Author Topic: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?  (Read 478 times)

jayholden

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Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« on: October 26, 2018, 07:43:23 AM »
Hey fellow Mustachians, if I'm looking at apartments, what's the ideal floor (out of say, 3-5 floors) and what's the ideal side of the building (north/south/east/west) if I live in a climate with hot and humid summers and fairly moderate, cloudy winters (Dallas)? Thanks!

rubybeth

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Re: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 08:25:30 AM »
I'd go with the lowest floor since heat rises. I'd also say that the side of the building depends on what you prefer--if you like the morning light to wake up, for example, face east. If you are home in the evenings typically and like getting some sunsets, go west. I lived in lowest level unit that faced west, which worked well for my early rising schedule, but less well for my husband who worked evenings. We also got a portable dehumidifier that helped the AC keep our place a lot more comfortable.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 08:28:06 AM »
A LEED certified building is most important. Look at the windows. Otherwise, hottest will be: south facing, followed by west facing, generally. As Ruby says, heat rises, so upper floors can get pretty rough. Personally, though, I've always tried to have top floor for sound concerns and the best view. I willingly take good light as a trade for energy efficiency, and just make a point to rent in well rated (LEED gold+) buildings whenever I can. And of course, the smallest space you can manage is going to be cheapest to heat/cool, all else held constant.

Beardy

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Re: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2018, 08:40:28 AM »
Used to live in Dallas area (Medical District around Inwood and 35).

I definitely think that if you can handle hearing upper neighbors walking around above you, stay off the top floor. That'll help your A/C bill during the Summer and insulate a bit more during Winter. Stay away from Eastern and Western exterior facings too. My previous apartment windows were E/SE facing which was fine during the week when I wasn't there during the day, but I definitely noticed the sun during the day on weekends.

I'd say my preference is an interior facing unit, so facing a courtyard or internal area of the property, on a middle vertical floor (2nd floor of 3 story unit, 2-4 floor of a 5 story). 1st floor can be great too, as long as your access is only from internally in the property. If you can have your windows catch shade from the other sides of the building, that again can help with the Summer heat.

Hope this helps!

haflander

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Re: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2018, 09:07:12 AM »
Right now I live in Valley Ranch (Irving) on the first floor in a west- and exterior-facing unit. I believe the direction of the windows affects the temperature more than the floor, but I could be mistaken. Things I hate: hot all summer with the afternoon sun; loud af kids running and playing upstairs (officially complained twice, that helped a little); people walking on a pathway 10 feet from my patio door so I can't open the blinds/door for breeze cuz I don't want people looking at me (dog also hates them); and constantly hearing cars driving on the street 30 feet from my patio. Things I like: now that's it's fall(ish), the sun helps warm my apt. As you know, the heat is a much bigger concern here in Texas than the short kinda-winter.

I'm looking for a new apt now in Addison or far north Dallas (lived there before) with the gf, we're officially moving in together. Choices of what unit you want are extremely limited if you're trying to find a move-in date close to the end of your lease to save the most $ possible. However, if needing a tiebreaker between units/complexes, we'll look closely at things like we're discussing here. My dream apt would be east facing so the apt wouldn't be hot all summer and the sun would help me wake up naturally in the mornings. A nice view and shade from buildings/trees would be nice, but those two are conflicting. I would say top floor...BUT I don't believe kids will be a concern in the new neighborhood. A bazillion Indians and their kids live in my hood for the Coppell school district, and their kids are really loud. So, I'd say bottom floor because it makes it easier to deal with the dog, and occasional reasonable noise above, such as one or two adults walking normally, doesn't bother me.

Good luck finding reasonably priced LEED apts. They're much more likely to be built in the 21st century, meaning $$$$.

If anyone knows decent-to-nice and reasonably priced apts around Addison or far north Dallas, please share with me! Maybe the OP could describe the general area he's looking in as well.

terran

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Re: Energy Efficient Apartment Selection?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 04:05:24 PM »
We live in a rather similar climate (probably a touch cooler and less humid). We're on the 1st floor of a 2 story, concrete floors, no insulation in the ceiling/floor between units (helps us "steal" A/C, but also annoying noise), east/west facing windows, we're an end unit with the North side exposed. We didn't turn on the A/C once this summer and haven't turned on the heat yet. Our electric bills (all electric) are generally around $30, and peaked in February (for January use) at $75.

Generally speaking, south facing windows are good for heat gain, and a nice overhang will block the higher summer sun, so if you can find that combo that's ideal. I don't think many apartments thing that through though. In a climate that generally requires more cooling that heating you might be just as well off being more north facing.

Careful use of shades and opening/closing windows is important for gaining/losing heat at the appropriate times. without energy use.

Electric is a less efficient way to create heat, but being in a climate that doesn't require as much heating you're probably better off with an all electric unit because gas usually has a connection charge (I want to say it would be be like $15/month around here, but don't quote me on that) that you pay no matter how much you use.