Remodeling your house is not only an opportunity to visually enhance and improve the function of your home, it’s also a great way to reduce waste and lower your energy bills. Energy-efficient remodeling will help to increase the comfort of your home while helping to protect the environment. If you’re considering remodeling, it’s worth the time to find out if there are ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Here are a few ways that make an impact.
Before you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, you have to first determine exactly where your house is losing energy. A home energy audit helps owners determine their energy use and how problems can be corrected. Your local government energy office may help you identify a local company or organization that performs audits. You can also contact your utility company to see if they offer free or discounted energy audits to their customers.
Seal Air Leaks
Plugging up the leaks that allow air to slip into and out of your house-and drive up your utility bills-is an important first step in creating an energy-efficient home. Such leaks are often found around doors and windows, but they also can be in your basement, crawlspaces, or attic.
Adding insulation to your attic can help keep your home comfortable all year round. Statistics show that about half of the homes in the United States are under-insulated. Often in the attic spaces the insulation will reduce down to 3 or 4 inches over a period of years, where you are supposed to have at least 12 inches of insulation (depending on the type of insulation).
In forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts carry hot or cold air to different parts of home. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly a fifth of this air escapes through leaks. To address this costly nuisance, consumers should repair leaks in exposed ducts, such as those found in the attic and basement. In addition to sealing leaks, it’s also recommended that homeowners insulate their ducts.
Replace old windows
Replacing old, leaky windows with higher-efficiency models can save in the long rug. There are many energy-saving options available. Make sure any new windows are double-paned and glazed. Energy-efficient low-e (low emissive) and spectrally-selective coatings block out UV rays while still allowing light and heat to pass through; storm windows and solar shades can help to protect your home from solar heat gain. Adding more windows in specific locations is another option. This technique offers a way to capture natural sunlight and heat during colder months.
Replace dated heating and air conditioning units
Older, inefficient heaters and air conditioners use more energy because they have to work harder to heat and cool. Replacing an outdated HVAC system with a more energy-efficient one can lower your monthly energy bills.
Replace your energy-zapping water heater
High-efficiency water heaters can drive down home energy costs. Water heating makes up anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of the annual energy usage in a home. High-efficiency water heaters conserve energy by keeping water hot longer than traditional water heaters.
The real energy savers in kitchen remodels are the appliances you choose. Certified ENERGY STAR products can cut your energy bill by 40 percent since they use less power and water. Additionally, if you replace your gas or electric stove with an induction range that uses a small amount of concentrated heat, you’ll use less energy while you cook.
As you replace showerheads and faucets, consider low-flow products that provide water pressure that is similar to conventional items while significantly cutting down on water usage. Consider installing high-efficiency and dual-flush toilets that use approximately 1.28 to 1.6 gallons of water per flush.