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By: Kevin Ahern on March 5th, 2015

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5 Tips for an Energy-Efficient Remodeling Project

energy efficiency | energy-efficient remodel | Residential | sustainability

Energy is a big deal; prices can fluctuate wildly, global politics make matters constantly complicated and nobody wants to let money fly out the window or get sucked down the drain. So this year’s building season calls for energy-efficient remodeling projects, particularly in these 5 areas:

5 Energy-Efficient Remodeling Projects

  1. Windows & Doors—Not only do new, more energy efficient windows and doors boost curb appeal to a surprisingly large degree, they can make a serious dent in your energy bill if they’re the right kind and they’re properly installed. Look for the Energy Star label on these new installations and make sure that all gaps are sealed and weather stripped. During this remodeling project, it’s also a good idea to check the...
  2. Insulation—It may not be sexy, but it’s an absolute must for any energy-efficient remodeling project with up to 45% of your home’s energy bill going towards heating and/or cooling. Whether you’re remodeling the attic or taking out and rebuilding walls, there are batting and blow-in cellulose insulation styles that can significantly boost your home’s energy savings. Also make sure to check the insulation around recessed lighting that goes up into the attic, as these spots can cause major energy leakage.
  3. Water—Updating your water heater and water usage points is great ways to boost your energy efficiency. Consider installing a solar-powered water heater, having your pipes insulated and switching out old shower heads and faucets with high efficiency, low-flow models and toilets that use less water to get their jobs done.
  4. Natural Lighting—About 14% of home energy consumption comes from artificial lighting, so include this in your energy-efficient remodeling project plan; there’s lots of ways to do it! Bring more natural light into spaces with insulated, Energy Star labeled sun tunnels, light shelves and skylights to avoid using artificial light whenever possible. Use lighter paint and fabric colors that gently reflect more natural light into a room, and use energy-saving light bulbs and LEDs when it’s dark. Also consider installing dimmer switches and motion-sensing lights.
  5. New Appliances, Thermostats & Wiring—When refitting your kitchen, bathroom or home office with new gadgets and appliances, make sure to pick the ones with the Energy Star label; they may be a little more expensive up front, but they will save a lot of money and energy as you use them over the next few months and years. Look into installing a programmable thermostat as well; it can save you money when you’re not home, or when everyone’s asleep. And install toggle switch plates in the entertainment room or home office; TVs, printers and computers still draw current from the wall even if they’re turned off, but a toggle switch enables you to cut the electricity to these gadgets altogether when you’re not using them.

Also, during any major remodeling project, it’s a good idea to have your heating and cooling systems, as well as your duct work checked and updated if necessary. These important, yet little-seen and wildly under-appreciated areas of your home can leak air, heat, energy—and, therefore, money—if not well maintained. By staying on top of these issues and making energy a major consideration in your remodeling project, you can save money long term while helping the earth breathe a little easier too.

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