The article presents in conceptual form the basic architectural planning, three-dimensional and constructive solutions to save energy and ensure energy efficiency of residential buildings. It is shown that for a high-rise apartment buildings and private single family houses, these solutions may vary . The article analyses the effect of the size and shape of the building, the level of thermal insulation of external walling and sealing the outer shell of the building on the parameters of consumption in buildings thermal energy for heating. The article also provides a comparative analysis of the costs of thermal energy for heating during the heating season for a private single-family house, designed according to the minimally acceptable level of regulatory requirements for thermal insulation standards Russia and Finland. It is shown that the determining factors for a high level of consumption in the buildings heating energy are: a high level of thermal insulation of external building envelope (walls, windows, roofs, etc.), tightness of the outer shell of the building and its compactness (low building compactness ratio).