It’s important to view your house as a whole system rather than as a sum of the parts. For example, if you have a high efficiency boiler but leaky air ducts or hot water pipes, your appliance may never reach its advertised efficiency. On the other hand, if you have well-insulated walls but leaky windows, the windows will drag down the R-value of your wall. There are many other factors at play. Viewing your house holistically will help you make the most informed, cost-effective decisions about energy and retrofits.
Whether you're building a new house or retrofitting an existing house, the best place to start is with an energy rating. This entails an energy rater testing your home, or entering your building plans into a computer program, to calculate the energy performance of the building.
You can also try downloading and using the Alaska-specific software yourself here.
Building a home? Check out these tips.
Looking for ideas? See construction plans for CCHRC houses here.
Check out Building in the North, a comprehensive guide by the University of Alaska for building in this climate, here.
For information on individual parts of a home, check out these pages: