6 Tips for Remodeling Your Home to be Energy Efficient
An energy efficient home is good for the environment, good for the community and good for the pocket book. By installing the most energy efficient appliances, and by making eco-friendly upgrades, homeowners can save money on utilities and improve their property value at the same time. There are a multitude of ways that homeowners can improve their energy efficiency. These six tips can help them choose the best projects for their property.
At Litchfield Builders, we help our customers pick the right home improvement projects to boost their energy efficiency. That's why we offer a free Home Remodeling Checklist, available for download. This checklist can help anyone who owns a home to get started on their energy efficient home remodeling project.
Get An Energy Audit
Energy auditors are professionals who inspect homes for energy leaks and wasted energy. Energy auditors inspect all household systems relating to energy consumption, including the insulation, ductwork and electrical system. An energy audit can help homeowners who want to improve their home's efficiency by providing a roadmap for future improvements. An energy auditor can tell homeowners which energy leaks are most problematic, which changes need to be made first and how to get the maximum efficiency out of the home's existing systems.
Once the audit is performed, the next step to improve household energy efficiency is to create a remodeling plan. Homeowners who want to make multiple changes over the course of years or months can start by weighing factors like ROI, which projects have the biggest impact on household energy efficiency and which projects are most affordable.
Planning a remodel? With our free checklist, you'll be sure every detail is accounted for before you begin construction.
Select Smart Projects
The best home improvement projects will save money on bills while also reducing a home's carbon footprint. There are many projects that meet this criteria, including:
- Solar panel installation. Solar panel installation can supply a big percentage of a home's energy. Proper installation and panel positioning is an important part of producing adequate power for a household.
- Wind generator. In homes located in parts of the country where wind generation is practical, a good wind generator can produce enough energy to power an entire home.
Remodel the Kitchen to Improve Energy Efficiency
The kitchen is a major energy culprit. There are many ways that standard kitchens leak energy and waste natural resources. Homeowners can improve their kitchen's energy efficiency by making the following renovations:
- Energy efficient dishwasher. Many modern dishwashers have a variety of energy efficient features. These features can reduce a home's water and energy usage. The best dishwashers have an efficient wash and rinse pump, a small wash tank and a heat recovery condenser device to reuse hot water. Getting an energy efficient dishwasher uses less power and less water at the same time.
- Combi oven. This type of oven offers a combination of steam and convection heat. Combi ovens can reduce energy usage by as much as 50% for homeowners.
- Reclaimed wood cabinets. Reclaimed wood has beauty, character and it's good for the environment, which makes it a win on all sides.
- Recycled glass countertops. Recycled glass countertops are beautiful, unique and eco-friendly.
Replace the Windows
Of all the parts of the home that leak energy, windows tend to be the worst. Especially in older homes, windows tend to be a giant source of air leaks and temperature fluctuations. The ENERGY STAR program estimates that a household can save hundreds of dollars per month by replacing their single pane windows with energy efficient double or triple pane models.
In Connecticut, some homeowners hesitate to replace old windows because modern windows can change the look of a historic house. They may not realize that even new, efficient windows can be made from traditional materials like wood. These beautiful, modern windows have the look and charm of old windows. Talk to a contractor to find out more.
Consider an Energy Retrofit
A deep energy retrofit is one of the single most important steps a homeowner can take toward achieving energy efficiency around the house. Deep energy retrofitting is similar to weather stripping, but it goes much further. In most households, deep energy retrofitting involves upgrading the cooling and heating systems, improving the building envelope and installing a source of renewable energy (like solar panels).
Every house has different needs when it comes to a deep energy retrofit, so homeowners must talk to an experienced contractor to find out what can be done for them.
Make Small Remodels for Energy Efficiency
Not all remodels need to happen on a large scale. There are many things that homeowners can do to improve their energy efficiency, either with or without help from a contractor. For example:
- Add weatherstripping. Weatherstripping prevents air from leaking through the doors and windows of the home.
- Caulking. Replacing the caulk around the windows and in cracks in the foundation prevents air leaks.
- Seal air ducts. Sealing air ducts in the vents prevents the HVAC system from heating or cooling parts of the house where no one spends time, like the attic.
- Improve insulation in the attic. Insulation in the attic should rise above the level of the floor joists. In homes where the insulation falls at or below the level of the floor joists, more insulation needs to be installed.
- Install low-e coatings on existing windows. Homeowners who want to keep their old windows can improve the energy efficiency of the window by installing a low-e coating.
- Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans use far less energy than an air conditioner, and can help keep the home cool on hot days.
- Replace incandescent lights. Old incandescent lights use more energy and don't last as long as new light bulbs. Replacing incandescent bulbs is a simple way to improve energy efficiency around the house.
- Install a low flow shower head. Shower heads are so easy to replace that the water main doesn't even need to be shut off. Just unscrew the old shower head and screw on a new one. Done!
Some homeowners have a hard time identifying the small things that can be done to improve insulation around the house. Those who don't know what improvements to make can work with a contractor and energy auditor.
Work With an Experienced Contractor
Are you planning an energy efficient upgrade? What's your plan for improving energy efficiency around the home? If you're a homeowner who wants to improve the energy efficiency around the house, working with an experienced contractor throughout your home remodel can help. There are many ways to improve your energy efficiency on big and small projects. Replacing the windows, sealing the building envelop, sealing ducts, improving weather stripping and installing ceiling fans can all help homeowners who want to make their home more eco-friendly.
At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners determine which upgrades can improve their energy efficiency the most. To find out more about how you can make your home more energy efficient, contact us today. You can also download our free Remodeling Toolkit for information about getting started on your upcoming home remodel.