of an Energy-Efficient Home

  • A cool roof is cru­cial to the design of a home in San Anto­nio. Cool roofs pro­tect against solar heat gain and keep the attic and house cool. Ther­mal mass mate­ri­als for a cool roof like clay, tiles, or slate that are reflec­tive or have light col­ored pig­ments that reflect the sun­light are excel­lent options for cool roofs.

Insulating The Foundation on an Energy-Efficient Home

Installing a con­tin­u­ous lay­er of rigid foam insu­la­tion on the exposed slab edges of con­crete foun­da­tions will increase the ener­gy effi­cien­cy of a home. A sig­nif­i­cant amount of heat flow can occur from the inside of a home through the foun­da­tion where it is exposed to the out­side. Includ­ing this insu­la­tion detail is extreme­ly ben­e­fi­cial, but is rarely done cor­rect­ly.

The Glazing System of an Energy-Efficient Home

Home Orientation of an Energy-Efficient Home in San Antonio

Site ori­en­ta­tion of a house is crit­i­cal for tak­ing advan­tage of the sun’s ener­gy. For instance, in the North­ern Hemi­sphere homes should be ori­ent­ed north-south. The north-south ori­en­ta­tion lim­its direct sun­light dur­ing the sum­mer (which lessens cool­ing demands) while max­i­miz­ing sun­light dur­ing the win­ter (which reduces heat­ing require­ment).

Room Location of an Energy-Efficient Home in San Antonio

Room con­fig­u­ra­tion is also an essen­tial design con­sid­er­a­tion of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in San Anto­nio.

  • North fac­ing rooms have good sun most of the day and are per­fect for the main liv­ing spaces like liv­ing, fam­i­ly, land din­ing rooms.
  • East fac­ing rooms have good sun in the morn­ing and are cool in the late after­noon, which is ide­al for bed­rooms, kitchens, and break­fast nooks.
  • South-fac­ing spaces have low lev­els of sun­light and are nice areas for garages, laun­dries, and bath­rooms.
  • West fac­ing rooms get the late day sun, which is not good for kitchens and bed­rooms.

Windows of an Energy-Efficient Home in San Antonio

Win­dows of an ener­gy-effi­cient home in San Anto­nio should face north or south. Avoid east- and west-fac­ing win­dows because they con­tribute more to over­heat­ing than north- or south-fac­ing win­dows.

Ductwork Location of an Energy-Efficient Home in San Antonio

For an ener­gy-effi­cient new house in San Anto­nio, locate the duct­work inside the home’s enve­lope. Ducts placed in uncon­di­tioned spaces can increase cool­ing expens­es by 15 per­cent. Fur­ther­more, in hot and humid regions mois­ture will col­lect on the over­heat­ed duct­work.

San Antonio Needs Energy-Efficient and Affordable Housing

Builders in San Anto­nio, Texas, like Riv­er Star Homes, are chal­lenged with con­struct­ing afford­able and ener­gy-effi­cient homes for the area’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. Build­ing homes in hot and humid San Anto­nio require detailed atten­tion to ener­gy-effi­cient design.

Ener­gy-effi­cient design will ensure home­own­ers have afford­able ener­gy costs and durable homes. Please vis­it Bau­tex™ Wall Sys­tems for more infor­ma­tion on build­ing ener­gy-effi­cient and afford­able homes in San Anto­nio, Texas.

1Thermal con­duc­tion is when warm mol­e­cules spon­ta­neous­ly move towards and col­lide with cool­er mol­e­cules. The effec­tive R‑value of a home­’s wall assem­bly is its resis­tance to con­duc­tion (the move­ment of hot mol­e­cules towards cool­er mol­e­cules).

2Thermal con­vec­tion is the trans­fer of heat from a warmer space to a cold­er space by the flow of liq­uid or air mol­e­cules. A tight­ly sealed build­ing enve­lope stops this flow, often with an air and mois­ture bar­ri­er.

3Thermal radi­a­tion trans­fers heat from a warm area to a cool­er area by elec­tro­mag­net­ic waves, which for homes is main­ly the sun’s rays.

4A build­ing’s wall assem­bly resis­tance to this flow is mea­sured by its effec­tive R‑value. The effec­tive R‑value includes all the mate­ri­als used in its con­struc­tion: the studs, sid­ing, dry­wall, fiber­glass batts, ply­wood or OSB sheath­ing, water con­trol plane. The high­er the R‑value, the less the con­duc­tiv­i­ties of the wall assem­bly.

5Thermal mass is the poten­tial of a mate­r­i­al to absorb and store heat ener­gy. High ther­mal mass mate­ri­als help sta­bi­lize tem­per­a­ture shifts with­in a home by slow­ing the rate of heat trans­fer.